Common Questions

Common Questions for Yoga with Jessica


Here are answers to some Common Questions about Yoga, Yin Yoga and Yoga classes with Jessica. 

You may also find the pages About Yoga and Yin Yoga and About Jessica & Yinspire of help.


Do I need to book in advance?

Yes, all classes need booking in advance, partly for managing numbers numbers, and partly to let people know if a class isn’t running for some reason, eg holiday. 

Booking Details are Here


What should I wear?

Something comfortable and stretchy – it doesn’t need to be special “yoga” clothing, gym wear or lyrca.   Leggings or joggers for ladies, joggers or shorts for men.  Some ladies prefer a sports bra, but it isn’t necessary.


Are classes suitable for beginners?

Yes, unless marked specifically to the contrary.  Classes can be adapted to cater for the level of student, so generally all levels are welcome.  And don’t be nervous everyone began once!

If you are nervous about starting Yoga why not book a private session to start with, via my Yoga Therapy page (don’t get hung up on the term “therapy”).


Are classes suitable for those with disabilities?

Generally physical restrictions can be accommodated so long as you can comfortably sit and lay on the floor and transition to standing.

For other physical or learning differences, it will depend on individual circumstances and I will happily discuss these with you.

As a Yoga Therapist I can work with most issues privately, see my Yoga Therapy page for more information.


I’m visiting the Island – can I just come to one class?

Certainly, you will be most welcome – but taster offers aren’t available if you are just visiting once.


How long does a class last?

Normally 75 – 90 minutes (Saturdays 120 minutes), but allow for ten minutes over run in case we start late or get side tracked.

If 90 minutes sounds daunting, don’t worry, it whizzes by.  Some classes are longer or shorter, see the schedule.


Do I need to bring anything with me?

The studio has all the equipment you need, however you are welcome to bring your own equipment.  Mat, Bolster, Block as a minimum and ideally two blocks as well. 

I also recommend bringing some water, a blanket or shawl to cover up during laying postures/relaxation. 

If its for your first class, or you are a visitor, don’t fret I can safely lend most necessary equipment.

A smile and an open mind complete the package.

If you want to buy your own mat or props, then I can supply these Yoga Equipment at Yinspire


How should I prepare for a class?

Its helpful to avoid eating heavy meals for 2 to 3 hours before class, snacks 1 to 2 hours.

Otherwise there are no special preparations.


When should I arrive?

Ideally 5 to 10 minutes before start time in order to be settled, 10 minutes if its your first class. Please lay back quietly once settled until  class starts.  Please don’t arrive more than 15 minutes before the class starts.


What if I’m running late?

Just enter as quietly as you can.   If we are relaxing, please avoid too much disturbance, for example getting mats and props out, until there is a natural pause in the class.

I am late everywhere – I would rather you arrived in my class a few minutes late but safe and relaxed, than on time and tense!


I can’t make a booked class – what should I do?

An email is always appreciated.

Classes need to be cancelled by using the link on the confirmation email, and if cancelling dropins 24 hours before the class (48 hours Saturdays and workshops) you can reschedule to another class of your choice.


How many people are in the classes – I’m a little shy?

Typically 6 to 10 people.  The studio is a small, intimate, spaces.  Studio capacity is normally capped at 10 people.


How do I pay?

Please pay at the time of booking – see My Class Information


What goes on in a typical class?

It varies from class to class, but generally our session will include:

  • an opening time of relaxation (known as Pratyahara)
  • some gentle stretches to warm up
  • sometimes some more active (Yang) postures and flows – maybe Sun Stretch, Sun Salutation, Cat Stretch,  Warrior Sequence
  • some more passive Yin postures
  • some breath exercises (known as Pranayama)
  • a closing relaxation (known as Savasana)

Sometimes meditation/sitting may also be included.

What doesn’t happen in Jessica’s class?

  • very strong flow sequences
  • inversions
  • partner work

My classes blend Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Yoga Therapy.

  • Yoga for Well-being – a mixture of classic Yin Yoga blended with a little Hatha Yoga, occasionally some flow. The class also includes Relaxation, Pranayama (breathing), Mindfulness Meditation and elements of Yoga Therapy. The Hatha Yoga and flow element is slow, and accessible to all including beginners. Mostly floor based, some standing postures, some restorative postures.
  • Hatha Yoga and Yin Yoga – a mixture of classic Hatha Yoga and Yin Yoga.   Hatha Yoga will include standing, sitting and laying postures and flows across a range of Yoga asana, but I do not teach inversions.  My approach to teaching these postures is gentle, accessible and light hearted, and the aim is this class will give a balance of strength, stretch and stillness.
  • Pure Yin Yoga – classic Yin Yoga in Paul Grilley/Sarah Powers style. Mostly floor based.

These descriptions are a guide, and I may vary content according to the needs of the group.  All classes should be accessible to anyone, including beginners, so long as you can comfortably sit and lay on the floor and transition to standing. 

I advise people not to get too hung up on the descriptions.  Attend the class that best suits you. 

Watch my Visual Yin Yoga Guide and see some Pre Recorded Sample Classes and Routines


I’m not very flexible, can I do Yoga?

Its a myth you need to be flexible do to yoga.   

In the long run Yoga should help flexibility, but flexibility is by no means a pre-requisite.  You need not worry about being the odd one out if flexibility is challenging – it probably is for most people, and we are all unique.


I’m a little out of shape, can I do Yoga?

Shape, weight and body size don’t matter at all.   Most body shapes need to adapt postures in some way – we are all unique and different, and there is no one size fits all.

All Yinspire classes are body positive and all sizes and shapes are catered for.  


I’m not very strong, can I do Yoga?

Again, its a myth that any strength is needed – come as you are and you will be fine.


I’m Pregnant – can I practice Yoga?

The principle Jessica works to for her classes is:

  • If you are currently practising yoga, then you may continue so long as your medical team are happy, and you feel comfortable in class
  • If you are new to yoga, then you can join classes at my discretion after the end of the 1st trimester, however I do not offer specialist Pregnancy Yoga.
  • Please do discuss attending Yoga with your medical team.


Is there a minimum or maximum age?

Minimum age 18 for students attending independently. Under 18s welcome to attend with a participating parent.

There are no upper age limits.


Can men do Yoga? Are there many Men in class?

Yes, and it depends!

Men can certainly do yoga, and many do despite Yoga having a reputation as being a feminine activity in the West.  Oddly in its home in the East, its more a masculine activity. 

Like many classes in the UK, the majority of attendees at my classes are women, but there are often one or two men there, and all are welcome.

Anyone, male, female, or questioning, can benefit from the magic of Yoga. 


I have an injury or illness, can I do Yoga?

In most cases, yes, but do check with me if you are unsure, and let them know in class of any particular issues or changes.

There is much more to yoga than just movement and postures,  and much variety in the movement and postures we do, so most injuries and strains can be accommodated.

However if you are ill, listen to your body; it may be rest is more important than effort.

If you have something new when you come to class, please let me know.  We can talk in confidence if necessary. 

As a Yoga Therapist I have a wide range of options available for modifying our work to help you.


Is Yoga Safe?

Everything carries risk, even staying in bed.  A class taught by an experienced Yoga Teacher should be relatively safe, although always listen to your body and don’t strive for movement which is not available or not comfortable for you.


Will Yoga help with weight loss?

If exercise for weight loss is your aim, then there are likely to be more efficient ways of doing this than Yoga; research has suggested metabolic activity can decrease slightly during a Yoga practice.   However Yoga can support, balance and compliment other exercise.

Yoga can help you to listen better to your body, and to understand more your eating patterns. 

Yoga helps address stress – physical and mental – which can be the cause of many digestive and weight problems.

So,  I would never claim weight loss as a primary outcome of Yoga, but Yoga should, all other things being equal, help not hinder.


Does Yoga constitute exercise?

This is a big question, as a simple answer, it depends partly how you define exercise, and secondly on the class style.

If your definition of exercise involves raised heart rate, exertion and sweat then by and large yoga won’t meet that definition, and certainly not my style of teaching.

However if you are open to a more subtle approach to exercise, slower more purposeful movement, exercise for mind and soul as well as body, then yoga fits that bill.

Different yoga teachers and class styles will vary.  Some may be very physical, others much more mental/spiritual.  Some of the physical classes may be more akin to a workout but these are probably a minority.  Sometimes the difference between yoga and workout can be the intent created by the teacher; practice without focus is a workout; practice, however hard, with focus is yoga. 

There is an expanded version of these thoughts here


I’m torn between Spin Class and Yoga

Do both!  If a training form of exercise is important for you, maybe for developing strength or stamina, or to shape up, then something gym based is likely to be a better use of your time.

If your goals are more towards gentle physical movement and relaxation, maybe “me time” then Yoga may well help.

These goals need not be exclusive – a mixture of stronger exercise and the more subtle treats of Yoga serve many of us well.  Away from my mat, you will often find me cycling or in the gym.


Will Yoga help my bad back?

Yes, as part of a rounded approach to exercise and well being.  If you have specific back problems, you may wish to talk to your Doctor, Physiotherapist, Chiropractor or Osteopath – subject to their advice the postures we do in yoga should improve most symptoms.

If you have specific dos or don’ts from your Doctor, Physiotherapist, Chiropractor or Osteopath these can normally be accommodated, please let me know what advice you have been given.

I have specific training in Yoga Therapy for Back Pain, and provide Yoga Therapy for Back Care privately.

Guidance from NICE, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, is that in the absence of “red flags”, movement such as Yoga or Pilates is the recommended way of managing back pain in preference to specialist referral or painkillers.


I’ve heard too much stretching can be bad for you?

To a degree, yes.  Muscular tissue generally likes a stretch, other connective tissue in the body may benefit from stress rather than stretch, and all tissues can be over stressed or over stretched.

I could write a lot here about the science of stretch, but its not the place.  Suffice to say we Yoga isn’t all about stretching, opening and stressing may be better words, and I firmly believe that an intelligent yoga practice is very unlikely to over stress the body.


Is Yoga religious?

No –  it has its roots in ancient philosophies, and is a major part of modern day Hinduism.  However modern Yoga doesn’t prescribe or require any belief structure other than an open mind. 

Yoga has an element of spirituality to it – distinguished from religiousness – and will sit alongside your personal understanding and interpretation of words like “God” and “Faith”.

I have a background in Liberal Christianity and Yoga has assisted me in exploring and deepening my faith. 

Sometimes we may use Yoga chants or mantras, in Sanskrit (an ancient eastern language);  if this causes you to worry, just have an open mind.  Many feel uneasy at first. 

No one with an open mind should experience unease during a Yoga class.


Why are there so many different styles of Yoga?  I’m confused?

Like many things in life, Yoga has evolved and developed over the years – several thousand of them.  This makes defining Yoga difficult, and at the same time exploring its twists and turns all the more fruitful.

In the West most of the Yoga we practice emanates from Hatha Yoga, which combines movement, breathing and relaxation, but there are a number of modern styles of Yoga.  Some of these are quite gentle, others more dynamic, some very physical indeed.   Then there are specialist classes  – Yoga for cancer, Yoga for seniors, pre natal, post natal, Yoga for bad backs, Goat Yoga (seriously) and the list goes on.

The choice of styles and different classes means there should be something for everyone, but its worth taking time to look into class styles available before committing, and if you do hit on a class that isn’t quite right for you don’t be disheartened, there will be others to try.


Do I need to learn lots of foreign phrases?

No – Yoga is based around Sanskrit, an ancient eastern language from India, and there will be Sanskrit terminology in class, mainly in naming practices and postures, and in communicating some aspects of Yoga philosophy.  However these will always be interpreted, and you don’t need speak conversational Sanskrit!

In due course you will probably remember some of Sanskrit terms, but its by no means essential. 


What does Namaste mean?

We use Namaste as a greeting and mark of respect, most commonly at the end of a class, sometimes at the start or on welcoming someone in.

The literal translation is “I bow to you”, a more common translation capturing its essence, “The highest light in me honours and respects the highest light in you” – for light, you may wish to read conciousness.


Why is the chant of OM sometimes used?  What does it mean?

Om Symbol

OM – or Aum – is considered to be the underlying sound and energy of the universe.  All that is, was and will be. 

Its also the symbol ॐ that we often see in Yoga.

Om is the one eternal syllable of which all that exists is but the development. The past, the present, and the future are all included in this one sound, and all that exists beyond the three forms of time is also implied in it – Mandukya Upanishad

In class we sometimes use the chant of OM, normally at the end of class, to connect back to the ancient roots of yoga.  It is a nice link to the shared energy of many other yoga classes going on around the country – and world – at the same time.