Frequently Asked Questions
Here you will find a selection of questions that we often receive from people who are just starting out with their yoga practice.
1. What do I need to bring to a yoga class?
Bring a yoga mat (please do ask me for recommendations of where to buy a mat). If you have, also bring a yoga brick/block & belt. Bring a bottle of water to stay hydrated. Also, you should bring a warm jumper and/or blanket & cushion so you can snuggle up for the relaxation and keep warm for meditation. You can also use the blanket to cushion your knees for kneeling postures or cushion your tummy, chest or back for lying down postures.
2. I am a bit nervous about attending classes...
Attending your first yoga class can be a bit daunting and it can also affect whether you continue on the yogic path or not. I am very proud that all my classes are really friendly and relaxed. I encourage people to talk to each other and make friends. In fact some evenings the chatter is so buoyant I struggle to start the actual yoga. I use myself as an example all the time and tell stories of all the times I have fallen over in Rotated Triangle (and if you are lucky I may even lose my balance in class). I often talk with loving kindness about my beautiful Buddha belly and lovely curves that often get in the way of many a yoga pose but that does not mean that we should not keep ourselves fit and happy. We also host our Satsangs where people can meet outside of yoga class and get to know each other better. If you still have concerns get in touch with me and we will sort something out.
3. Do you teach beginner classes?
No. The way I teach is to break up the postures into stages and I always try to offer options and alternatives. In my classes you will find people who have been practicing yoga for many years alongside those who are just beginning. From experience I have learnt that even the most experienced yoga practitioner benefits from the basics and learns to better position and align themselves. Equally, those who are at the beginning of their yoga journey can often do asanas and sequences that would be considered more advanced in other classes. As long as we are responsible for our own practice and work within the boundaries of our unique bodies there is no reason to limit a person's practice.
4. I am not very flexible, can I do yoga?
This is a very common question. Quite simply, yes, you can do yoga. When I teach I give a number of different options so that the student can choose the best one for their body’s needs. It is also worth mentioning that yoga is not just about flexibility, it is also about building strength in the physical body. Indeed, yoga is about far more than just the physical body... But you need to experience it to find out the true meaning of what yoga is.
5. Can I do yoga if I am pregnant?
Yes, you can do yoga when pregnant but please contact Jo to discuss further as there are some postures that should be avoided and it may be that a specialised pregnancy yoga class or a one to one would be more appropriate at certain stages of your pregnancy.
6. Can I do yoga if I am ill or have an injury?
Yes, you can do yoga if you are ill or have an injury but please do discuss with me beforehand as some postures may need to be adapted, or it may be the case that a one to one would be more appropriate for you.
7. Will I be the only man in the class?
Although you may well be in the minority it is highly unlikely that you will be the only man in a class. Depending on the day there are usually between two to eight men attending. It is a bit ironic really as for much of its history yoga was practiced mainly by men and continues to have a huge male following. If this is a concern of yourself please get in touch with me and I will put you in the class with the largest amount of men attending.
8. I am overweight, can I do yoga?
I receive many emails from people with concerns about their weight who are worried about joining a class. Yoga has now become mainstream and everyone doing it often appears to be beautiful, have the perfect body, the perfect smile etc. This is not the reality of life and I like to take pride in the diversity of students that come to my classes. We all come in different shapes and sizes and we all have different challenges and limitations. For every challenge or limitation we face in a yoga pose or sequence I have developed a way around it and if I have not developed it yet I will do so once the challenge arises. Having said that, if you still have concerns about this and would like to build your confidence before attending a class I recommend having a few one to ones with me. Quite a few people choose this option to build up their confidence and get to know their yoga practice a bit more before joining a regular class.
9. Why do you not teach in different levels?
This is answered in question 3 but in a addition there is another very good reason why I do not teach in levels: so as to reduce our innate drive to compete. As soon as 'levels' are introduced our internal dialogue becomes competitive and aggressive. Furthermore, yoga is more than just the physical exercises and the progression to different levels of so-called difficulty. Yoga works on many different levels of our being. The physical level if you will is the most superficial level, it is when we get beyond this level that a person really develops. But we all need to start somewhere and starting with the grossest sheath (i.e. the physical) is as good a place to start as anywhere. With time your practice will become more introverted and you will begin to explore the deeper layers of your being.
10. Is it possible to attend classes on a 'drop-in' basis?
I do not offer many drop-in places as I have found that students cannot build up a regular practice or reap the benefits of yoga when they attend on a drop-in basis because they do not attend classes frequently enough. However, having said that I do like to be able to support people in their yoga practice, particularly if they have a life style which means drop-in is the only way they can come. So per class I have about two or three drop-in places.
Please see our Terms and Conditions for more details about drop-in places.
11. What happens if I miss a class?
Don't worry, as part of Agreement 1 and 2 you can make that class up in one of our other evening classes, as long as there is space, so please contact us beforehand. See our Terms and Conditions for more details.
Finding the right yoga teacher for you...
What should I look for in a yoga teacher / class?
This is a very important question. These days there are many yoga teachers out there to choose from and there is currently no regulating body for the yoga industry so it is really down to individuals to find out whether the yoga teacher is suitably qualified and experienced. Things to look out for follow:
Does the teacher have a relevant qualification? How long did that qualification take to complete? The longer the qualification the more the teacher will have been able to really anchor their training and thereby gain a great depth and skill to their teaching.
Does the teacher undertake continuous professional development? Like any profession the yoga world is continuously developing and changing so keeping up to date is very important for any serious yoga teacher.
How much experience does the teacher have? Again, the longer a teacher has been practicing yoga the more likely you are to receive a higher quality of knowledge and experience.
Do not be afraid to ask these questions if it is not obvious from the website or flyer you are looking at. All the yoga teachers I know are proud of their qualifications and are more than happy to talk about their training and experience and also to provide you with copies of their certificates etc.
Once you have checked all of the above it is then important to try out a class to see if you connect with the yoga teacher, their style of teaching and the yoga style or styles being taught in the class. If this connection is made and all of the above criteria have been met then you are in for the most wonderful yogic journey!
What should I look for in a children's / teens or schools yoga teacher?
The points made above also apply but I would add the following:
- Check that the teacher has a relevant qualification to teach yoga to children;
- Check that the teacher has an up-to-date Enhanced DBS Check;
- Check that the teacher has First Aid Training;
- Check that the teacher has had experience of teaching yoga to children;
- You could also check with the schools the yoga teacher already works in.