John Ogilvie is the founder of Byron Yoga Centre and the director of Byron Yoga Retreat Centre – now one of the largest teacher training academies and retreat centres in Australia. He developed his signature style of yoga, Purna Yoga, drawing on 30 years of practicing and from more than 28 years of teaching.
Will a vigorous evening vinyasa class disrupt my sleep?
Generally – yes. A vigorous vinyasa class can be like a double espresso! But like coffee, some people can drink it after an evening meal and still sleep soon after while others would be wired for hours. I would definitely recommend avoiding backbends in evening classes (unless you are going to a party!) as these stimulate the nervous system and boost energy levels. To work in sync with our body’s biorhythms I’d generally recommend dynamic practice in the morning and restorative or yin style later in the day. But those with a sedentary job or if this is the only time that works to take a class, it could actually help expend energy and stress and result in better sleep. So my advice is try it and see what works for you.
My muscles feel weak in yoga class, what can I do to feel stronger?
It is normal when you start yoga or progress onto more advanced poses to feel tired or that you are not as strong as you would like to be, as you are using muscles in new ways. While it’s beneficial if your yoga practice is a little challenging, you should not experience shaking or extreme exertion. You should check in with your teacher (and your self) to see that you are not pushing too hard. You also need to be careful that your lack of strength in a certain area does not lead to misalignment. In both these cases (pushing too hard and misalignment) it is better to modify the pose or use props. The best way to build strength is the 3 P’s: Practice, patience and perseverance.