What is yoga? What should I wear? Is yoga right for me? Your questions are all normal curiosities when you first start out on the path of yoga, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Learning to fret less is one of the chief purposes of yoga (and especially of mindfulness), so let’s get these doubts out of the way with my Frequently Asked Questions. If you don’t find your answer here, please feel free to get in touch for a friendly chat – I’m always here to help.
Within a yoga class, you will commonly begin the session with breath awareness and a warm-up, before moving into a flow of poses and movements, and ending the session on meditation, breathwork or relaxation. For those looking to build flexibility, core strength and fitness, yoga is a brilliant low-impact workout - but yoga is so much more than an exercise regime!
To put it simply, yoga is a union of mind, body and spirit. It's a place of self-discovery on a journey of balance, stretching techniques, breathing, mindfulness, meditation, focusing on creating a personal connection with your own body. Through practice, you challenge yourself physically, but also gain the tools to work with your mind and emotions, recharge, and find calm in a busy, stressful world.
As a philosophy, yoga is a way of understanding, allowing and welcoming our bodies to be exactly as they are - with no need to self-criticise or compare your ability to others. Yoga offers something for everybody, so whether you want to build strength, destress, or get back in touch with yourself, your unique yoga journey awaits.
As a form of exercise, yoga is hard to beat in terms of accessibility and ease, and the physical benefits are plentiful. But we're not talking about being able to do headstands or hold your whole body weight on one hand! For all abilities, yoga is celebrated for its numerous health advantages, from helping you to build your flexibility, strength, and balance, to improving blood circulation, posture and cardiovascular health.
Physical benefits aside, yoga is much more than simply stretching and holding poses. By combining movement with mindfulness, meditation and breathing techniques, practicing yoga helps to align our minds and body, assisting with stress, depression, anxiety, body image, fatigue, productivity and confidence.
You'll never know until you give it a try, so why not come and join me for a live class or pre-recorded session!
From the portrayal of yoga in commercials, social media, magazines and pop culture, it's easy to think that yoga is just a wellness trend for people who look, dress and live a certain way, or who can bend their body into every possible position. At Feel Breathe Flow, I'm proud to be part of the movement to redefine yoga back to its origins, creating a safe space in which people can learn to love their bodies and reconnect with themselves. Yoga is for everybody, and regardless of your age, body size, gender, ability, ethnicity, or fitness level - you can do yoga!
Yoga can be practiced as often as you'd like or as feels comfortable - there is no one size fits all. Routine yoga practice is always recommended to maximise the benefits of yoga, but the frequency of practice, and the duration of individual sessions, depends on your personal preference and schedule. You may benefit from energising morning sessions and relaxing evening sessions, or you may prefer longer sessions on dedicated days of the week.
The best way to understand what kind of routine is best for you is to try a variety of sessions and practices and reflect upon which make you feel and function best. So, whether you'd like to do daily hour-long sessions or can only manage once a week or a few quick flows, do it and enjoy.
Unlike many other physical activities, yoga does not require any special equipment to get started. Whilst you might see experienced yogis sporting mats, blocks, bolsters, blankets, chairs and specialised clothing, in truth, all you need to do yoga is yourself - plus a stable internet connection and device to stream my classes from!
Whilst not mandatory, I would advise that you purchase a yoga mat, which can be top of the range for maximum performance or budget-friendly - available online for as little as £10. Yoga mats provide a stable and comfortable base for your practice, with a decent grip that cushions your joints, prevents slipping, helps you to hold poses, and experience yoga's true benefits. Using a yoga mat can also encourage you to get in the mood for yoga, creating a positive association in your mind that helps you to feel ready and eager to practice every time you pick up your mat.
Yoga is for everybody, and can be practiced by people of all ages and abilities, adaptable to diverse physical abilities and needs. Depending on your personal circumstances, you may find that certain movements and asanas (poses) don't work for you or feel right. But don't feel like you have to miss out - many yoga poses have different variations, often in the same shape but a different position.
In my experience, six years ago a knee injury meant I went from wanting to do every yoga pose, to wanting to be able to just sit with my legs crossed. I had to adapt my yoga practice, so I always teach yoga in a way that means it can be enjoyed by as many people as possible, whatever their situation might be.
For chronic conditions and injuries, I would advise that you also seek medical advice from your GP before starting your journey - not to get permission for trying yoga, but to better understand how to tailor the practice to accommodate your needs.
Yoga comes in all different shapes and sizes, and the wide array of options can feel intimidating to anyone new to yoga. Each style of yoga provides physical, emotional and spiritual benefits, but it's important to find the type of yoga that resonates with you and your needs.
I practice Vinyasa yoga, which is a dynamic and accessible form of yoga where poses are linked together in a "flow" to allow for breath and movement to work in unison. This fluidity helps us to let go of mental chatter in our busy minds and focus on the present moment, whether we are doing a mellow Vinyasa flow or strong power flow.
For your first yoga session, you’ll probably be worrying about what to wear, but it's not necessary to splash out on a whole new yoga wardrobe! All that is important is your comfort and mobility, so wear clothes you can move in with ease. If they're preventing you from getting into deep stretches or poses, are distracting you during your practice, or are too tight and affecting your breathing, they're working against you.
Stretchy and breathable clothes that are tighter-fitting but not restrictive are always a good choice, preventing your clothes getting tangled or bunching up as you move about, or tops from falling down over your face during certain poses.
Think leggings, yoga pants, capris, shorts, fitted joggers and cycling shorts on the bottom, paired with a slightly form-fitting top or vest, and either bare feet or grippy socks. If you have long hair you may wish to tie it up, and if you usually wear jewellery, you might find it easier to remove it during your session to ensure your safety, and to prevent any distracting jingling.
No matter your flexibility or fitness level, you can do yoga - all you need to do is show up! You won't be required to stand on your head, do the splits or touch your toes; yoga simply meets you wherever you are at in life.
In my safe, inclusive and fun yoga classes, every pose can be adapted to your abilities to prevent discomfort and injury. Together, we'll help you to stop focusing on what you can't do, as you learn to listen to your body, gain strength and flexibility, and build self-confidence that continues to stretch well beyond the mat.
On most Sundays at 11am, you can join me for an Online Namaste Flow on Zoom, which is a mellow 60-minute Vinyasa flow class to gently move your body, and a short meditation to calm your mind. On most Tuesdays at 5.30pm, my Online Power Flow classes on Zoom help to elevate your heart rate and deepen your mind-body connection.
All of my upcoming live sessions are listed on my Live Classes page, and if you can't attend the class itself, I record all of my live yoga classes so you can access them at your own convenience On Demand.
If you want to try yoga for the first time, or would like to see if my teaching style is right for you, you can get your first video for free.
Simply use the promo code TRYFREE when prompted on the check out page for any video, to reduce the cost to zero.
All meditations are free with promo code SELFCARE, or you can choose to make a donation to the chosen mental health charity.
I use the booking engine Momence, which allows you to join live Zoom classes, rent pre-recorded yoga and meditation videos, and to subscribe to access content wherever and whenever it’s convenient for you.
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