Thinking of starting yoga? Our tips & answers to some FAQ
If you’ve never been to a yoga class before, attending your first session can feel daunting. Here are some tips on what to expect and how best to get started on your yoga journey.
What is yoga?
Yoga is a practice which combines asana (physical postures), pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation with a focus on building strength and flexibility in the body and promoting harmonious wellbeing in the mind.
Originating in India approximately 5000 years ago, yoga has become an incredibly popular pastime in the west over the last decade, thanks to its holistic mind/body approach to health and wellness.
What are the benefits of a yoga practice?
Amongst other things yoga has been found to:
- Increase strength and stamina
- Increase mobility and flexibility
- Improve posture and spinal health
- Improve circulation, respiration and immunity
- Reduce stress and promote relaxation
- Improve focus and attention
- Improve mood, energy levels and all-round wellness
What can I expect from my first yoga class?
Our ‘Gentle Yoga’ classes are suitable for beginner students and offer an introduction to the fundamentals of a yoga practice. You will be guided through a series of seated, standing and supine movements, often synchronised with the breath.
Most classes are a combination of strengthening, stretching and relaxation exercises. A few examples of poses you might encounter in a Gentle Yoga class include Downward Facing Dog, Cobra Pose, High Plank, Warrior II, Bridge Pose, Child’s Pose and Corpse Pose.
Do I need to bring a yoga mat?
You are welcome to bring your own mat with you, but otherwise we provide all the equipment you need to get started including yoga mats and ‘props’ like foam bricks, blocks and straps.
What should I wear?
All you need to do is wear comfortable clothes which you feel confident moving in. Perhaps avoid anything too overly baggy as you may find that super-loose clothes ride up and get in the way once you start moving.
Is it safe to eat before a yoga class?
We recommend you avoid heavy foods or substantial meals for the 1.5 / 2 hours leading up to your class. However, if you’re hungry a light snack such as a smoothie, handful of nuts or dates, or a banana is fine.
Some Common Myths About Yoga Dispelled
Do I need to be flexible to do a yoga class?
Absolutely not. Yoga helps to increase flexibility and mobility so if you feel yourself to be an ‘inflexible’ person then even more reason to do it!
Is yoga is only for young people?
No! Yoga is for people of all ages, young and old. There are many yogis that continue to practice yoga well into their 70s and even beyond. If you are concerned about being unable to do some of the movements, look for a gentle yoga class or let the teacher know about your situation beforehand so that they can offer modifications.
Do only women do yoga?
Yoga provides the same health benefits whether you are male or female. Our classes are mixed but yoga is becoming increasingly popular among men.
Is yoga a religion?
Because of its ancient Indian roots and ties to Hinduism, yoga often gets misidentified as a religion. However, it is actually a lot more like a science (in India, yoga is often thought of as a science of Self-Realisation).
Many people start doing yoga in order to get fitter, stronger and more flexible but once in the practice discover the vast opportunities to delve deeper into the philosophical and spiritual elements of the practice.
For some, however, the focus remains on increasing and maintaining strength, flexibility and physical wellness. Both are of wonderful value and we encourage students to find what works best for them.
What is the best way to begin my yoga journey at Embody Wellness?
Beginner Level Classes
Embody also offers Beginners Yoga Courses which run consecutively for five weeks and are held on Thursday evenings between 7:45pm and 9pm. Please check our workshops page for details and for dates of the next course.
If you find the idea of joining a group class as a complete beginner intimidating or if you have a specific injury or medical condition that will benefit from closer observation by a teacher, then booking just one or two private sessions can help give you the confidence and knowledge to attend group sessions. Please see our One-to-One page or speak to reception for further details.
We hope that helps! If you have any questions at all about joining our yoga classes or any of our services please call reception on 020 7099 0048 or drop in for a herbal tea and a chat with one of our friendly staff.
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