I've never done yoga what should i expect?

Yoga usually follows a pattern. My classes are in the style of Hatha which is a slower flowing type - although we do do faster flows. My yoga classes always follow this sequence: Opening meditation in Savasana, here we set our intention and theme for the class Mobility - this helps to warm up our joints, muscles and synovial fluid to prevent injury and get a bit warmer Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), this is a flow where we repeat up to 6 times. Main Sequence; here is where we focus on a few asanas/poses. Pranyama, mudra or mantra; breath work, holding mudra (hand positions) or using silent or verbal mantras Meditation; this is always guided meditation and follows the theme of the class, and is designed to imprint confidence boosting beliefs. The are all written by myself to meet the theme of the class. Words of Wisdom: these are chosen to fit in with the class and are always a nice ending. There you have it, really nothing scary!

I'm not flexible!

It doesn't matter! Yoga is not about flexibilty or about some of the postions you see to show yoga off. When we start nobody is flexible, but yoga is designed to be progressive and strengthening - so you might not start off any where near your toes in a foward fold but after a few weeks you will see such an improvement. At the heart of yoga, it is what each posture teaches us. For example, the plank which is my least favourite posture is one i really work on beacuse it symbolises balance, will power and confidence. Or the headstand symbolises trust in yourself - even savasana symbolises surrender. So every posture represents something we can improve in our life. Never let flexibility put you off, a good teacher will always tell you that isn't the point.

Is Yoga serious and full of chanting?

No! Well, I can't talk about all classes because some are run like that. But, to me Yoga is a part of life, and life isn't always serious - in fact we often learn more when we are having fun and just enjoying the experience. My classes tend to be light-hearted, there really is no such thing as yoga being done wrong. We all wobble, topple and fall and that is perfectly normal. Chanting, is a specific type of meditation called a mantra, and occassionally I do include this in my class, but only when I feel people are ready to do it - and believe me it is more fun than it sounds.

I can't see a question I want to ask?

Please, please ask me - email me, text, call or DM me and ask. If you've thought it someone else will have been looking for it too. I want people to fall in love with yoga and know as much as they can about it, and this page is full of what people have asked me. It doesn't even matter if you are in my country or not!! I am more than happy to answer any questions you have, to the very best of my ability. Natalie x

Common words used in Yoga...

Dristi - where you look Hold for x number of breaths: each posture is held for a breath 8 breaths is roughly 30 seconds Tadasana: Mountain pose (standing tall - the foundation) Pranyama: A specific type of mindful breathign Savasana: Corpse Pose, lying prone on the mat - typically used in meditation Meditation: guided and unguided where you still your body and quiet the mind and just allow yourself to rejuvenate from the practice. The prefect time for refletion.

I don't have a mat!

It doesn't matter. I have a number of mats that everyone is more than welcome to use. I also have blankets for the cold winter months for the ending meditation, I have blocks to enhance your practice in some of the sequences and I also have straps.

What do i need to wear?

You need to wear something that you can easily move around in, doesn't restrict your leg movements or upper body movements and that you feel confident and comfortable in, any gym wear, hareem pants, leggings etc. You also will be required to have bare feet, so if you have a varucca please cover it with an appropriate dressing (just in case) or yoga socks. Socks and shoes effect your balance and the connection with the ground, that is the reason we are bare foot.

Who can't do yoga?

Anyone can do yoga, but I would strongly advise for the classes I currently run you do need to be mobile to a degree and be able to get up and down off the floor competently (for your own safety)

Is yoga a religion?

This very much depends on how you practice yoga...if you are Hindu, janist or buddist then yoga is an aspect of your religion; if you are not any of these religions then yoga is not a religion. In the west there are two predominant takes on yoga practice; one is that it is a form of exercise for the body like running for example and then the other aspect is more holistic where your practice is influenced by a spiritual all aspect practice where your mind, body and soul are given attention through exercise, meditation and spiritually practicing love for yourself. The short answer is, No - unless you are one of the above religions. As for my classes, I embrace the holistic and non-religion spirituality based yoga.

Do I have to be experienced or really good at yoga?

I get this a lot...Some classes are fast, advanced and involve some really difficult poses. That's not what you'll find with me, I teach the type of yoga I love to do and that is slow. Having done faster yoga I find that the speed didn't give me chance to get my brain into gear and my technique was poor and I hurt myself. So, I don't teach that style and I love to teach beginners and see you develop. In my classes you will learn how to do the asanas (postures) with anatomically correct technique to make you strong, flexible and supple, you will hold each posture for up to 15 breaths (eventually) and you will progress to do postures that you originally thought impossible for you and you will get to learn flows and asanas that you can do on your own, should you wish to do so.

What if I just can't do a move because it's too advanced, painful wrists, old injury or pregnant?

There will always be asanas that some people just find really difficult or can't do...a classic example is the full lotus (crossed legs with feet on top of thighs) no matter how much i practice my hips just don't align to enable me to do this comfortably so I modify it. Every single posture in yoga can be modified so that you can do that asana in time; it is not a race it is a progression. There are some moves like Cobra that if you're pregnant you shouldn't do - but you can do cat/cow. The main thing is that if a posture is out of reach, at the moment, it doesn't mean you've failed it means you're progressing like us all.

A words about wrists...

Yoga relies heavily on your wrists. If you have weak wrists, like I have, you will find that yoga will strengthen them. But, if you can but wrist supports that can really help align your wrists and offer additional support. I got some from Amazon for £2.99 and got them a few days later.

I've been to yoga classes before but found them intimidating...

Even though I love yoga, I have to admit there are some people who practice yoga that I find intimidaing and competitve...and I teach it, so if I feel like that it is normal for you to feel it. The heart of yoga is about peace within yourself, it isn't about how flexible or amazing you are. Not everyone has this belief though and if your new their confidence can be off putting. In these cases yoga is status and I see it all the time in gyms. I don't think I am intimidating and I know that the people that come to my classes aren't, I hope and aim to be normal - like you.

Yoga seems so competitive...

People can be competitive about everything and anything; but at the heart of yoga it is about a solitary practice and what you learn about you and life when you practice it. All over social media there are pictures of amazing asanas being performed; that isn't really yoga that is yoga sales. I am not a competitive person and my classes are focused on your development - some weeks all people are great and other weeks all people have tightness; swings and roundabout like life! Once you get onto your mat and begin to focus on your breath and holding the asana everybody and everything else fades away...even if you fall over.

I can't touch my toes, do a headstand or get my legs around my neck!

Yet... At the beginning of yoga practice very few people are flexible, modern life and demands robs us of our fluidity and flexibility. With time, practice and care this flexibility and fluidity returns so that if you really wanted to as you build up your internal and external muscular and skeletal strength you too could do a handstand, arm balance or head stand.

What is a prop? And isn't it weak to use one?

A prop is exactly as it sounds something that is designed to assist one in a yoga pose. They can be straps, blocks, walls, chairs, bolster, cusions ... and it is never weak to use a prop to get the correct posture. Props will help everyone get to the advanced stage of yoga, and are amazing when we do restorative work such as the fish or supported bridge; a prop is not a sign of weakness and can be good fun - Tree pose balancing a block on your head or warrior...they change how the pose feels.

What do you mean by "Honour your body"

When I first came across this saying it resonated with me, it got me thinking how often do I actually honour myself? To honour my body (to me) means that I am not being kind nor harsh; I don't force myself into an asana too far so that I hurt myself; but neither do I hold myself in my safe comfort zone. It is about switching off my ego that tells me I can't do something and listen to my muscles that will tell me if I actually can or not. It is about thinking of myself as something of value and cherish; rather than something to take for granted.

Age Limits? Younger and Older?

Anyone can come to my yoga classes; but as a rule of thumb I would suggest that the lower age limit is 10 years old and upper is dependant on your physicality...if you can get up and down off the floor unassisted, are mobile and have a basic level of fitness then you are welcome (and this is purely down to your safety)

How would I describe yoga?

This is a hard one!! The way I teach yoga isn't so much about exercise, I like to think I take a more Eastern philosophy. At the core of yoga there is the physical exercise; and believe me you will be aware that you are having a workout! and this is a major part of Yoga, but each part of the yoga sequence has been put together when i design the class to link and work certain elements that are energetic or symbolic e.g. chakras. This physical aspect I view as releasing tension and trapped energy/emotions. I believe that is why Yoga makes us feel good. Yoga is also a progressive and strength building exercise. Then I see that the asanas have a symbolic meaning; the plank is a balance but helps us develop will-power and stability in thinking. Yoga brings a peace and serenity to you, through the meditation and breath work. It drowns out the noise of life - even if it is just for an hour. Finally, yoga is about taking time to do something for yourself and have those goals to reach.

Hands on correction?

There is nothing worse than someone coming up to you when you can't see them and having them shove you into down face dog, certainly as a beginner this can be intimidating. Personally, I don't like it all that much when someone shoves me into a position, I can't feel how I should have got there, so find it difficult to recreate the pose; this was the case with the puppy pose years ago and it really hurt my neck. With that in mind, I can see when people aren't getting a pose and need prompts so I either do the asana so people can see how it should look or I describe the pose in more detail to get them there. I find 9 out of 10 times this works. However, I do do hands on correction in these circumstances: if you are happy with me doing so; if you are putting yourself at risk of injury; if it is a tricky pose and you need a tweak to get there or if it is in savasana.

Is yoga easy?

The straight answer is ... No, it isn't what I would call easy. But, it isn't impossible either. It is do-able and achievable, but you are gaining strength and flexibility so you are working. Yoga is progressive, so you will always be making achievements.