Newcomers

yoga questions

First of all Welcome! Whether you are new to Yoga or simply new to my classes, here is some information about yoga and my classes that you might find helpful.

What is Yoga and why should I practise?

“Yoga is the settling of the mind into silence.” Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras 1:ii

Yoga is not just physical exercise – the Sanskrit word yoga means union: of body, breath, mind and spirit.  You begin with the breath, becoming more in tune with its movements and learning how to use it to your advantage, then you explore your body and where it can take you, strengthening and stretching your muscles so that your body is able to cope with the physical demands of everyday life and rewarding you with a strong, toned and most importantly a healthy body, then finishing with the mind and learning how to relax and quieten down your thoughts and emotions to find an inner and outer stillness that is so very much needed in our busy day-to-day lives.

The practice of yoga originated in India around five thousand years ago.  It is an ancient eastern philosophy offering a holistic approach to body, mind and spirit that helps equip us to cope with the challenges of daily life.  Today it is enjoyed by millions of people all over the world, of all ages and at all levels of physical fitness.

Regular practice of yoga can bring benefits on many levels, including, to name but a few:

  • Increased flexibility and strength.
  • Improved posture and balance.
  • Healthier joints.
  • Improved digestion.
  • More toned physique.
  • Stronger core muscles.
  • Improved lung function with slower and deeper breathing.
  • A stronger immune system.
  • Increased concentration and focus.
  • Lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
  • Less risk of injury, aches and pains.
  • Enhanced sporting performance.
  • Improved sleep patterns.
  • Lower stress levels.
  • Less anxiety.

Your first yoga class with me:

  • When coming along for the first time please come 5-10 minutes early to allow time to fill out a health form and get yourself settled.
  • We generally practise in bare feet although if there is a reason why you prefer to keep your socks on then of course you are welcome to (and many people do!).
  • In terms of what to wear, I would recommend comfortable clothing that you can move around in freely, e.g. (as a guideline only) leggings and vest top/T-shirt for women and jogging pants/shorts and T-shirt/vest for men.
  • If you have your own yoga mat then please do bring it along; if you do not have a yoga mat don’t worry as I always bring some spares with me.
  • You might like to bring a bottle of water with you and possibly a blanket which can be used to get comfortable in relaxation (particularly during the colder months) and also as cushioning under your knees should you need this.
  • If you have a health condition, illness or injury that might affect your ability to participate fully in class please do let me know in advance. This is important so I can ensure to make the class as inclusive as possible for you.

In terms of what to expect from my classes, I wrote a blog post a while back My Kind of Yoga which pretty much details what my lessons entail.

In addition, here are some questions that I have been asked over the years. If you have any other questions please email me at emma@samadhi-yoga.co.uk

1. Q: Do I need to pre-book before coming to class?

A: I am asked this question a LOT and the answer is NO! All my adult classes run on a drop-in basis which means there is no need to pre-book. you can just drop-in. My 5-week Children’s Yoga Course is the only class I run which must be booked in advance. When you wish to come along just check my weekly schedule (updated at the start of each week) and come along whenever suits you!

2: Q: I can’t even touch my toes, will I be able to do yoga?

A: If you can’t touch your toes then it sounds like yoga is definitely for you!! You would be surprised at how quickly you would progress in this particular movement and you’ll be touching your toes in no time at all. Sounds like your hamstrings are perhaps a little tight and yoga will work wonders on freeing them up! Obviously yoga will increase flexibility around all of the joints so you will feel an improvement in many different areas of your body.

3: Q: I’ve never done yoga before and would be a complete beginner, can I still come to your class?

A: Of course!! Everyone has to start somewhere and I totally welcome and encourage beginners to my classes. I run mixed ability classes that suit both absolute beginners and more experienced practitioners. There is something for everyone in yoga and everyone works at their own pace. I will instruct a posture and offer plenty of modifications to keep both the beginner and the more experienced yogi happy.

4: Q: I’m a little worried I might have to do a headstand and I might hurt myself.

A: I would never make anyone do a posture that they were not comfortable with. Headstands are quite an advanced posture and in a group situation it would be quite difficult to keep everyone safe so I don’t tend to teach headstands. What I do teach, however, are postures that would be considered as preparatory for headstands and would therefore build the correct strength and technique to progress to headstand in the future.

5: Q: I am pregnant and have never done yoga before but would love to learn. Can I come to your class?

A: Pregnant ladies who are enjoying a straightforward pregnancy (i.e. no health complications) are welcome to join any of my mixed ability classes from 15 weeks into their pregnancy. You would need to contact me, however, before coming along for the first time.

6: Q. Do I need to bring my own yoga mat?

A. If you don’t currently have a yoga mat then there is no need to purchase one for your first session. I always bring a handful of mats with me to  each class but if you do have your own mat then please do bring it along. I do clean my yoga mats regularly, however, it is obviously more hygienic to have your own mat and in addition as you continue your practice you may find you wish to practice at home too and thus it is helpful to have your own mat. Should you wish to purchase a mat at some stage I have written an article on how to choose a yoga mat.

7: Q. I’m really interested in your classes but I can’t make it during the day. Do you run any evening classes locally?

A. Yes! I run several evening yoga classes. Please see my Classes page for more information.

8: Q. When you introduce the postures in class you say the name in English but also in another language, what language is that and why do you use it in your class?

A. It is Sanskrit, which is the language of ancient India and an integral part of Yoga. All the classic yoga texts were written originally in Sanskrit and the English names for the yoga postures (or asanas) are in fact merely translations of the original Sanskrit terms. Not all yoga teachers use Sanskrit names in their classes (although many of course do!) but I feel it is important to know their original names and thus my students have the opportunity to hear both the English names and Sanskrit too. I also feel it lends a feeling of authenticity to one’s practice.

9: Q. Do you travel to India a lot?

A. I wouldn’t say a lot, but I have been a few times, most recently (in February 2016) I was very lucky to have the opportunity to spend time in an ashram in Kerala in South India. This was an amazing experience and one that I learned a great deal from. You can read about some of my experiences here.

Prior to this I went to Mumbai way back when and to Goa for a few weeks in my twenties which was an amazing, colourful experience and a real treat for all the senses. A lasting memory I have is of walking along the street with huge cows walking along beside me and feeling ever so slightly intimidated! I also remember cows walking freely up and down the beaches. Both surreal and wonderful at the same time!

10: Q. I have a male friend who is interested in coming to yoga with me, are your classes also suitable for men?

A. Of course! It is a popular misconception that only women go to yoga classes. Men are definitely welcome in my classes and the class itself and what we do is suitable for both men and women. In addition, I run a Men Only yoga class for guys who prefer to practise among peers.

11. Q. I am used to high energy aerobic type activities, I’m not sure if I will find yoga boring. Is it for me?

A. There is something in yoga for everyone. If you mostly do “high energy” forms of exercise then yoga would be a wonderful complement to your existing exercise regime. On a physical level the deep stretches of yoga would help to lengthen your muscles that might become tight and contracted from your more energetic activities and help protect you from injury by creating greater range of motion around the joints and strengthening them. We always include sun salutations so these raise the heart rate and also holding postures creates strength so it’s not all just laying on the floor! Also, if you are always busy and on the go then the mindful element of yoga – with the breathing focus and Savasana relaxation would do wonders for you. Understanding that it is okay to slow down and take your focus inwards sometimes would help to bring balance to your life and counter the high energy side.

12. Q. Will yoga help me lose weight?

A. Losing weight is not the primary aim of yoga although it may be a side effect for people who have weight to lose. We build internal heat during our Sun Salutations and also gently raise our heart rate and boost circulation during our yoga practice. It is a low impact form of exercise and not aerobic in the traditional sense, however, it is certainly good for heart health. We build strength and restore flexibility to our bodies and we focus on what our bodies can do and how our bodies feel rather than counting how many calories we have burned in one session. You will certainly gain a more toned and stronger body and while it is not a quick fix weight-loss plan, it IS a long-term investment in both your physical, mental and emotional health.

13. Q. Do you run private or 1 to 1 yoga sessions?

A. I no longer offer private or 1 to 1 yoga sessions. I did originally but it is no longer possible for me due to lack of availability.