You Ask. I Gladly Answer.
IS IT SUITABLE FOR BEGINNERS OR INTERMEDIATES?
Yes. About half of the students that start classes are beginners, and whilst they unanimously find the first Vinyasa Yoga class challenging, they also find it gets significantly easier, makes more sense, and ‘clicks’ during the third class generally. From there, it just gets more doable and requires less mental and physical effort, leaving you free to direct your concentration inward rather than outward. We all start somewhere, and Rome was not built in a day. A few months of a regular yoga practice will lead to noticeable differences, a whole year and you will be REALLY feeling it, a few years and you’ll probably practice for life in one way or another.
It is also suitable for intermediates, I always give lots of different options in both classes to accommodate varying levels of experience and ability, as well as various conditions and complaints of the body.
DOES IT MATTER I'M NOT FLEXIBLE AT ALL?
No, not at all. This is what I hear more than anything else from people who would never consider yoga. And I say that’s like saying I’m too dirty to have a wash. Not everyone that does yoga is flexible, it takes years to un-do a lifetime of creating stiffness in the body. But relatively, we do become more flexible. And whilst some people have hips that flop open without any effort at all and other have knees up to their ears sat on the floor, this is because we all have different anatomies: the shape of our bones and joints varies hugely so there is no such thing as a set way you must look in a posture, or indeed a perfect posture. Flexibility is not the goal or measure of yoga, it is just something that benefits nicely along the way as one of the many benefits.
WHICH OF YOUR CLASSES IS BEST SUITED FOR ME?
It entirely depends on what your intention is. Vinyasa Yoga will make you strong, fit, and flexible, as well as improving all systems of the body in numerous ways. It targets the muscles primarily, although will also improve everything from your joints to your digestion and sleep. As a dynamic exercise, it feels like a full workout at times; it is a well-rounded practice to benefit every part of the self, including in essence being a movement meditation. It helps restore balance and eliminate stress.
Yin Yoga shares many of the same benefits, however rather than targeting the muscles, it primarily targets the joints and connective tissues. What this means is that it is wonderful for slowing down the ageing process and keeping our joints healthy, maintaining, and creating mobility in bounds and it creates more flexibility than just about anything else possibly will. The research linking Yin Yoga and health and cellular functioning is quite simply extraordinary. The targeted connective tissues, as well as the muscles, will get longer, but also stronger and more resilient.
Vinyasa Yoga is more yang; Yin Yoga is more yin. Everything is best in balance, but either one of these practices will confer huge benefits if one is much more appealing or doable than the other for what could be various reasons. The intentions you have when you come to yoga, as well as your physical and psychological state, will guide which type of yoga is better for you, and if in doubt, try them both and let your intuition decide.
AM I LOCKED INTO BLOCK BOOKINGS AND REGULAR FINANCIAL COMMITMENTS?
Absolutely not. While many people have jobs and lives that enable them to make weekly classes, many people do not, and I do not want those people to be disadvantaged. Nor do I want anybody to lose out financially because they have a holiday booked or come down with a cold. Block bookings are not practical for most people, and I want coming to yoga to be fun, easy, and relaxing, so classes are pay as you go and always will be.
WHAT IS THE APP?
The app that the website prompts you to download is an app that is provided by Wix, and allows you to book, postpone, and cancel classes. It makes keeping track of what classes you have booked easier. You do not have to use it, and it does not cost anything.
HOW DO I CANCEL CLASSES?
If you 'join the website', you are able to log in and go to the 'My Bookings' option. From here you can cancel and postpone classes easily. Alternatively, just let me know.
DO I HAVE TO WEAR STRETCHY YOGA LEGGINGS?
No, you can wear whatever you want as long as it is comfortable, and you can move easily in it. For Vinyasa Yoga classes, you will want to wear a vest or short sleeves because you will get hot. For Yin Yoga classes, you will want to dress warm with socks, jumpers, full arms and legs, layers, and bring a blanket because you will get cold.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING WITH ME?
For Vinyasa Yoga classes, just bring your mat and some water. For Yin Yoga classes, bring these and also your blanket and any yoga props that you have too (bolster, yoga blocks).
IS IT SUITABLE IF I'M PREGNANT OR HAVE ANY OTHER CONDITIONS OR LIMITED ABILITIES?
Both types of yoga are possible to do when pregnant, but with specific modifications and considerations. It is advisable to take various modifications in Vinyasa Yoga, and you also should not start a vinyasa practice when you become pregnant. Continuing an existing practice should be fine with an added awareness of what to avoid and do. Yin Yoga is fine provided that the student does not hold poses for as long or deep as they could or other students are instructed to do, and some postures will also be modified, often with the use of more added props.
Most conditions and disabilities can be accommodated and modified for through both classes, so should never be viewed as a reason to not be able to practice yoga. If both classes are too much for a student, private classes that are tailored are always an option, but for most people who can come to the floor, Yin Yoga should be doable even if vinyasa is not.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF DOING YOGA?
It would be easier to say what is not improved through a regular practice: absolutely nothing! Few things can make such a bold claim, but it is absolutely true. Every system of the body benefits: circulatory, digestive, lymphatic, nervous, skeletal, respiratory, endocrine, reproductive, and muscular. Your joints, muscles, and connective tissues become stronger and longer - they effectively become younger! Your immune functioning and general health can improve in almost every way imaginable (for a more detailed overview of this, see Timothy McCall M.D. Yoga as Medicine, and investigate the correlation between Yin Yoga and cancer to name a couple of starting points if you want more, it's fascinating). You will sleep better, be less anxious, stressed, and unbalanced feeling. You will be stronger, fitter, more mobile, flexible, and generally feel happier. Yoga changes your perspective and interactions with the world and people around you, and most importantly with yourself. It gives you confidence, peace, and contentment. And if you give it chance, it can take you down the most magnificent journey of the self through the self to the self (Bhagavad Gita). Why would anyone not want these benefits.
CAN I EAT BEFORE CLASS?
For Vinyasa Yoga, it is advisable not to eat a big meal in the 2 hours beforehand and just make sure that you are well hydrated. You can eat, but it may be uncomfortable if you eat too much or too rich foods.
For Yin Yoga, you can eat beforehand, but it is still advisable to not eat so much that'll have an uncomfortable, too full feeling.
WILL EVERYONE LOOK AT ME?
This must be the main worry people have about starting a yoga class, especially as a beginner. The answer is no, not at all, and after 2-3 classes you will experience for yourself why not. Every student is focused so completely on what they are doing, in-between occasionally looking up at me demonstrating, that no-one is looking around. You only really look around in the first few classes to see what I am doing, after that you can listen more than watch as everyone else tends to (I talk a lot!) and go inside concentrating on what you alone are doing. Do not worry about anyone looking at you :)
CAN I ACCESS YOUR ONLINE CLASSES AT ANY TIME?
No, the online classes are streamed live from the actual classes themselves, so it is a fully live experience. They are shared via a Zoom invitation and run at the same times as the group vinyasa classes.
WHAT SORT OF YOGA MAT DO I NEED?
Generally, I suggest a 4mm non-slip surface mat is best, and you can buy these for £5 from places like Home Bargains/Wilkinsons, or Yoga Matters do a really nice basic one for about £22, which you can get directly or through the likes of Amazon. You don't really need any more than this, but there are some seriously good yoga mats out there so if you want to spend more by all means do, but it is not necessary. For those who suffer from bad knees, you may want to invest in a 6mm yoga mat, or even a 10mm one. The latter are generally used more for pilates and can make balancing and standing poses more difficult in yoga if they are too deep, so 6mm is a nice medium. Some people do happily use 10mm though so there is no one rule for everyone.
AM I TOO OLD FOR YOGA?
Never! Yoga is for the young, the middle-aged, and the old. It is something that keeps us mobile, maintains our mobility, and creates mobility, and mobility is quite simply life. When we lose our mobility, we lose our ability to live. Whenever you start your yoga practice, you are going to benefit from it, there is no time that would be considered too late.
CAN I HURT MYSELF DOING YOGA?
Yes, you can hurt yourself because Vinyasa and Yin Yoga are both physical practices and you can hurt yourself doing anything physical if you do not listen to the signals that your body gives you and honour them truthfully with yourself – do not let your ego take over! Yoga is not a competition, with yourself or anyone else. I always give lots of options and modifications, and encourage students to listen to their bodies, and if you pay attention and act responsibly you should not injure yourself. We can do too much of anything, but equally concerningly we can also do too little. Any physical discipline carries a risk of injury, and yoga is no different, but we build our inner sense to know what we are capable of and what we not, realising that ultimately, no-one knows what you are experiencing except yourself. We also need to rest, so provided you pay attention, take accountability for your own limitations, and rest, there is no reason yoga should cause harm. Go slow, feel your edges.
AM I FIT ENOUGH?
Vinyasa Yoga will make you fit, it is dynamic. However, if you are not fit to begin with, do not let that be a reason not to do it. Yoga is a calm, slow practice that prioritises the slow, calm breath above everything else, so if you modify some things, that is fine. Some students always do and there is nothing wrong with doing what your body tells you that you can and honouring that inner voice. And in time you will get stronger and fitter, which is a nice feeling. Not all of the class is as challenging, and even if you find the sun salutations in vinyasa hard to begin with, you will still find over half of the class much more doable and leave feeling very relaxed.
Yin Yoga does not require any fitness at all. It is a very still class predominantly done on the floor. This is not to say that it is not challenging, but it is not so muscularly or cardiovascularly.
CAN I GO TO THE TOILET AND WHAT IF I HAVE WIND? :)
Yes, you can go to the toilet any time you need to, no permission needed. And the second part of this question, whilst laughable, is a very real concern for a lot of people! I have one thing to say... It is natural. It is certainly not drawn attention to on the rare occasion that it does happen.
CAN I BOOK A PRIVATE CLASS?
Yes, although times are limited around childcare and my regular timetable, get in touch to discuss availability. It is a nice option for those wanting specialised guidance, whether that be advanced, theoretical, technical, or designed around specific requirements and/or limitations.
I STRUGGLE WITH WEIGHT BEARING ON MY HANDS, WRISTS, FEET, ANKLES, OR KNEES - CAN I DO YOGA?
Vinyasa Yoga might be too much for your wrists, hands, feet, or ankles if you really struggle placing weight on them, although if it is not too much it could be very good for them. You can get around knee issues that are exacerbated when weight is placed on them by using a blanket underneath them in any kneeling positions, or double folding your mat to create more padding. If Vinyasa Yoga is too much in any of these areas, Yin Yoga certainly will not be.