Good to know
Do I need to be flexible to practice yoga?
No, most definitely not. In fact if you are “stiff” all the better! You will have to work slowly and with patience, accepting your boundaries and slowly learning to move beyond them. The journey you make will enable you to understand the unfolding process of yoga.
What do I need when I come to my first yoga practice?
Come along with a body and mind willing to learn! Wear comfortable clothing that doesn’t restrict you in any way. If you have your own mat bring it with you and otherwise you can use the mats and props that I have in the studio. (I have a fully-equipped yoga studio with yoga blocks, straps and yoga chairs.)
Can I eat before I practice?
No. It is preferable to have had your last meal at least 2 hours prior to the practice. If you’ve had a long day at work and you need to eat something before practicing then have a small snack – a piece of fruit or something to drink.
How often a week should I practice?
The answer to that is as often as possible within the framework of your schedule. Obviously the more you put into something the more you get out of it. If however you are just beginning and would like to get fit or find some peace of mind then twice a week would be the minimum. As you become familiar with the practices you could come to class once a week and then do a short practice at home. Yoga is really what it says: it is a PRACTICE. If you don’t practice you will not experience the teachings. The process of Hatha Yoga works from the outer most layer of the body and slowly encroaches into deeper layers until you are saturated with its effects right down to the deepest cellular layer!
Can I bring a friend?
Of course. Sometimes when you begin something new it is nice to come along with a like-minded buddy. You can support each other especially during the times you would rather go out for that fantastic dinner in that super new restaurant than even look at your yoga mat! A little tip: do both!! (but first your practice).
Can I practice yoga even if I have medical issues?
That depends. Before coming to your first class I give you a health questionnaire to complete. From that, and in discussion with you I can give you an appropriate answer. You might have to modify some practices or leave some things out (for example certain breathing exercises if you have high blood pressure or are pregnant). I will not allow you to practice if there is any doubt and will require you to get a second opinion from your doctor.
Do I need to do everything during the class?
No. Not all positions or breathing practices are suitable for everyone. For example if you have had a whiplash you will not be allowed to practice headstand or shoulderstand. If you have an injured knee you will be shown how to protect it in certain asanas or even be given a modification of an asana.
Then there is just the question of energy. Some days we seem to have enough to share with the whole room and are able to do everything and there are other days when we have dragged ourselves to the studio feeling like a lump of lead! Yoga is not for “fair weather” practitioners. In other words you should try to come along on the day you set aside for your class even if you don’t feel 100% top fit. (except of course if you are sick). There will always be something you can do and I guarantee that you will leave feeling better!
Just remember Yoga is not about performance. There are no gold medals and there is never “The perfect practice”. I love the quotation by the international Yoga teacher Max Strom: “remember it doesn’t matter how deep into the posture you go – what does matter is who you are when you get there.”