Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I buy a yoga mat/strap/block
I usually have a few mats in stock that are available for students to purchase at a small discount from the list price. It is also useful to have at least one block and a strap, I usually carry a few of these too. I sometime use rolled blankets in class too, although I don't normally carry a stock of these so you might wish to bring your own - it's nice to have for the relaxation. A bath towel works nicely too.
Alternatively, you can buy these and many other yoga goodies from yogamatters.com or ruthwhiteyoga.com.
I'm pregnant. Can I still do yoga?
I recommend you avoid physical yoga practices for the first 3 months of pregnancy. During this period of maximum growth your body is changing rapidly and you need to let go of your physical practice and give your body time to adjust. You can of course still practice relaxation techniques such as yoga nidra and meditation and 3 part yogic breathing.
If you choose to return to practice after the first 15 weeks be gentle with yourself, moving softly and fluidly. Allow space for the baby to grow, rather than squashing the baby – avoid forward folds and abdominal exercises (such as crunches). Lower back pain is a common problem in pregnancy – so you don’t make it worse, avoid deep back bends. Avoid full inversions (headstand, shoulder stand). Step rather than jump (eg: in sun salutations). Stop before it gets uncomfortable. Breathe for two - take long breaths at your own speed. Don’t hold your breath. Have a small snack before class if you like to keep your blood sugar levels up. Use props whenever it feels appropriate. After 30 weeks avoid deep unsupported squats (use a chair). Lie on your left side rather than your back for relaxation.
I'm new to yoga and worried I'm not fit or flexible enough
One of things I love most about yoga is that it's not a competitive sport. So you don't need to worry about what anyone else is doing. I have so many different people in my classes of all ages, shapes and sizes, and different levels of fitness and flexibility. One of my teachers, the amazing Matthew Sanford, is in a wheelchair and inspired by his work at Mind Body Solutions, I qualified to work with people with disabilities. We all do yoga in the way that is most beautiful for us. So call to find out the most suitable class for you. 07767 268408.
Remember that yoga is a physical practice, as well as a relaxing one so, as with any physical activity, there is always a small risk of injury. "Every yoga pose is bad for somebody. Everyone’s anatomy and history are unique, and this means that each pose affects each person differently. Usually the difference is trivial, but it can sometimes be significant and harmful. Do not become fixated on “mastering a pose.” The poses are meant to be therapeutic, not to challenge your pride. Some poses may be uncomfortable but result in a healthy response, but other poses might just be bad for you.” ~ Paul Grilley.
Where did you train?
I originally trained with Yoga London, completing a Yoga Alliance accredited 200 hour teacher training. Rather than take an intensive course, I chose to train over a year to really deepen my understanding and my practice. I continued my training with Trimurti Yoga in India, to bring me up to the 500 hours of training, I continue to take classes to develop my practice and my teaching. I have also qualified to work with people with disabilities through Mind Body Connections Europe . I am qualified to teach pregnancy yoga through Bliss Baby Yoga. Yoga is a lifetime's quest.
What about the spiritual side?
First of all, it's important to know that yoga is not a religion and by practicing yoga you won't be joining any kind of cult! I don't preach or worship in any of my classes.
Should you choose to explore it, there is a philosophy - a set of common sense principles (called yamas and niyamas) to help us deal with everyday life. Here is my very brief interpretation. In essence – first be kind to yourself – not in a materialistic or selfish way, but in the sense of looking after and developing your body and mind, because they have got to last a long time, and to make the best use of them you can. Think positively, and don’t be afraid of challenges or hard work – they help us grow and achieve. Be moderate and restrained in thought, word and action, telling the truth but in a kind and thoughtful way.
If we are kind ourselves, then it will be easier to do the second part – be kind to the rest of the world. Yoga tells us to do no harm – through words or actions, not to steal or be greedy, to be content with what we have and to be self-controlled.
Living this philosophy helps us to connect to our deepest, most perfect self – which is always there but often hidden.