Frequently Asked Questions about the yoga classes I teach

1. Do I need a yoga mat?
Not necessarily. You can do yoga on a rug or towel on the floor. If you’re on a slippy floor (wooden, tiles etc) a rug or towel may slip so a yoga mat may be more appropriate.

You certainly do not need a fancy or expensive yoga mat. In the UK you do not need to pay more than £15 for a mat, if you do want to buy one.

2. Can I eat before the class?
It’s best not to eat for at least two hours before the class. Some of the postures involve twists, and if you have a full tummy you’ll soon feel it! Do bring some water for after the class though. If you are pregnant you are advised to have a little something before coming, such as a banana or piece of toast.

3. Do I need to wear special clothing?
No. You should wear loose comfortable clothing, with a warm layer and socks for the cooler relaxation part of the class. Some people like to bring a blanket or shawl for the final relaxation. You do not need fancy yoga leggings, or other trendy or fashion items. You can do online yoga in your pyjamas if you wish.

4. Can anyone do yoga?
Yes. Yoga is suitable for anyone. For adults and the elderly yoga can help keep the body fit, supple and relieve stress. In fact, the stiffer you are the better for you yoga will be. Yoga is also possible during pregnancy, although certain postures are not advisable, and you should always inform me if you are pregnant, or have recently had a baby. There is no competition element in yoga so it doesn’t matter whether you can reach your toes or not, it’s the getting there that’s important.

5. Is yoga good for me?
Yes! Yoga is an excellent way of relieving stress, improving your flexibility and strength, toning muscles, relaxing, learning how to breath deeply and calmly, keeping joints supple, improving your focus or concentration, improving circulation and  improving posture.

Yoga also has an important deeper element connected to concepts of liberation and unity for the spirit/soul. Yoga operates on many levels.

6. Isn’t it all just lying down or putting your legs behind your head?
No! There are some postures that develop impressive skills such as putting your feet behind your head, but these are advanced postures. A typical class will include some standing postures, some seated postures, some twists, forward bends and back stretches, time spent breathing, and of course, some relaxation, often lying down.

7. Why do I need to learn about breathing?
Breathing is something which we tend to take for granted. Often we breathe very shallowly and do not utilise all the lung space. Being able to breathe more deeply and slowly is beneficial for relieving stress and calming the nervous system. Many people have also lost the pattern of beneficial breathing, whereby the abdomen rises on the inhale and deflates on the exhale – watch a cat, dog or baby sleeping and this is what they do. Learning yogic breathing can help restore beneficial breathing, breathing many health benefits. Ancient yogis also believed that everybody had a finite number of breathes in their body – the longer and slower you can breathe, the longer you’ll live. Read more about the importance of the breath here.

8. What if I have a medical condition or an injury?
Depending upon the nature of the injury or medical condition, yoga is an ideal form of exercise. It is low impact, gentle, yet keeps the body moving in subtle ways. Yoga can be beneficial for those suffering from back pain, arthritis or high blood pressure. It is important to inform me of any injury or medical condition you have as some postures may be inadvisable.

9. I want to practise some yoga at home but never know what to do. Can you help?
Yes, you can take a look at my sample routines handouts which you can download for free from Google Drive or watch and follow some of my yoga videos on YouTube. See also my blog post on establishing a home practice. There are also videos on free and paid for subscription websites – I can recommend some if you woud like.

10. Why aren’t you teaching on Zoom with camera sharing?
Zoom, and most other video conference/meeting software applications require an upload internet speed of 8Mbps minimum for the camera sharing. The more participants (and cameras) the greater the requirements. Although I have upgraded my internet to fibre broadband, due to my location, I cannot host yoga classes on Zoom with camera sharing.

My online yoga classes are provided through YouTube Live, available for doing live with me, or later at your convenience. You don’t share your camera using this method, which is a bonus for some people anyway.

Yoga pose Baddha Utthita Parsvakonasana
Alyson in Baddha Utthita Parsvakonasana