We have been asked all these questions. You’re not alone!
What is Yoga?
Yoga is a general term from the Sanskrit word Yuj meaning to yoke or to bring into union, and is a system originating from ancient India. Whilst the practices of Yoga can appear quite varied, the system of Raja Yoga (Royal Yoga) is widely accepted and used interchangeably for ‘yoga’ in the UK. In the Raja Yoga system, expounded by Sage Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras, there are eight distinct categories or ‘limbs’ of practice. These are a combination of observances and codes to follow (yamas and niyamas), physical postures (asana) breathing practices (pranayama) and mental relaxation techniques (pratyahara) which lead into more advanced practices of meditation (dhyana, dharana, samadhi).
What is Hatha Yoga?
Hatha comes from two words; ‘Ha’ meaning Sun and ‘Tha’ (pron ‘Ta’) meaning moon. In Hatha the aim is to bring both opposing elements into balance. So it is with the body – the approach focuses on the physical preparatory categories of Raja Yoga, in order to bring all the functions and homeostatic systems into balance so it can access deeper practices.
What is hot yoga?
Whilst in India, practitioners are usually looking to avoid the heat, in cooler climes we often need a little help to bring the body quickly to a relaxed and supple state. Most types of yoga can be practiced in a warm or hot room, allowing the practitioner to start from a soothed state. Care must be taken however not to challenge the muscles too much, too quickly. As with every yoga practice be guided by the teacher but always listen to the body and respect its limitations.
How often should I practice yoga?
The benefits of yoga can be felt immediately and with just a single session a week. However, to develop and immerse yourself in the practice, we would recommend you aim to build your practice up to several times a week. This doesn’t mean you need to practice strong postures everyday, but could be a combination of physical postures (asana) one day, breathing practices (pranayama) on another and a combination on another.
I’m a beginner, is that a problem?
We would be delighted to welcome you into the community! The Breathing Space is all about helping you find and develop a practice that works for you. Our team are experienced and generous people and would love to answer any questions you have and guide you in finding a class that is right for you, your body and your schedule.
Which class is best for me?
Which class is best for me?
This depends on a few factors such as your experience, your physical strength and stamina and your preference of style and pace. Have a read through the class descriptions and have a try at any that appeal. If you’re not sure, any of our team would be happy to talk to you and guide you in your choice. Don’t forget as a new member of our community you can use those welcome pack passes to try out new styles!
Am I too old or too young?
Are you between 3 months and 100 years old? Then, no – you’re perfect for yoga! Look at the class descriptions to see which would work for you and your lifestyle. We have classes for mums and babies, right through to those who might like to try ‘Yoga for Healthy Ageing’ and ‘Chair Yoga’ for mobility development.
What if i’m not very flexible?
Perfect! Yoga is just what you’re looking for. In your yoga practice, under the guidance of an experienced teacher, you can learn how to work with the body to improve flexibility and strength. What’s more, you can become more compassionate and understanding of your body so that you move away from any tendency to push it too aggressively, resulting in injury or creating the dreaded ‘compensation effect’ to another area of the body.
What should I bring with me?
The most important thing is your willing self!
We have mats for you to hire (£2), but we do believe that as practitioners, we should eventually commit to and invest in the practice. This means owning our own mat on which we feel a sense of belonging when spending time on it.
We have nearly-new mats on sale in the studio (£10).
Bring a bottle of water in case you need a drink during class.
You must bring a towel to place over your mat for HOT yoga. A non-slip Yoga Towel is best, but a regular towel is better than no towel at all, as the mat becomes slippery. We sell non-slip Yoga Mat Towels in the studio (£12).
Before or after food?
This might be hard to swallow (pun intended) but it is best to allow two hours between your last big meal and your yoga practice. We fold, we twist, we go upside down and it’s just not advisable to do it on a full stomach and stress your digestive system. If you have a fast metabolism and have concerns about being too weak or too hungry to practice, experiment with a small snack one hour before practice. (banana, smoothie, nuts and seeds?)
Is Yoga religious?
No. It’s a system of ‘received knowledge’. Some people perceive it as religious because in India it is so ingrained in the culture together with Hinduism that it can be hard at first glance to see where one ends and the other begins. But in Yoga, faith in a particular god or acts of worship are not stipulated. You can practice yoga whilst maintaining a fervent personal faith.
What should I wear?
Anything you feel comfortable in which allows you to move freely. Leggings or joggers, shorts or loose trousers are fine. Avoid anything tight or restrictive that will prevent you moving with comfort or add additional stress on the digestive system.
I’m not at my ideal weight. Should I lose weight first?
Absolutely not! You and your body are perfect for yoga right now! We’re all different shapes and sizes. Yoga isn’t for one body type, yoga is for ‘every body’ at all different stages of life.
Isn’t yoga a bit too gentle to keep the body in good shape?
This depends on your preference of style and pace. Yoga can be gentle and soothing (yin), pacey and physically demanding (yang), somewhere in between or a combination. Read through the class descriptions and attend any that appeal. If you’re not sure, any of our team would be happy to talk to you and guide you in your choice. Don’t forget as a new member of our community you can use those welcome pack passes to try out new styles!
Are there any ‘rules’?
There are no rules as such, but we do suggest the following as guidelines to ensure that everyone can enjoy the Breathing Space.
- Classes start promptly so please arrive 5-10 minutes early so you can take your shoes off, check in to your class and find a space in the studio.
- Do your best to keep noise to a minimum if you are waiting for a class to finish as the previous class are most likely practicing savasana (relaxing) and it is best done in quiet.
- Please turn your mobile off or turned to silent with vibration disabled.
- Our classes are friendly and sometimes there’s time for discussion in the class. Please follow your teacher’s lead though and respect other peoples’ practice with minimal chat.
- Listen to your body, take a rest if you need to by sitting or lying down.
How do I practice online?
Create a cosy space. Have your mat and props ready and make your yoga space as clear and clutter free as you can. Have a playlist lined up if you want to listen to some music whilst you practice.
Make sure your teacher can see you standing up and lying on your mat. We recommend your camera is eye level or higher and angled down.
Make sure your Zoom name/handle is something your teacher will recognise when they see you in the Zoom waiting room.
Make sure your device is charged or plugged in.
Log in early to greet your teacher as normal.
Report injuries/general condition.
Turn off phones / TV / radio / children!
Use a laptop / tablet with a large screen, or “mirror” your phone on your TV.
Don’t forget to dress for the occasion – your teacher can see you!