Understanding Yoga

Are you interested in starting Yoga but not really sure what to expect? With so many styles of Yoga now being offered around the world it can be hard to know exactly what your letting yourself in for... Will you be expected to do headstands? Will there be chanting? Does it involve meditation and breathing exercises? How fit do you have to be? These are just some of the questions I'm frequently asked about Yoga classes. So lets take a quick look at the history of yoga and what you can expect in my classes.

Yoga has been around for thousands of years, originating in India it was much more than just a form of exercise but a way of life. It was defined as a union of body, mind and soul. The 'Asanas' or postures that we practice today were one part of an 8-fold system of living that, if followed rigorously, would lead to enlightenment and ultimate bliss. The postures themselves were designed to strengthen the body and mind in preparation for meditation and bring the energy of the body back into balance by mastering our breathing.

Modern Yoga however has diversified from these humble beginnings although if taught well should still cover the foundations of learning to calm the breathing, focus the mind and strengthen the body. Different classes will focus on different aspects of this so its always best to chat to the teacher before starting the class about which style they teach to make sure this matches yourexpectations and needs.

Some common Yoga styles you might come across are:

  • Hatha yoga – a simple, slow class of postures designed to bring the body into a balanced state

  • Vinyasa – a flowing sequence of poses with emphasis on breathing through the movements

  • Ashtanga – an intense and athletic ‘pure’ form of yoga postures

  • Hot yoga/Bikram yoga – done in a heated room up to 32 degrees C

  • Sivananda – slow, gentle and spiritual, focusing on 12 main poses, breathing, meditation, proper diet and mindfulness

I teach a combination of Hatha and Vinyasa yoga. The classes can be made harder or easier depending on the fitness of those attending although initially we will all be starting slowly to make sure we get the technique right!

In terms of fitness you'll need to be able to get on and off the floor safely, feel comfortable in kneeling or crossed leg positions and be able to take some weight through the hands. It doesn’t matter how flexible you are or how good (or bad) your balance is as all the exercises can be tailored. If you've got any specific health or injury concerns just drop me a message and I can chat through what we can do to help.

There will be some breathing techniques taught during the warm up and 5-10 minutes meditation at the end in my classes, however no chanting (much to the relief of anyone who's heard my singing voice!). The rest will be a flowing sequence of yoga poses and sun salutations where we will learnt to link our breathing with our movement, improve our flexibility, balance, strength and overall well-being.

If that sounds like it would suit you, contact me now to book in... classes begin 22nd May and spaces are filling up fast!