So if you are still thinking about trying yoga for yourself, here are some answers to the most common questions I hear from new students…
I’m not flexible enough to do yoga!
It’s true that yoga does help you to develop flexibility; the more you practise, the more your body will open up and allow you to stretch further. But, and here’s the important part, you don’t need to be flexible before you start. Yoga is much more than trying to twist yourself into a pretzel. Indeed it’s not about that at all. The aim of yoga is to help connect body, breath and mind and find a state of mental and physical spaciousness, peace and wellbeing.
Is it just for women?
No! In fact in India it used to be mainly men who practised. Today the majority of students are women, but this is changing. More and more men, including professional sportsmen and athletes are appreciating the benefits yoga can bring, not just to their sport, but other areas of their lives. Mindfulness, awareness of the breath, flexibility of mind as well as body are just some of the benefits.
I’m too tired
Yoga is a balancing practice. It has the amazing effect of energising the body, helping you feel vibrant and physically rejuvenated, while calming the mind. So if you come feeling wired, it can help you relax. If you are feeling lethargic, it can gently reinvigorate you. Plus you get to lie on the floor in Savasana at the end for the final relaxation. Savasana will help revive you faster and far better than a catnap and will help you sleep better afterwards. Don’t just take my word for it.
I don’t have time
Having time is often subjective. Its availability shifts with our changing priorities. If you are interested in yoga but think you don’t have time, try it once, if it clicks for you, you will be able to make time. And you never know, a regular practise may help you feel more focussed and able to use your time more effectively. So yoga may actually help you make time…
I don’t like chanting!
Personally I love chanting. I love India and have spent a lot of time travelling and studying yoga there, but when I first heard kirtan, or devotional chanting, I wasn’t sure what to make of it either and appreciate it can be off-putting to some students. I do chant ‘Om’ to close my classes, followed by ‘Shanti, Shanti, Shanti’ which means peace. Om is a beautiful mantra, or sound vibration. Yogis say that it is the sound of the universe, or of creation and some say that its vibration is the same as nature. Symbolically (and you may know the symbol, see right), it represents the three qualities of divine energy: creation, preservation and liberation. And that’s why we chant it in yoga. But if you are not into the history and philosophy, that’s fine. There are physiological reasons for chanting Om too. You may know that singing relaxes you, through the breath, long exhalations and by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, chanting has the same effect. Chanting Om helps us to connect, slows down the nervous system and calms the mind. Having said that you don’t need to join in, all students are welcome to chant Om at the end of class or to simply sit and listen, taking a moment to enjoy the state of relaxation before moving on with the rest of the day.
It’s too expensive
I believe that lack of money shouldn’t be a barrier to practising. If the class prices are too much, get in contact and we can come to an arrangement that works for you. Alternatively there are lots of free classes on the internet. Try YouTube for starters.
If you don’t like one class, try another. There are many different styles and teachers out there. One is bound to work for you. Try a few, see what you like and then stick with it.