Frequently and not so frequently asked questions...
What is Yoga?
A mind and body practice with historical origins in ancient Indian philosophy, various styles combine physical postures (asanas) and breath technique (pranayama) and meditation, relaxation. The word Yoga is derived from Sanskrit and means ‘to yoke’ or join together. Hatha yoga (Ha – sun, tha – moon), is the most popular practiced in the west. There are many styles of yoga available, my practice aligns to Iyengar practice although some asanas will be borrowed from the Ashtanga Flow primary series.
What are the benefits?
There may not be enough space on this page but in summary potential health benefits include improved posture, strength, tone and balance, improved flexibility, relief of lower back pain, help with anxiety issues, and stress management, improved respiration and digestion, aids weight reduction, regulation of metabolism and protection and rehabilitation from injury, prevents cartilage and joint breakdown, boosts immunity and drains lymph glands, regulate adrenal glands, lowers blood pressure, maintain sympathetic an parasympathetic nervous systems, improves sleep, prevents IBS, makes you happy.
Is it worth doing yoga if I can’t touch my toes\knees\hips?
I’d say yes, it’s not about achieving the perfect posture, that alone wont make you happy. Yoga asana practice will create space in the body, loosen those tight muscles, enable relaxation and as a consequence you will become loose.
Are there any risks involved?
Yes, the risk that you don’t listen to your body and what it is telling you. Work within your limitations, we are all different. Your teacher will provide a safe and stable environment which includes the guidance in asana practice. Nothing will be achieved if we push ourselves beyond our limits.
I’m really fit, what’s the point in me doing it?
So was I when I started and since then I have developed strength that wouldn’t have happened through weights and intense physical training, flexibility where it just wasn’t and a calmer mind that helps me in all aspects of life. Yoga is distinct from physical exercise, it’s about the union of the breath and mind, with the added benefit of a healthy strong body.
What age can you do yoga?
Well, any age, there are many classes out there from kid’s yoga through to sitting yoga or bespoke practice to suit the individual. I teach remedial yoga and will customise a plan that works to the individual’s limitations, whatever age. I would encourage people of age to try yoga and see for themselves.
Isn’t is a bit weird?
Depends on your definition I suppose. In the west, we might struggle with some of the philosophy and non-tangible aspects, I try to add clarity and translate the essence into digestible subject matter. I struggled at first but the more I engaged and embraced, the more it started to make sense. The yoga community is wonderful, loving supportive and accessible. Some of us might be a bit weird but we’re having a great life.
Why do a class, there’s bags of stuff online
Yes, and really good quality information with some excellent yogis and teachers. I use these resources but I also recognise that they are not 3 dimensional. Performing a sequence of asanas, in a safe and stable manner will require correct alignment before, during and after the pose. Your yoga teacher will adjust and guide you in a personal level to ensure you are getting the best out of your practice. You can then seek out some really good practices, flows and sequences once you are confident with the techniques but I will still go back to a teacher to correct my bad habits.
What if my mates find out I do yoga
I used to be quite reserved about yoga but now I am like a loud stuck record. Most people are aware of the increased take up and popularity, and many are keen to try but don’t take that step or know how to. My experience has encouraged more people to engage which I am truly thankful for and if you do come across from the dark side, shout it out.
What type of class do I go for?
It comes down to what you want to get out of your practice, this is why the consultation is so important. It may be a new venture, remedial, rehab, improved fitness or relaxation and meditation or all of the above. Further on, there are different varieties of yoga to explore which I can elaborate on once we establish your intention.
I don’t look good in leggings
Nor do I , try shorts or baggy longs.
I want to look good in a leggings
So do I.
I do look good in a leggings
Seems like Pilates?
Yoga and Pilates are totally distinct practices from different origins. Pilates exercises are based on the principle that every movement originates from the core whereas yoga will feature asanas that work the entire body and are complemented with counter poses. Within yoga, spirituality is inextricably intertwined due to the historical roots. If you are unsure which is right for you, I urge you to try them both rather than rule either out.
Isn’t this just exercise?
Nope. Yoga is a philosophy, a way of living your life. The asanas and pranayama are merely two limbs of the 8 limbs. What differentiates asana practice from exercise you may do in the gym, or running etc, is that the breathing during exercise is instinctive. Anaerobic or aerobic breathing to supply the blood with oxygen to drive the muscles on demand. With asana practice, we control the breath to release tension in the muscles, fascia and create space in the body to achieve a deeper stretch in some cases or use the breath to regulate and control a vinyasa flow sequence. The consequential flexibility, fat loss, muscle density, core strength and slower quiescent breathing and heart rate and relaxed mind are peripheral benefits that all contrive to provide a stable base for practice of the remaining limbs, for example meditation. Furthermore, yoga is proven to massage the internal organs, improving digestion and cleansing the body.
What if I have an injury or incapacitated?
Then you are in the right place. Injuries are traumatic, physically and emotionally. Once signed off from the medical professionals and having completed the course of physio, we may still not be quite right. We may have incurred a sprain, overuse injury, shoulder impingement, minor break, or general lack of mobility. I know that from my experience of sports injuries, surgery, dislocations, breaks, yoga has been both the coping mechanism and the path to full rehabilitation. It won’t repair everything, but you have the ability to improve your situation in a safe and stable manner. Talk to a teacher and see what the options are for you, it costs nothing and it may set you on a path.
Why shouldn’t I do yoga every day?
I think you should, I may be biased. When we analyse our daily routines and how we sit, how often we sit, how often our spine and shoulders are rounded, how we stand, bend down, reach, carry and so on, what is countering all of this? It may be that we need a regime to help counter possible repercussions of our technological age. Who knows? Maybe we need to take a preventive approach, similar to getting our cars serviced before they go bang, we don’t seem to have a problem with that approach…?