Frequently Asked Questions
What is Hatha Yoga?
The main form of yoga known in the West is Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga is an umbrella term for asanas or physical yoga postures under which the most commonly known styles fall. If you see a class described as Hatha Yoga it will usually be a medium-paced class of postures and breathwork.
Is yoga suitable for everyone?
Whatever your fitness level, whatever your flexibility or age yoga is the perfect all round practice for you. Learn to stretch and relieve stiff and aching muscles in your legs, shoulders & arms. Build muscle strength and stamina at your own pace. Become more flexible and supple. Increase focus and concentration. Release stress and tension.
I'm not flexible at all can I still come to a yoga class?
Contrary to popular belief, flexibility is not a requirement for yoga but a happy result from practising it.
I'm a beginner, which style of yoga class should I choose?
A good starting point would be a Hatha Yoga class - it is medium-paced and you will have time to explore each pose before moving on to the next. Afterwards you will be able to judge if you want something faster and cardio-based like an Ashtanga or Dynamic class, or if you want something a little slower like an Iyengar, Yin or Restorative class.
Remember to mention to your teacher before the class starts, if you are complete beginner.
What do I need to bring to a yoga session?
All you need to bring is some comfortable stretchy clothes to wear and a yoga mat. If you are going to a class in a yoga studio they will have mats and props that you can borrow. There is always a couple of minutes relaxation at the end of every class so you might find it useful to bring a long sleeved top to wear as the body starts to cool down from your practice, or there are usually blankets available you can cover yourself with.
Can I eat or drink before a class?
Try not to eat or drink anything at least 2 hours beforehand, especially if you are going to a dynamic style of class. However, turning up to class light-headed and weak with hunger is also not ideal so have a snack or drink an hour before if you need to.
I'm recovering from an injury/have a medical condition, can I still come to class?
Just ensure you mention any injuries, strains or pre-existing medical conditions to your yoga teacher before any session starts so that he/she can give assess whether it is suitable for you to be in the class. If the teacher thinks it is suitable for you to join the class he/she will probably give you some modified poses or variations to do during the practice so you feel more comfotable. More often than not yoga can steadily help you rebuild your strength and slowly heal - many GPs and Practitioners recommend yoga to their patients as a way to rehabilitate.
Can Yoga help my other sporting activities?
Absolutely. Yoga is the perfect complement to your other sporting and leisure activities. If you like to run, cycle, ski, play football, rugby or cricket, lift weights or a keen golfer or musician it is just as important for you to improve your core strength, stretch your muscles and ligaments to improve agility & minimise injury while learning to sharpen your focus and concentration. Many of today's professional sports men & women advocate practising yoga to support and enhance their performance.
What are the different styles of yoga?
Looking at all the different styles of yoga on a timetable can be confusing. Here are some brief descriptions of the most popular styles.
Ashtanga | A fast-paced series of sequential postures always performed in the same order. It can be a physically demanding practice because of the constant movement from one pose to the next.
Dynamic or Vinyasa Flow | A dynamic practice where breath control is essential toward creating and moving through a seamless flow of postures.
Hatha | A medium-paced class of postures and breathwork.
Iyengar | Poses are typically held for much longer than in other styles of yoga. Attention is given to the precise muscular and skeletal alignment. Also specific to Iyengar is the use of props, including belts, chairs, blocks, and blankets, to help accommodate any special needs such as injuries or structural imbalances.
Bikram/Hot Yoga | Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 set poses practiced in a 95 to 100 degree room encouraging a deep stretch in tight muscles and profuse sweating - which is thought to be cleansing. Hot Yoga is similar to Bikram Yoga except the sequence is not set.
Yin Yoga | Poses are held for several minutes at a time in order to the stretch the connective tissue around the joints. Yin Yoga directly addresses the demands that sitting still in one position for a long time (as in meditation) places on the body by focusing on stretching connective tissue instead of muscle.
Restorative | Props are used to support the body so that you can hold poses for longer, allowing you to open your body through passive stretching. Restorative postures are usually adapted from supine or seated yoga poses with the addition of blocks, bolsters, and blankets to eliminate unnecessary straining.