Welcome to the Mind Body Movement community!
Whether you’re new to yoga altogether or just new to Mind Body Movement, here are answers to some FAQs to help you settle in and start your yoga journey with us. If you don't see what you’re looking for, please feel free to get in touch. We always love to have a chat!
I’VE NEVER DONE YOGA – WHICH CLASS SHOULD I GO TO?
- There are Yoga for Beginners Courses every term, however if you just can't wait, you can join in the Yin Yoga for a slow, deep stretch or the Vinyasa Flow for a more active, strength-building kind of class. OR try the EXPRESS lunchtime option: a half hour class that is a combo of yoga, pilates and Foundation Training moves perfect for beginners (and no brain overload!).
- Expect some regulars or advanced yogis in the room and don’t be intimidated! They come to hone their skills or work through areas of difficulty. Everyone is in the same boat and no one is judging you.
- Remember: There is no such thing as a typical ‘yogi’. Everyone is welcome. Our classes offer yoga for men, women, old, young, injured and athletic. If you have any questions about which yoga class is best for you, please just ask.
BEFORE YOU TURN UP FOR YOUR FIRST CLASS…
- Take a look at our class descriptions and find one that works with your level and availability.
- Arrive 15 minutes beforehand so you have enough time to find your way around and settle in.
- Try not to eat a large meal within 2 hours of the start of class. However, if you’re starving, do have something small – a piece of fruit, bliss ball, light snack – to stave off the hunger pangs and give you a shot of energy.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING?
- An open mind, courageous attitude and a smile!
- A towel.
- A bottle of water.
- A mat if you have one, otherwise we have mats available (numbers are limited).
WHAT DO I WEAR?
- Comfortable clothing to move and sweat in.
- Fitted, active gym gear, i.e. tights or shorts and a singlet.
- We practice in bare feet so please leave shoes at the studio entrance.
WHAT TO EXPECT/AFTER CLASS
- If you’ve used one of our studio mats, please clean it with the spray and cloths provided, roll it up (shinny side out) and leave it in the mat box.
- If you have any questions why not have a chat with your teacher on the way out? They’ll be more than happy to help.
- Make sure you drink enough water – 1 litre after practice is a good guide.
- You may well have some muscular fatigue or soreness: this should resolve within 48 hours.
WHY ARE THERE DIFFERENT STYLES OF YOGA?
- Different practices can provide different benefits. Your choice of class will depend on a number factors including how your body feels physically, stress, your age, sports, work pressures, your health and your lifestyle.
Listen to your body: What does it need today?
Learning to recognise and take responsibility for what you need will help you regain balance physically, mentally and emotionally. Addictive approaches to one style of yoga at the peril of what the body is telling us isn’t healthy. Much like a dogmatic belief in just one style of practice: this is based on the premise that we are all same – which couldn’t be further from the truth.Different practices can provide different benefits. Your choice of class will depend on a number factors including how your body feels physically, stress, your age, sports, work pressures, your health and your lifestyle.
WHAT IS MY ‘UJJAYI’ BREATH?
- Ujjayi breath is sometimes called ‘the ocean breath’ or ‘oceanic breathing’. It’s a controlled, diaphragmatic breath that’s achieved by gently tightening the muscles in your throat and breathing in and out through your nose, mouth closed. When you’re doing it correctly, you’ll hear a whispering, ocean-like sound and may feel a slight vibration in the back of your throat. Allow your chest to expand and deflate with each slow inhale and exhale. We encourage students to breathe this way throughout class. It can be challenging and may take some time to master but helps bring your focus back to the breath when your mind wanders. It’s also an excellent barometer of how hard you’re working: if you’re pushing yourself too hard then you won’t be able to maintain the Ujjayi breath, so lessen the intensity of your practice until you can. Alternatively, if you keep losing focus on the breath, could you up your pace? Ujjayi breath is a great way to stay connected to your practice, helping anchor you into the present moment. It’s also a great way of building the vital energy in the body and can turn your practice into a yoga meditation.
WHAT IS A BANDHA?
- A bandha is an energetic lock in the body. There are many of them, but in yoga we give importance to three along the central axis of the body: the root lock (mula bandha), the abdomen lock (uddiyana bandha) and the throat lock (jalandhara bandha). Energetically, working with your bandhas engaged is a great way to improve thoracic breathing and build vital energy within the body.You may have heard your teacher tell you to, “Lift the pit of your belly towards your spine”. This is ‘mula bandha’ and how we teach students to engage their cores for improved back support and to bring strength into each posture.Speak to your teacher about how to develop your mula bandha and work on uddiyana and jalandahara bandha too.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I PRACTICE?
- You can practice as often as you like, just remember to listen to your body. Some committed students practice 5-6 times per week, however the intensity will vary to suit the needs of their body on the day. Slowing down and listening to your body’s intuition is part of the yoga journey. If you’re cross-training with other sports then 2-3 times a week would likely be of great benefit.
HOW CAN I AVOID GETTING INJURED?
- Although yoga’s generally considered a fairly safe form of exercise, injuries can occur when students don’t take appropriate modifications or try and force their bodies into postures they’re not ready for. This is why it’s so important to honour what your body needs, every time you step on the mat. However, injuries can also be one of our best teachers as they force us to slow down, modify and listen to our bodies.
- If you have any pre-existing conditions, please speak to your doctor or physiotherapist before coming to class.
- Focus on maintaining a smooth, steady Ujjayi breath throughout your practice, even if that means taking a less intense variation of a posture or easing up on the intensity.
- Listen to your body. Be mindful of its subtle clues about how deeply, strongly or for how long you should hold a posture.
- If you’re experiencing pain or exhaustion during class, stop and rest immediately. Child’s Pose or Supta Baddha Konasana are ideal resting yoga poses.
- Make sure you warm up thoroughly at the start of class. Getting your body moving – with sun salutations, for example – increases circulation to muscles, lubricates joints, and prepares the body for deeper postures.
- Listen and watch for correct alignment cues. This will ensure you’re strengthening muscles equally on both sides of the active joint – avoiding building an unbalanced body – while also reducing tension where it’s not needed.
- Modify poses to suit your individual needs and embrace the non-competitive and self-accepting atmosphere of the yoga class.
- Use props – blocks, bolsters, towels and straps – to help maintain safe alignment, facilitate appropriate stretching and take undue stress off joints and tight muscles.
- Each of our bodies is built differently, and some of us have a tendency towards unsupported hyperflexion, hyperextension and excessive twisting. Listen to the alignment cues, notice how your body moves and speak to your teacher if you think this might apply to you.
WHAT ARE COMMON YOGA INJURIES?
- Muscle Strains: A strain occurs when muscle tissue tears. If a muscle is powerfully contracted or stretched too far, an acute strain occurs. Chronic strains result from excess use over a period of time (with inadequate recovery). Hamstring strains are common in yoga, often occurring at the point where the hamstrings attach to the sitting bones, as a result of overstretching in forward bends. Other common muscle strains involve hip flexors (caused by deep lunges), neck muscles (from unsupported Shoulder Stand, Plough, Deaf Man’s Pose), and lower back muscles (from hyperflexion in standing or seated forward bends).
- Tendonitis and Bursitis: These are overuse injuries. Tendonitis is inflammation or irritation of a tendon, and bursitis is inflammation of the bursae. Bursae are protective ‘cushions’, situated between moving structures such as bones, muscles and tendons. They let us move our joints easily, without friction.Performing long holds in yoga poses such as Downward Facing Dog, Chaturanga and Side Plank without adequate strength or appropriate modifications can cause excess stress on bursae and tendons in the shoulders, elbows and wrists. This may exacerbate carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis or tendonitis in these joints.
- Ligaments and Cartilage: Students who are hypermobile, or those who hyperextend or flex their joints without adequate strength, can put additional stress on joint-stabilising ligaments and tendons without realising. This can cause joint inflammation or injury. Knees, elbows and the spine are common problem areas. Hyperextension of the knee is often seen in straight leg poses such as balancing postures, Triangle Pose, standing and seated forward bends. Elbow hyperextension is often seen in Downward and Upward Facing Dog and Side Plank. Shoulder Stand, Plough, and forward bends place compression forces on the spine. Spinal discs can be damaged if an inappropriate level of spinal joint flexion or forced flexion occurs. Degenerative disease, pinched nerves or fractures can occur when the spine is hyperextended.