Last week, we held an ‘Ask Me Anything’ community event where DoYouYoga readers could ask one of our favorite and most badass yogis, Raghunath, their questions about yoga, family, and life!
Many in the DYY community have been taking part in Raghunath's Men's 30-Day Challenge and shared tons of positive feedback and stories on how this FREE course helped them on their yoga journey. Thanks for taking the course and sharing the love!
Getting your questions answered is always important, especially when taking an online course. Here's your chance to see the questions from the community, paraphrased for your viewing pleasure. Maybe some of your own questions will pop up!
1. Can you provide any books that a newbie yoga practitioner can use to deepen his or her understanding? Is there a “training wheels” guide to yoga?
Submitted by @wykcira1
Raghunath: My teacher has a great book about his pilgrimage to India as a teen in the '60s/'70s. It gives the bigger picture of what yoga is. This is much broader than a physical class overview, so if this is your cup of tea, I can’t recommend it enough. It's called A Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami and is written by Radhanath Swami.
2. Are there certain poses, movements, or breathing exercises that I can do that help with anxiety and stress?
Submitted by @tinytherapist
Raghunath: Breathing is powerful. Attempt to practice conscious breathing/pranayama for 10-15 minutes a day. It radically effects the mind. Walk barefoot on grass. Garden. Touch the earth. Cook vegetables. Plant trees. Swim in clean ponds or the ocean. Camp (where you feel safe). Connection to earth is a powerful stress and anxiety reliever. Here’s a nice mantra: “My Life is in Divine Hands.”
3.What’s the most impressive transformation you’ve seen someone achieve through yoga?
Submitted by @iamcalledjosh
Raghunath: I’m a good start. I couldn’t do anything with my body at 18. I liked sports but didn’t excel at any. Now I’m 49 and can do things most can’t do with their body in terms of flexibility and endurance. I give credit to yoga and cleansing diets which are also very powerful for bodily transformation. I'm not saying this to impress you, but to impress upon you if I could do it, anybody could. That being said, so many students who follow a program of clean diets and yoga/breathing revolutionize their bodies.
4. Can you suggest some yoga poses that will increase the extension of my muscles to have a forward split?
Submitted by @zebrallo
Raghunath: I like Raj Kapotasana, High Lunge, or Crescent Pose. I like Parsvatonasana too. I also like to go in the grass and do long lunge walking where my back knee touches the ground. I keep my torso straight and my hands either in the air or touching my front knee. It's powerful stuff if you can do 10-40 long lunge steps.
5. What memory stands out to you the most from all your years of teaching?
Submitted by @leosingha
Raghunath: The very first time I taught. I loved yoga for many years but never taught. Then somebody asked me to sub for their class, and I fell in love with teaching. I got hired at all the places I subbed for her, and overnight I had a yoga career. Never thought I would. Thanks for reminding me. If you’re a person that likes to give and nurture, what fantastic career choice.
6. Any specific movement that will help lengthen and increase my flexibility?
Submitted by @jvkause
Raghunath: Keep showing up. It sounds simplistic, but we are a whole being and yoga has a whole effect. Everything will change. You need not isolate muscle groups. You’re doing great.
7. Is there a funny yogic moment or episode that happened to you and stuck with you in particular for some reason?
Submitted by @stef95
Raghunath: I was assisting some one in Hand Stand and their second toe (the long one) went in my nose like a fish hook!
8. Does it tend to be harder for males to access stored emotions even after years of yoga practice?
Submitted by @scottys
Raghunath: I’ve had men bust out in tears, and when I ask them what's the matter they say, “I don’t know?!” So it depends. Men often are a little disconnected from their emotions. It's a generalization, but it could be a genetic thing as well. That being said, cleansing is cleansing. Try a juice fast along with your yoga. Magic happens and often men break down as they’ve been burying emotions with food for years.
9. Do your kids practice yoga? If so how did you get them to? I have tried to get my son (14) to start, but he thinks it is boring.
Submitted by @mrmike32
Raghunath: I used to push them, and one was awesome at age 6. Now i back off. With kids, I just let them play and just try to lead by example. Kids need to play more than be disciplined as they get older. If they’re lucky they’ll get into it again.
10. What are some positions that can help with tight calves and ankles?
Submitted by @sfp884
Raghunath: Downward Facing Dog with bent legs and long spine--palms to tailbone. On the exhale, soften calves and heels toward the floor. The breath is key to opening and release in any movement. Stay with it. Keep coming back. Have patience…it’ll come!
**Some questions and answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.