Do I need to be a member to come to a class?
Yorkshire Yoga is not a members’ club; we encourage any member of the community to come along and experience the benefits of yoga and the other activities we offer. You do not have to book online. There is a hard copy booking form which you can complete and post to us with a cheque made payable to Yorkshire Yoga or you can pay cash in the office.
What should I wear and bring to the session?
Wear comfortable, stretchable clothing. T-shirts and track suit bottoms are fine, but you might want something under your T-shirt that fits close to the body for the inverted postures. We work with bare feet, so please be able to remove your socks. If you have a yoga mat, please bring it, however, yoga mats and all other equipment are provided.
Is it okay to have a meal before practicing yoga?
It is best to wait for 1 ½ – 2 hours after a normal sized meal. However, a light snack (e.g. a piece of fruit) is okay.
Are there any restrictions of taking up yoga?
No. Yoga is for everyone.
However, we realise that certain groups would have their needs more specifically addressed in a ‘dedicated’ class, so we do run classes designed with these in mind. Check our current timetable for more information, or contact us if you have a specific concern.
How does a class proceed? What will we be doing?
Each hatha class will begin with a short relaxation period to put aside the hustle and bustle of life so that deeper concentration can occur during the yoga session.
A series of warm-up exercises and easy stretches will then limber and prepare the body for working with the more intense asana practice.
Asana will usually be followed by a short pranayama (breathing) practice. The class concludes with a 10-15 minute Guided Relaxation.
The beginners Ashtanga class follows a slightly different format. Traditionally, the Primary Series starts with five repetitions of two sun salutations, moves on to standing postures, followed by a sequence of sitting postures, then back bends, finishing postures, breathing sequence and relaxation. We will be working towards this with modifications.
Why is it best to to register for a term or block of classes?
Although one gets fit with yoga practice, it is not an ordinary ‘keep fit’ class with the same basic routine each week. The yoga student has to master certain asanas or pranayama techniques before moving on to the next level. Very often the work builds on classes from previous weeks. So if you do drop into a class, you may be at a slight disadvantage.
That said, we do allow drop-ins. Check with the office first, though, to make sure that there is room in the class, and that the class will be right for you.
What’s the difference between Yoga and ‘keep fit’ classes?
Yoga is non-competitive. Each person works within the limits of their own body, which may change from day to day, even hour to hour sometimes! You should not compare how easily, or not, you are able to perform a given posture with someone else. They may be struggling just as much as you on the inside! Or it may be that they are naturally flexible in a given direction. Likewise, try not to be in competition with yourself; accept where you are today. Which is easier said than done, we know!
Your teacher will offer variations and modifications for postures as the class progresses. Take advantage of these. Take yourself to the point that is right for you in that class on that day. Forget about yesterday and don’t think abut tomorrow.
Traditional exercise is goal orientated: How many press-ups can I do? Can I touch my toes? I’m going to do 10 more sit-ups today than I did yesterday.
Yoga, by contrast, is a process.
The idea is to focus your awareness on what you are doing and how you feel as you perform the postures. Yoga is about trying out, about exploring. You naturally expand your perceptions and your awareness of what it is to be you, right here, right now.
What if I can’t make one of the sessions?
Can I come on another day that week?
Yes, if you check with the office first to:
1) make sure that a particular class will be suitable for you and
2) make sure that your attendance will not overcrowd the session.
Will there be time for me to ask individual questions about my own personal practice?
There is usually a period before or after the class when the teacher can answer questions. You can always email or contact us by telephone. It could be that you need to book a one-to-one session to get you on the proper track.
Is it okay to practise yoga while pregnant?
It is best to work with a yoga teacher who has a specific qualification in Yoga for Pregnancy.
If yoga is new to you, you should wait until you are 16 weeks pregnant before starting yoga classes.
Yoga is a great way to keep fit during pregnancy. In particular it can help strengthen the pelvic area, normalise thyroid functioning and blood pressure, and help keep you calm and relaxed — all of which is good for the baby, too. In general, however, you want to avoid strain, compressing the belly or abdomen and inverted postures, especially in the later stages.
Should I practise Yoga during my period?
Mostly it is a matter of personal preference. Some women don’t want to, but many don’t mind and continue to practice. For women who do choose to practice, it is suggested that they avoid extended inverted poses, abdominal strengtheners or energizing breaths (like kapalabhati). Some say that these practices might interfere with the downward flow or cause discomfort. At the end of the day, it comes down to how you feel. You know your body.
What kind of yoga is taught at Yorkshire Yoga?
Our teachers are qualified with the British Wheel of Yoga and the teaching is ‘Wheel-based’.
Hatha Yoga is the most common form of yoga in the west – this is the yoga of postures and breathing exercises. There are different traditions within Hatha Yoga (Ashtanga, Iyengar, Viniyoga, Shivananda, etc). Most of Yorkshire Yoga’s hatha classes are integrated from these different traditions of classical yoga.
The Ashtanga ‘primary series’ classes are true to the Ashtanga tradition of Pattabhi Jois.
Some of our specialised classes incorporate other techniques and traditions as appropriate for the group. So, you might get to play with balls, bean bags or floaty things (dharana – concentration – exercises) or do activities designed to help minimise falls.
What is Therapeutic Core Yoga?
Therapeutic Core Yoga is a fusion of yoga and Pilates. It is gentle yoga with an emphasis on postural alignment and core stability. It is highly recommended for people with back or neck problems, post-operative periods, post-natal mums or for people who have been sedentary for a long while who are wanting to build up their strength.
Why all the specialised classes?
At Yorkshire Yoga we believe all yoga is therapeutic. However, certain conditions may be addressed more thoroughly in a specialised class where the teacher has been trained in yoga for specific needs.
More specifically, Yorkshire Yoga offers classes for those with physical difficulties, back or health problems, and those in wheelchairs. For further details please visit our classes section.
What is Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga?
Ashtanga is a dynamic form of yoga suitable for the physically fit and healthy individual.
Although Yorkshire Yoga aims to stay true to the primary series of Pattabhi Jois, we feel it is important to modify certain postures for individual safety. All of our weekly classes will be conducted in a safe and relaxed manner.
Ashtanga Yoga is the name given to the system of hatha yoga as taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, a renowned Sanskrit scholar and yogi in Mysore, India. However, the historical definition of ashtanga yoga is “eight-limbed yoga, ” as originally outlined by the sage Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. Written between 400 and 200 BCE, the Yoga Sutras is the primary text of the science of classical yoga in which Patanjali collated and systemised existing techniques and knowledge of yoga.
Ashtanga Yoga as taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois began with the rediscovery, early in the twentieth century, of the Yoga Korunta — an ancient manuscript describing a unique system of hatha yoga practiced and created by the ancient sage Vamana Rishi. Under the direction of his guru Sri T. Krishnamacharya, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois helped decipher and collate this system of practising asana (postures). Entrusted with preserving, refining, and teaching the system of yoga described in the Yoga Korunta, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois named this system “Ashtanga Yoga,” after Patanjali’s yoga system.
The Yoga Korunta emphasizes “vinyasa” (‘breath-synchronized movement’ ), a method of synchronizing progressive series of postures with a specific breathing technique (“ujjayi pranayama”). It is a process producing intense internal heat and a profuse, purifying sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs. The result is improved circulation, a light and strong body, and a calm mind.
Ashtanga yoga has become popular in the West, partly because it is practised by celebrities such as Madonna, Geri Halliwell and Sting. It is sometimes called ‘Power’ yoga because it is a dynamic and energetic practice suitable for those wanting intense physical exercise.
Some yoga purists have criticised the practice for its strong emphasis on the physical, fearing that the real purpose of yoga (union of the body, mind and spirit) is often overlooked by Ashtanga teachers. In the original “Ashtanga” or “eight-limbed” system of Patanjali, the physical asana practice is merely the third step on the path towards this union – a means to an end, not the end itself.
Most reputable Ashtanga teachers, however, find that the breath-synchronized movements of vinyasa, along with the “bandhas” (muscular ‘locks’ that seal energy) and “dristis” (‘concentration points’), uniquely intensify concentration so that their students can more readily experience the sixth and seventh limbs of ashtanga – “dharana” (‘concentration) and “dhyana” (‘meditation’). The systemised practice of Ashtanga can truly nurture all of the eight limbs of the tree of yoga.
Some yoga anatomists condemn the Primary Series for having too many forward bends which can be stressful to the lower back. The theory behind the Primary Series is that forward bends expel stagnant energy from the system and replace it with fresh energy, making it an effective yoga chikitsa or “therapy”. As with all yoga practices, it is important to listen to your body. If you feel body stress or pain, either work more gently, skip the vinyasas or stop!
What are the “Eight Limbs of Yoga”?
1 Yama – the Observances (moral restraints upon behaviour)
2 Niyama – the Practices (self-purification and study)
3 Asana – the postures, the physical positions of yoga
4 Pranayama – the control of breathing; to expand awareness, help to control the mind
5 Pratyahara – withdrawal of the senses
6 Dharana – concentration upon an object or idea – focussing attention onto one point
7 Dhyana – meditation, a constant stream of thought about the object of concentration
8 Samadhi – the state of identity with God/the Universe/the Life Force – a state of bliss consciousness that transcends thought
THE ASHTANGA GARDEN
Cultivate the ground with Yama and Niyama, living morally and ethically because it is the only way to live, the only possibility if you seek spiritual growth.
Plant your seeds with a controlled and aware body. Through the practice of Asanas, become strong and flexible enough to sit straight and still for long periods of time.
Give your young plant food for growth with plenty of Pranayama, breath control, in many patterns and timings, held in and out. Your body and mind will ‘quiet’ themselves with the aid of the breath awareness.
Pratyahara is the ability of the young plant of your Yoga Sadhana to hold up to the onslaughts of the outer world as reported back to you by your senses. Many are the enemies for the tender seed, so be aware.
Take root firmly in your body, breath and mind, and reach Dharana. Hold to one spot. Let your roots go deep. Bend not in the wind, nor before the rain. Grow straight and tall, true and sincere to your purpose, your spiritual goal.
If you have cultivated your garden, planted good seeds, provided proper nutrients, and fresh air, withstood the predators of the world as reported to you by your senses….if you have remained true to your spiritual goal and sincere….. if you have held yourself body, heart and mind to one spot, in a one-pointed desire for perfection … then …… the bud of Dhyana may appear on the plant of your life, if your Karma and the grace of God so wills it. Do not pluck It. Tend to it carefully.
At the right moment, at the right place, when all ‘first works have been done first” the lovely sun may rise of a morning and touch the bud of your aspiration …. and the full flowering of all that has gone before will unfold …. Samadhi … the magnificent flower of Sincere Yoga Sadhana.
Hold on to this vision. Work for it.
Give over and into the Divine. He is a great gardener. He will make you grow.
By Yogamaharishi Swami Gitananda