Do I need to book in advance?
Yes, please book in before your first class partly so I have some idea on numbers, and partly so I can let you know if a class isn’t running for some reason, eg holiday.
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 your classes suitable for beginners?
Yes, unless marked specifically to the contrary. I can adapt my class 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 introductory private class?
Your first class with me is a £5 taster, but I recommend a few classes to get a real feel for yoga and how I teach.
I’m visiting the Island – can I just come to one class?
Certainly, subject to space. Please book as normal, but note I don’t offer the taster class for one off visitors.
How long does a class last?
Normally 90 minutes (Saturdays 120 minutes) and I consciously try to finish on time, 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.
Do I need to bring anything with me?
Some water, a blanket or shawl to cover up during laying postures/relaxation and, if you have one, a yoga mat – I do have some mats available for those without so if its for your first class, or you are a visitor, don’t fret.
A smile and an open mind complete the package.
If you want to buy your own mat or props, I can supply these Buy Yoga Equipment from 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 with me. I encourage people to 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.
As someone who is late everywhere, I would rather you arrived late and calm than on time and stressed!
I can’t make a booked class – what should I do
An email is always appreciated.
If you are coming for a taster, please get in touch by email about rebooking.
If you can’t make your regular class, don’t worry, I hold places for around four weeks on the busy classes. Please check with me if you are returning having been away for a while.
How many people are in the classes – I’m a little shy?
Typically 6 to 10 people. My studios are both quite small, intimate, spaces.
How do I pay?
Cash, an honesty box, with change float, is in the room. If it’s easier, I can take payment by Credit Card on my website, cheque or bank transfer (ask for bank details).
For prepaid classes you will have a voucher – please put this in the honesty box.
Please sign in on the sign in sheet when you arrive each time, regardless of how you are paying.
What goes on in a typical class?
It varies from class to class, but generally our session will include:
- an opening time of relaxation
- some gentle stretches to warm up
- 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
Sometimes meditation may also be included.
What doesn’t tend to happen in my class?
- very strong flow sequences
- partner work
In terms of the class styles I advertise
- Yin Inspired Hatha Yoga – a mixture of classic Hatha Yoga, occasionally some Vinyasa, and Yin Yoga in Paul Grilley/Sarah Powers style. The class also includes Relaxation, Pranayama (breathing), and Mindfulness Meditation. The Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa element is slow, and accessible to all including beginners. Mostly floor based, some standing postures, some restorative postures.
- Pure Yin Yoga – classic Yin Yoga in Paul Grilley/Sarah Powers style. Mostly floor based.
- Yin/Restorative – a classic Yin Yoga class with a Restorative emphasis. Floor based. The restorative emphasis makes this quieter and slower than a Pure Yin Class.
- Chair Yoga – a gentler chair based practice ideal for those who struggle to get to and from the floor – an adaptation of the classes outlined above.
All classes are beginner / all level friendly.
I’m not very flexible, can I do Yoga?
Its a myth you need to be flexible do to yoga. I’ve known of 30st people start 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. Some body shapes need to adapt postures – I do in my own practice and classes I attend as a student.
My classes are body positive and all sizes and shapes are catered for. Although I don’t like the term it’s fair to say I’m “plus size” myself.
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.
Is there a minimum or maximum age?
Minimum age 18 for students attending independently. Under 18s welcome to attend with a participating parent, and there is a 50% class discount.
There are no upper age limits, other than keeping up with the class.
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 before if you are unsure, and let me 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.
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; science has suggested metabolic activity decreases 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.
I’ve written a longer article about Yoga, Stress and Weight Loss
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 my style of teaching won’t.
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. As I mention above, though, this isn’t my style of teaching yoga.
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 pottering 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, a Chiropractor or an 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, a Chiropractor or Osteopath these can normally be accommodated, please let me know what advice you have been given.
I’m trained in Yoga Therapy for Back Pain, and provide Back Care Classes privately.
The latest recommendations 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 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”.
My own background is Liberal Christianity and Yoga has assisted me in exploring and deepening my faith.
Occasionally in class there will be mentions of Gods and Goddesses of Yoga – for example Ganesha, the Elephant God, and mover of obstacles – I personally find it helpful to see these Gods and Goddesses as another face of the God I worship. Just have an open mind.
Likewise sometimes we may use yoga chants or mantras, in Sanskrit (an ancient eastern language); again if this causes you to worry, just have an open mind. I felt uneasy at first. Currently I don’t use a lot of these in my classes.
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, 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 this 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 used? What does it mean?
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 use the chant of OM, normally at the end of class, to connect back to the ancient roots of yoga. I also think its a nice link to the shared energy of many other yoga classes going on around the country – and world – at the same time.