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 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.
Although some religions practise(d) yoga, yoga itself, particularly in the west, 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 , Hatha, 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 religious 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 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 many benefits, both 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. Mobility/flexibility is nothing like weight training.
- With weight training you can see improvements (e.g. bigger muscles) quickly (if you know what you are doing or use a good PT/Coach), but when you stop you will also lose those benefits fairly quickly.
- With mobility training it can take longer to see improvements (e.g. greater range of motion, but they will last much longer too. (As an example think: Do you want to still be able to tie your won shoe laces when you are much older, or have someone else do it for you because you can't bend forward enough to do it?)
I'm too old for that...
Why? Who made a law that you can't do yoga after a certain age?
What age was it then? WHy has no one told me?
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 me and ask for an opinion, but if it's not a simple answer then I will defer to medical opinion.
As with any form of exercise, if your condition (health) has changed then always make the teacher aware before the class, not during (unless it changed during 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.
It's just for girls isn't it?
Nope. Yoga is defintely not 'just for girls'. I am male. Don't worry about feeling self-conscious, about being 'useless' at the poses or about falling asleep during relaxation. If you've never tried yoga just come with an open mind.
Saying yoga is for girls makes as much sense as saying:
"I don't like vegetables."
"I can't do that."
You may have made comments like this. Vegetables when you were a child and "I can't do that", at any time in your life. But you know what. You actually do eat (at least some) vegetables. When you actually try to do tht something you said you couldn't do - it turns out you usually can!
Be open-minded and everything is immediately easier. It may seem impossible or really hard, but you will get easier if you keep trying. If you don't try then you'll never know.
Will I have to do chanting or burn incense?
At Adapting Fitness we want you to benefit from the science of yoga, we're all about fitness, we work on your mind and body, we don't preach what you should believe or do in the way of spirituality, religion or diet. (you don't have to be vegan or never wash your hair or wear beads!)
Our yoga classes are non-religous and there is no meditation, chanting or burning incense.
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 (yoga) 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, or cover yourself with a blanket during the relaxation.
Don't feel you need to rush out and buy. lot of expensive yoga equipment if you have never tried yoga before. If you're doing an online class then we can offer alternatives (e.g. instead of a yoga strap use a belt). Props really help, but see if you want to get into yoga before you buy a load of equipment.
Loose fitting clothing that will allow you to move and keep you covered during the postures (normal gym kit usually works just fine). Tight fitting is an option, but not so tight that it restricts movement.
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.
Are online classes any good?
The format of each class doesn't change between 'normal' and 'online' classes.
For online classes, I need to be able to see you (camera on your smartphone, tablet, computer, etc). in the same way I would be watching over you during a class to check you aren't doing anything dangerously and trying to help you get maximum benefit in the poses.
In 'normal' classes the teacher can offer to make adjustments - they need to touch you, some people don't like that idea. With an online class hands-on adjustments are not possible. All adjustments are verbal.
You'll need a device that can connect to the internet (Zoom meetings) and has audio and video capability.
Is it true that yoga can be used to help:
- weight loss ✅
- tone and strengthen ✅
- improve mobility ✅
- anxiety ✅
- Improve cardio/respiriratory health ✅
- bad back. ✅
- Improve athletic performance. ✅
Is it worth it?
Only you can decide. But if you don't try then you'll never know.
First yoga class free! Just ensure you complete the questionnaire before the class.