If you're new to yoga or thinking about starting out, you probably have questions…you may even have concerns about whether yoga is right for you. These questions and concerns might even be holding you back from embarking on your yoga journey. Here, I’ve answered the questions I find that I am asked most frequently by new yogis:
1) Do I need to be flexible?
I've lost count of the number of people who've said to me, “I'm not flexible enough to do yoga.” If you're worried about not being flexible then you are in the right place - because increased flexibility is just one of the many benefits of yoga. A regular yoga practice will help you gain greater range of motion. You MUST be patient with yourself though. Flexibility can’t be rushed so be sure to take things at your own pace. Remember, there's much more to yoga than how flexible you are…your yoga practice will teach you about finding balance, strength and a connection between your body and mind, which can all be achieved even if you can't touch your toes.
2) What should I wear?
Whatever you feel comfortable in! There's no need to invest in expensive gear...just wear something you can move easily in, Layers are good for when you get warm during class and then cool down during relaxation.
3) When should I eat?
I recommend eating 1 ½ – 2 hrs before a class....that way you've got plenty of energy but are not feeling too full for class. If the timings are tricky and you find yourself feeling hungry right before class, a snack bar or piece of fruit can give you a little boost to get you through.
4) How often do I need to do it?
So much of yoga is about listening to your body and doing what feels right, and this is the same when it comes to how frequently to practice. Whether you practice for an hour a day or once a week, make it a regular thing and you'll quickly start to feel the benefits, both physically and emotionally. Of course, as with anything, the more you practice the faster you'll experience the benefits so aim for at least once or twice a week to start.
5) Do I need to buy my own yoga mat and other equipment?
The studio is equipped with everything you’ll need, including mats and blocks, so there’s no need to invest in your own until you develop a regular practice. Bring a drink in case you get thirsty though.
6) What if I can't remember the names of the poses?
Don't worry, there's no test! The teacher will explain all the poses to you as you practice and soon enough, you’ll remember more then you think.
7) Will yoga help me to lose weight / tone up?
Yoga will help you feel better in every way...physically, mentally, emotionally. It will make you more aware of your body. Yes, it has the power to make you stronger, more flexible and more toned. But much more than that. Discovering yoga will give you the tools to improve your mental well-being, to reduce stress and to simply become more aware and in the moment.
When I found yoga I started to care more about my body. Not just what it looked like, but how it FELT. I could see my body changing through yoga, but most importantly, yoga taught me to feel better. And it can do the same for you!
8) I'm worried I don't have a “yoga body” - will I feel self-conscious in class?
Do you have a body? Good. Then go to yoga. There, you have a yoga body. Yogis come in all shapes and sizes. Everyone is welcome.
9) I've tried yoga before and didn't like the class. Does this mean yoga isn't for me?
The first yoga class I ever went to I was really, really bored. So, I left and forgot all about yoga thinking it wasn't for me. Years later I tried another class and I liked it...but it still wasn't going to help me tone, which was my motivation for starting yoga. So I tried another class with the same teacher and it was just what I was after. The perfect mix of movement, instruction and me time. Just because you didn't like one yoga class, teacher, DVD you tried, it doesn't mean that yoga isn't for you. Try again. Find another class, teacher, studio, DVD etc. It's worth it, I promise!
10) Can I do yoga even if I'm not spiritual?
You'll find there are many different views on this and plenty of people will tell you that you can't have yoga without the spiritual element. I'm a big believer in connecting the body and mind through yoga but wouldn't describe any of my classes as very spiritual. It's about cultivating your own yoga practice that suits you...if you're purely looking for a physical experience then it can be just that. But if you want to combine it with a more emotional journey then you will also find what you're searching for through yoga.