Frequently Asked Questions
People that come to my classes and people I talk to about yoga ask these same questions over and over again. They ask others too, but I've chosen the most popular ones. If you still can't find an answer to your question then feel free to drop me an e–mail and I'll answer it as best I can. These faq's are not in any particular order nor are they grouped in any way.
Which style of yoga do you teach?
Whenever anyone asks me this, I say that it's mainly Iyengar or 80% Iyengar. The Iyengar system is the one that I have studied the most and the one in which I hold my teaching certificate. But I have also studied other styles of yoga such as Astanga Vinyasa, Shandor and a little Scaravelli. I do employ the use of props, working in pairs and partial postures. If you are not sure about what all of this means then have a look at the styles page and get an idea of the main styles of yoga.
How often is it good to practise?
There is no hard and fast rule as to frequency and duration. Once a week is a good start. Increase the frequency as and when you feel ready, and reduce it too when you need. It's great that you are thinking about practising and very important to practise alone as well as going to classes.
Where else do you teach and at what other times?
I teach in health clubs and privately by arrangement. Have a look at the classes page for more information about the classes I do.
Where can I purchase equipment?
Try some of the websites in the resources section. Most of the sports shops now also stock yoga equipment which is a new development as yoga has become more mainstream.
What about yoga retreats or holidays?
There are many different kinds of residential yoga breaks from weekends ranging to whole months away. Some are more intense than others. Try to find out about the person teaching the course.
What about meditation and the spiritual side?
You will find more emphasis on this side of things in a dedicated yoga studio, and less so in health clubs. The postures help to calm the mind and thus prepare one for meditation. There are many techniques of meditation, but their main function is to develop the concentration and create greater awareness. Some people go to yoga classes for mainly the physical side of things and want to avoid what I call the "pseudo spiritual" extras. Some consider yoga to be a very spiritual practice. I have taken this side of things out of my teaching but tend to weave it back in using more of a Western psychological or theraputic model.
What results can I expect?
That all depends on how much you put in and what you want. If you just want to rid yourself of aches and pains then you will feel that after just one session. But yoga is not like other exercise or sport and one doesn't practise in order to achieve goals. But nevertheless you will see progress in terms of greater flexibility, strength and stablity and also a quieter mind.
Can I practise at home?
Of course, and it is highly recommended that you learn to practise on your own. This is sometimes called "self–practice" and teaches you to pace yourself. Ask your teacher for advice.
What if I'm pregnant?
Each case is taken on individual merits. Generally speaking most drop–in classes will be fine, but you may feel more comfortable in a pre/post natal class. If you have done yoga prior to your pregnancy then you will be aware of your body and your limitations. If however you have never done yoga before it is best to take it easy especially during the first trimester. There is a hormone called relaxin circulating in the body which makes you more flexible, but if you are not used to stretching in the yoga way then you could end up going too far. Avoid all forms of impact during the first trimester as it will increase the risk of miscarriage. Other than that, give it a go.
What if I have injuries?
Your osteopath or physiotherapist may have referred you to yoga. There may be postures that you need to avoid or do using props. Some postures will help you to recover and others won't. If you haven't done yoga before, then it may be wise to take a few private classes to see if it's for you. Going into a class where the teacher is delivering a bulk standard lesson may not be the best thing. He or she may ask and take note of injuries, but will not be able to give you the attention you need if you have an injury, especially if it's recent.
I'm not very flexible, can I still do it?
Many people ask this question if they have observed some of the postures being done. One becomes flexible through practising the postures, but one will gain strength and stability along the way too. Flexibility is only one part of the equation.
Why does it hurt?
Initially one cannot distinguish between what is pain and what is healthy stretch. As your body gets used to it, the stretches can be quite uncomfortable but one soon gets used to them. But pain is pain and will lead to injury. As a general rule, if you experience any sharp sudden pain then stop! You are of course at complete liberty to come out of a posture whenever you want. Remember to work at your own pace.
What is all this chanting about?
Some teachers will employ chanting, and it can seem a little alien if you have never seen it before and if everyone is joining in. Whether you join in is entirely up to you. The chants are usually phrases or syllables in Sanskrit.(It is no longer spoken, but yoga texts are all documented in Sanskrit. A bit like Latin is in the West.) They are used to elicit feeling of devotion, especially to those who first began to practice and study yoga. Those people have become legendary and have taken on a godlike status. It is also expressing gratitude to the lineage of yoga practitioners of which you are now a part: in a thousand years hence they may be chanting their devotion to you!
Should I do my workout before or after yoga?
If you do yoga first, then you end up feeling so calm that you don't feel like doing your workout and afterwards you may not have the strength left to make it through the class. If you want to do both on the same day, you'll have to compromise a bit. If you workout first, then you'll have to do a gentler yoga session and leave out the postures that build strength. If you do yoga first, then you could skip the corpse and other calming postures at the end of the session and leave the class early to do your workout.
What's good for stiff shoulders?
I have put together a little routine in the routines section that gives a series of a few movements especially to help relieve stiff and aching shoulders. More people complain about this than anything else.