What is hatha yoga?
Hatha yoga is a form of yoga that includes the practice of asanas (yoga postures) with pranayama (breathing exercises) to help bring a sense of balance and peace to both body and mind.
What do I need to bring to class?
Just yourself and a willingness to take part. You will need to wear comfortable, loose clothing. Spare yoga mats are available, but if you have your own, bring it along. Yoga is normally practised in bare feet, but if you feel more comfortable in socks, ones that won’t slip are best. You can bring along a drink too if you like to keep hydrated. Finally, you might also like to bring along your own blanket for relaxation at the end – or at least something warm to wrap up in (though spare blankets are also usually available).
Do I need to be fit/flexible to attend?
No, people with any level of fitness can do yoga. However, regular yoga practice is likely to improve both fitness and flexibility. Yoga classes aren’t like exercise regimes where you might be constantly trying to push yourself further. In yoga, nothing is mandatory and ‘no pain, no gain’ doesn’t feature. Instead, you rely on your innate body wisdom to take any pose as far as is comfortable and right for you and let time, gravity and practice help develop and improve.
Is yoga a religion or cult?
No, yoga isn’t a religion or cult – its just an ancient tradition of combining movement with the breath to help us improve our lives.
Do I need to learn sanskrit to do yoga?
No, though yoga teachers may refer to yoga poses and terms using both sanskrit names and english ones, the use of sanskrit isn’t mandatory. However, using sanskrit names for poses is useful for those wanting to go further as the same terms are used throughout the world and in most books on yoga.
How do I know which type of yoga is right for me?
When starting out, it can seem very daunting – there seem to be so many different types of yoga (hatha, ashtanga, vinyasa, bikram …) – so which should you choose. If you are thinking of starting, just find a class that is local to you and give them a ring or drop them an email and ask for more information. Come along to a class, and it if doesn’t suit you, discuss this with the teacher who might be able to suggest a more active or relaxed type of yoga more suited to your current needs.
Other sources of information