If you've tried yoga before then you are probably already aware of most of the answers given here, If that's the case then feel free to read on, but if you just want to book on to a Hatha yoga class with us - online or in person, then click here.
What is yoga?
Yoga was originally developed thousands of years ago to help practitioners prepare for meditation, to give them the ability to sit still for hours at a time without being distracted by acheing muscles, etc.**
It is not a religion.
Whilst some religions practise(d) yoga, yoga itself is an evolving concept. Whilst the underlying principle remains, the western concept of yoga has come to see it more as a form of exercise. (with extra benefits)
Whilst purists may see this as a bad thing, it actually keeps it alive in one form or another. There are now many more types of yoga, you may have heard of , Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Hot yoga, Kundalini, kilted yoga (yes, that is a thing) .... there are lots, it may be that you start with one and drift to another. It may be you try them all and still can't really decide upon 'a favourite'.
** this is a really short answer! There are many thousands of books on yoga and there are also relgious documentation referencing yoga, once you start yoga you may decide to just view it as exercise to be performed regularly - but you would be really selling it short and doing yourself a disservice if not being mindful and taking the movement, the breath and the mind into account whilst practising.
You may become so engrossed in this philosophical debate that you start to read the texts and the books and form your own opinion :)
What are the extra benefits of yoga?
Yoga can help with strength, flexibility and mobility. All good.
However, in our Hatha yoga practice we start with grounding - bringing yourself ' into the moment'. You may have heard one of the buzzwords in the fitness industry over the last few years, 'mindfulness' - that is exactly what your grounding is helping you get started with.
We work through asanas (postures) whilst tying the movement to the breath, we practise different breathing techniques and we end with relaxation or meditation.
Take any exercise class, people are often interested in 'really feeling like they worked out", they want to 'feel the burn' or 'get a sweat on' to feel ike they 'burned calories'. Great if that's what you want, but depending on the type of yoga you practise you can feel the burn and be left feeling like you really worked out, but the difference is you will do it mindfully. You tie the movement to the breath, you think about what you are doing, how you are doing it, how could you improve on it. You become much more attuned to your body. All this whilst not just getting the benefits of exercise but also getting the added benefits of self-awareness, improved coordination, improved posture, improved self-confidence and taking the time to practice relaxation too less stress.
I'm not flexible so I can't do yoga..?
You are so wrong! I have two lots of spinal damage, but since starting to practise yoga I can feel so many benefits. Physical and mental
It is adaptable, it can be gentle or it can be much more strenous.
Some people may have limiting physical conditions to the point that they may need to do more chair-based yoga - but everyone can benefit from yoga!
The more you do, the more benefits you will feel and see.
I'm too old for that...
Why? Who made a law that you can do yoga over a certain age?
What age was it then?
I was 49 years old when I took up yoga (I wish I'd started years earlier). I have classes were people are nearly 90 years old, they would put many people 60 or 70 years younger to shame when it comes to mobility, flexibility and strength.
What I will say is that everyone I have met that didn't start at a young age, wishes they had,
If you have any doubts, not just because of your age, but due to any medical conditions or illnesses, then speak to your doctor and see what they advise. You can also always contact the yoga teacher and ask for their opinion.
As with any form or exercise, if your condition (health) has changed then always make the teacher aware before the class, not during (unless it changed dueing the class) and definitely not afterwards.
You should also listen to your own body, don't try to force anything and if something feels too much then either ease off or stop - you can always join back in when you feel up to it. Let the teacher know if things are getting too much or you are having any problems.
What equipment do I need?
Usually if you are attending a class in person then we will have some spare equipment you can use, but if it's an online class then ideally a mat, yoga bricks or blocks, a yoga strap, extra layers (bearing in mind yoga is normally performed in bare feet, so 'extra layers might just mean you want to put socks on, or a jumper, blanket, etc.) for the relaxation.
Loose fitting clothing that will allow you to move and keep you covered during the postures (normal gym kit usually works just fine).
Some water for hydration.
A towel to wipe any sweat (or spilled water)
If you've never tried it before then really you need to bring an open mind. If you've already decided you're not going to enjoy the session, then you're probably right.
Is it worth it?
Only you can decide. But if you don't try then you'll never know. :)
If you have any questions then feel free to contact us