When it comes to trying out anything new it can be a little daunting, so if you’ve never attended a Yoga class before here’s a quick intro with some of the most frequent questions asked:
First off, try to turn up before class starts: 5-10 minutes beforehand means you can talk to the teacher, discuss any issues you might have and get a chance to set up your equipment (typically a mat, block and strap). Find somewhere you feel comfortable – most people want to be close enough to see the teacher clearly but not in the front row – but everyone here is in the same boat, with the focus being on yourself, not any other student in the class.
A standard practice starts with the setting of the intent (what we will focus on during the class), a short Pranayama (breathing exercise) and then some warm up poses, typically seated positions. We then start to use the whole body with an emphasis on core work, engaging the legs and shoulders, as well as being able to maintain a full slow breath throughout.
We then come standing and work through a series of Sun Salutations, moving the whole body with the rhythm of the breath, and a suitable inversion (an upside down pose suitable to the level of the class).
The ‘hot’ part of the practice typically involves a series of vignettes (two or three asymmetrical poses taken for 8-10 breaths each, then performed on the second side). These will be demonstrated in less advanced classes so you have an idea of what the poses look like – but the focus as you practice is what you experience in the pose.
After the ‘hot’ part of the class we will warm down with poses that take advantage of what you have been opening and releasing through the sequence, then cooling down with some less energetic poses.
Finally we move into the resting pose of Savasana, where you might have a guided meditation or rest in mindful awareness for a few minutes.
Each class is unique, with different poses, themes, intents and apex positions. Throughout the class demonstrations of poses will be included where appropriate for the students in the class.
What do I bring?
You, a water bottle and some clothes you can stretch in. If you have a Yoga mat and you’d rather use your own then of course bring it along, otherwise we provide all the equipment necessary for the class. Try and arrive 5-10 minutes before each session so you can get set up and relax a little before we begin, also prevents being late to class which can be stressful.
I’m not flexible enough to do Yoga
Well a great way to fix that is to do Yoga! No-one enters their first class being expected to do a handstand or splits, and much of Yoga is about being able to meet yourself on the mat as you are, not as you want to be. It’s only then that you can achieve any kind of change.
Can I do Yoga if I have an injury/I’m pregnant/I can’t do a handstand
Overwhelmingly – Yes! If you have any questions about your health and whether Yoga is appropriate please get in contact and talk to me directly, it’s a good chance to introduce yourself and get some reassurance as well as ask any questions not covered here.
Depending on your health issue you will be offered variations to help prevent you from aggravating your condition or to actually help you heal. Yoga isn’t just for skinny bendy people, it’s for everyone.
What do I do if I can’t keep up?
Our mixed level classes are suitable for beginners that have some experience of using their bodies – whether that’s a sport or a physical activity – but for the complete novice I recommend attending the specialised Beginner’s class Tuesday in Jesmond.
All classes have a reasonable level of explanation and I want you to be there, so if you need help then I’m there to provide it, rather than expecting you to just get left behind. The reason real life classes are still popular is that as a Yoga teacher I can help you to understand your body better and provide assistance/alternative posture variations as required by you. Online classes don’t give you that.
Isn’t it just stretching?
Yoga is a mixture of different things, including physical postures that stretch the tissue of the body, but also help build strength and stamina. Most classes include breathing exercises to help bring attention to the breath and create a state of awareness inside the body so you can really feel what you’re doing – and understand why. We focus on the breath and the mindful awareness in the body throughout the class, and finish with a short meditation (lasting a few minutes). In my opinion it’s these different elements that make Yoga more than the sum of its parts, and something truly special to experience.
Meditation? I don’t do the hippy dippy chanting stuff…
Well you don’t have to. If you find it difficult to meditate think of the Savasana (rest at the end of the practice) as a way of letting the body calm down before you leave your mat. It’s a great chance for you to practice mindful awareness within the passive body and you can get a lot from it, but no-one can force you to relax. Most people really do enjoy it, even if it’s a little strange the first few times.
Savasana? I don’t speak Sanskrit.
Well I only teach in English so that’s not a problem: there are a few terms that I use in Sanskrit (the ancient Indo-European language of India) because they have been absorbed into Yoga culture but these are relatively few and straightforward to understand. If you have any questions just feel free to ask at an appropriate time – after class is usually best as I can get carried away explaining my passion…
I don’t think Yoga is for me
If you’ve read this far you’re probably looking for something specific – and there are a lot of different styles of Yoga with numerous teachers; I believe Yoga is for everybody and every body; but that’s not to say I think everybody will love the way I teach. If you don’t think you have a good teacher find another one, you need to have a positive connection with someone that’s trying to help you grow.
If you have any questions not answered above just contact me and let me know – if I get anything I think should be added here I’ll respond to you and add it to this post.