The following FAQs have been adapted from the British Wheel of Yoga’s website. Please also (click here) for a printable PDF version of my own brochure.
I have never been to a yoga class before and do not know what to expect. Are all the other people really good at it? Will I feel out of place?
Yoga is non-competitive so there is no need to feel concerned about being new in the class. You will be very welcome and there is usually a mixture of ages and abilities in a class, unless they are clearly indicated as advanced or special interest (i.e. pregnant women, cancer patients, children, ME/CFS etc.) Everyone is encouraged to work to their own abilities and according to their level.
What should I wear?
Something loose and comfortable that allows you freedom of movement. Yoga is generally done in bare feet but bring socks to wear especially during the relaxation.
Do I need to bring any equipment?
You will need a mat to practise on but if it is the first time you have attended a class check with me if spare yoga mats and other equipment are available. If you decide to continue attending you can purchase equipment from the BWY shop (discount is offered to BWY members so please discuss this with me). Bring a blanket to keep warm during the relaxation.
Can you give me an idea of how the class works?
Classes begin with a short, basic relaxation that allows everyone time to settle down and centre. A warm up session follows, using yoga based movements geared towards the main content of the class, the yoga asanas (yoga postures). The class will include pranayama (yoga breathing exercises) and ends with yoga relaxation. Modifications and adjustments are offered for beginners or people with health issues.
I'm very stiff and/or unfit. Will I be able to do it?
You may find that some things need to be modified by using various props to ensure it is safe for your individual body. Certain movements and asanas may not be suitable for you but you will be advised what these are and an alternative option offered.
I have health issues. Can I still come and is it safe for me to take part?
If you have a health condition you should seek medical advice from your GP before coming to the class. In the majority of instances you can still attend and practise safely. Certain movements and asanas may not be suitable for you but you will be advised what these are and an alternative option offered. You may also find that some things need to be modified by using various props to ensure it is safe for your individual body.
Is yoga just for women or can men practise too?
Yoga is for everyone so yes they can. It is often thought that men may prefer more dynamic or sporty activities, but this can lead to over-training in one sport, which can in turn cause repetitive stress and other more serious injuries. In addition to the benefits of the breathing and relaxation practice, yoga is a full-body workout that creates both strength and flexibility. It strengthens muscles that get less attention during workouts, such as the lower back and knees, and also stretches out the hips, hamstrings, and shoulders, often very tight in men, leading to injury or weakness.
Why do we have to do pranayama? Can't we just relax?
Controlling our breath deepens our relaxation and benefits our entire body by bringing it to optimum health.
Do you use Sanskrit names for the postures? How will I understand?
BWY teachers do underpin yoga practice with philosophy, much of which is written in Sanskrit. Yoga asanas all have a Sanskrit name which makes it easier to identify them across all disciplines of yoga; however we also offer English translations.
Do you sit around chanting? I am not comfortable with this.
Chanting may be a feature of some classes but I will not ask you to do anything that makes you uncomfortable.
I am not a very spiritual person but have heard that yoga is for spiritual people. Does this matter?
Yoga is not a religion. Most classes provide a healthy balance between philosophy and asana practice and it is up to you whether to take the philosophy on board.
Yoga can be a benefit to anyone of any age and it is worth finding the right class, DVD or book to meet your specific needs, which might include classes designed especially for pregnant women and mothers and babies. Even if you consider you are physically very strong it is a good idea not to go to an 'advanced' class straightaway. There is much to discover and you could miss out on fundamental learning.
“GREAT SPIRIT, help me always to speak the truth quietly, to listen with an open mind when others speak, and to remember the peace that may be found in silence.”
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