How to be a good yoga student

There is a lot of talk out there these days about how to  be a good yoga teacher.  I think that the best way to be a good yoga teacher is to be a good yoga student.  Here are my tips for how I try to be a good student of yoga.

  1.  I use my own yoga mat.  This is a pretty basic aspect of yoga.  You will spend quite a lot of time on your mat.  Your bare feet and your sweet face will most likely touch the same parts of the mat on many occasions.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t tend to nuzzle strangers’ feet.  I also happen to think that, over time, your mat becomes impregnated with your psychic energy.  I really encourage all good students of yoga to invest in a non-slip mat, and to keep it clean (they launder on a cool cycle really well – tip of the day!)
  2. I don’t eat for two hours before practice, and don’t drink for one hour.  I don’t drink during class.  The energy of digestion is a downward-moving energy.   In yoga, we are channelling energy and moving it upwards, usually.  If you are digesting, you create confusion within.  Better to practice while fasting.
  3. I don’t practice when I have my period.  Guys, you beat us on this one.  The ladies are required to miss a few days per month, for the same reason as above.  The menses are downward-moving.  Yoga moves things upwards.
  4. To be a good student of yoga, I maintain silence before and during practice.  Enough said.
  5. I practice six days per week, usually the same practice for a period of months, if not years.  I know that this sounds craaazy to a beginner, but it really is the essence of the yogic mind.  I figured this one out right at the beginning:  I took a beginner’s class at the Sivananda Centre in London.  There, they told me that the objective of the course was to encourage home practice.  I thought “ok”, bought their book and started practising their simple sequence of Sun Salutations and 12 postures.  I encourage you to do the same.  The only way to be a good yoga practitioner is to practise!