These Frequently Asked Questions contain general information only and do not take into account your personal health, fitness or wellbeing circumstances, needs or objectives. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement by Avaana and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare, fitness or wellbeing professional. All site users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their health, fitness and wellbeing questions.
What types of yoga classes are there?
All yoga studios will offer a foundation class for first timers. This will provide you with an introduction to the basic poses, offer lots of tips and advice and allow you to ease into yoga alongside others who are at your level.
Hot Yoga is done in a room that is heated to about 40 degrees. This is based on the theory that the heat relaxes the muscles; helping your muscles to relax so that you can better stretch. The heat also increases the synovial fluid which lubricates the body to further enhance mobility. Be sure to take a water bottle with you to your Hot Yoga class.
Restorative Yoga mainly involves long stretches and nurturing poses and is a gentler, milder form.
Vinyasa Yoga is the most athletic yoga variation. It involves a coordination of breath and movement to allow you to seamlessly flow one move to the next.
Power Yoga is a variation of Vinyasa in which you are constantly holding your body weight. It will provide the most intense workout of any yoga variation.
What Should I Wear to a Yoga Class?
Because yoga involves plenty of stretching and movement, you should wear loose-fitting clothing that does not restrict your mobility. Clothing should be moisture and odor wicking and it should breathe well. Generally, a pair of gym tights, track pants and a t-shirt will be appropriate.
Do I Need to Bring My own Yoga Mat?
If you are doing a beginner class, it is customary for the studio to provide yoga mats. However, for more advanced classes some studios will expect you to bring your own mat. You should check with the studio when booking your session.
The studio may offer hire mats. If you do hire a mat, it is expected that you will wipe it down with a spray and wipe which the studio will have on hand at the end of the session.
When it comes to buying a yoga mat, look for one that is a quarter of an inch (6 mm) thick. This will ensure the best cushioning and durability. Although TPE and cotton mats are available, the less expensive foam version should do the job nicely. Buy a yoga mat this is at least six inches longer that your height.
What Else Should I Bring to the Session?
Bring two full sized towels. One will be for your shower after the session is completed. The other will be for you to wipe away the sweat that will be pouring off your body! You should also bring a water bottle.
How Frequently Should I Do Yoga?
Like any form of exercise, regularity and consistency are the keys to success with yoga. You should take a minimum of two classes per week. For best results, we suggest taking 3-4 classes, ideally with a day between sessions to allow your body to rest and recuperate.
I’ve got absolutely no flexibility. Will I be out of my depth?
No way. Just be sure to sign up with a beginner’s class. It’s a common misconception that you need to be flexible to start a yoga class. But, that’s like thinking that you need to be able to drive to the store before taking driving lessons! Just forget your inhibitions, don’t worry about how flexible the person next to you is, and take it one step at a time.
You’ll be amazed at how quickly your flexibility, coordination, posture, strength, and cardio fitness will improve as you get into the yoga lifestyle habit.
Can Men Do Yoga?
They certainly can! Most classes will have a significant male representation. Men often come away from their first class with a new found respect for yoga as a way to get fit and build strength – especially if they’ve just done a power yoga class!
Is There Any Yoga Class Etiquette I Should Know About?
Yes. A yoga class is a little different to a general fitness class. That’s because yoga incorporates the philosophy of ahimsa (non-violence). Respect for this creed means that you will be gentle and peaceful in your speech, actions, and attitude.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Arrive 10-15 minutes early so that you have plenty of time to sign in, pay, and get yourself into the right headspace.
- If you arrive late, just slip into the back of the class without bringing attention to yourself.
- Turn off all your electronics before the class starts so that there is no ringing or buzzing while the class is in place.
- Be aware of where you are placing your mat. You don’t want to block someone else’s view of the instructor. It is best to stagger your position to avoid obstruction.
- Avoid using commercial perfumes and lotions. Yoga is all about getting back to nature.
- Be discreet about asking questions during class. You’ll have to read the atmosphere to judge if it is appropriate.
- Don’t chat with others during class. Before and after is fine, but the session is time to commune with yourself!
- It is not considered polite to leave before the class is completed.
- It is customary during the last pose of the class to spin around so that your feet are facing away from the instructor and the head is pointing towards him or her. This is done to show respect.
Will Yoga Help Me Lose Weight?
Yes. Vinyasa and Power Yoga are especially good for weight loss as they are the most active forms. These will provide you with an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise. Power yoga will also incorporate resistance training using your own bodyweight as the resistance. This has been shown to be an excellent way to lose weight when combined with cardio.
For sustained results you need to combine your exercise program will a sensible nutrition plan.
Can I Do Yoga When I’m Pregnant?
Yes. In fact, many studies offer pre-natal classes that are specifically designed for expectant mums. However, you should always check with your GP before you begin any fitness classes. If you’re doing a class other than a pre-natal session, you should let the instructor know that you are pregnant.
I am new to Yoga – should I start with a private session?
Probably not. All studies will have beginner classes that are suited toward beginners like you. The experienced instructors will gently guide you through the poses and give correction where it is needed. However, if you are suffering from chronic pain, have a persistent back injury, or have other ailments that require attention, a one on one session will be helpful.
Isn’t Yoga Just a Form of Stretching?
While all forms involve stretching and going into postures, there is much more to yoga than that. Yoga connects the movement of the body, the consciousness of the mind and the rhythm of one’s breath. This connection of mind, body, and breath allows a person to become more attuned to their inner self. In the process, yoga makes a person much more flexible, stronger, and leaner.
Should I Eat Before My Yoga Class?
Your yoga session will involve plenty of twisting, turning and bending. That being the case, it is not a good idea to go into it with a full stomach. You should have your last meal 2-3 hours before your session. It is a good idea to include a lean protein and some glucose producing carbs, such as oatmeal, to provide the energy for your session.
If you feel peckish in the hour before your session, you should be safe with a tub of yoghurt, a piece of fruit, or a handful of nuts.
You might also consider taking a pre-workout drink about 30 minutes prior to your session. This should consist of a 50/50 blend of protein and carbs.
Do I Have to Follow All of the Principles of Yoga to Attend a Class?
No, you don’t. There are eight basic principles of yoga as follows:
- Rules for living in society (Yama)
- Self-restraining rules (Niyama)
- Low physical impact postures (Asana)
- Breathing techniques (Pranayama)
- Detachment of the mind from senses (Pratihara)
- Concentration (Dharana)
- Meditation (Dhyana)
- Complete union with super consciousness (Samadhi)
You do not have to take on the meditative or societal principles if you are simply looking for a great form of exercise.
To qualify as a yoga instructor in Australia, a person must complete at least 200 hours of yoga teacher training. The course must be aligned with either Yoga Alliance or Yoga Australia. Upon completion of such a course, the instructor will be awarded a certificate which authorizes them to teach yoga classes.