Whether you are trying your very first yoga class or if you are getting back into your practice after a break, we are so pleased you have decided to try Thaxted Yoga and we welcome you to the mat.
Yoga is an ancient practice that focuses on body, mind and breath to help guide you into a state of awareness, wellbeing and relaxation whilst strengthening and stretching muscles throughout your body. The word yoga comes from an ancient Sanskrit word that means “yoke” or “yurj” meaning union. In Western society the word “Yoga” has come to represent the physical practice of postures although these poses, or asanas, are only one of the eight “limbs” of yoga. There is much more to yoga than simply stepping on your mat during class which you will soon discover once getting into your practice.
At Thaxted Yoga we have a variety of classes on offer from a range of different instructors, all who have been through extensive training to help guide you safely through your class whilst inspiring you and making you smile along the way.
If you have never practiced yoga before or if this is your first time to a class, be sure to let your instructor know before class begins so she/he can help along the way as needed. There are beginner’s classes on offer so if it’s your very first time we recommend starting out in a beginner’s class to learn a few of the basics before trying one of our open level classes. We also recommend trying a selection of different classes so you can find the one that suits you best and also one that you enjoy and look forward to attending.
Yoga is NOT about being bendy. Whether or not you can touch your toes does not give any indication of whether your body is “right” for yoga. Yoga is for every BODY. Your yoga practice is specific to you and what feels right for your own body. Many of the benefits of yoga postures are obtained by keeping your body safely aligned as instructed and focusing on slow steady breaths, regardless of how bendy or flexible your body feels. A variety of props will also be available to you should you wish to use them. Your instructor can help show you how to use the props or straps to modify your posture as needed.
Some Key Benefits of Regular Yoga Practice:
- Builds Muscle Strength
- Increases flexibility
- Improves posture
- Improves balance and focus
- Improves mood and reduces stress/anxiety
- Builds core strength
- Can reduce symptoms of depression
- Can aid weight loss by increasing metabolism
- Improves self-awareness
- Increases blood flow, improves circulation
- Protects your spine
- Boosts immunity
- Can help lower blood pressure
- Improves bone density helping ward off illnesses such as osteoporosis
Being new to yoga means that you likely have a few questions before you attend your first class. Hopefully we’ve answered most of them below. If you have additional questions please get in touch so we can help and also send us your questions so we can add them to the list below.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Do I need to bring my own mat?
A: It is not necessary to bring your own mat as Thaxted Yoga studio has mats available for you to use. Some people do prefer to practice on their own mat so if you have a special mat you wish to use during your practice feel free to bring it to the studio.
Q: What should I wear for a yoga class?
A: Comfortable, stretchy, loose fitting clothing is advisable to allow easy movement when standing, sitting and laying on the mat. Dressing in layers is also helpful as it can get warm while moving about and then cooler as you lay down for relaxation towards the end of class. Socks are fine but it is best to practice bare foot (unless you have any foot issues) so please remove your shoes upon arrival to the studio. Ladies, if you’re wearing a loose top make sure you have appropriate coverage underneath as tops can flip up when moving between poses.
Q: What do I need to bring with me?
A: Your body and your smile! And a water bottle and small towel if you wish.
Q: Do I need to book my class before I arrive at the studio?
A: Yes, you can easily book your class through our website or through our mobile app. If you have trouble booking for any reason please contact us so that we can help.
Q: Will I be the only new person at class?
A: Probably not! We welcome all yogis to our studio and many people are at different stages of yoga practice and attend classes for different reasons. Some people look to strengthen their body, some focus on being mindful of breath and movement while others attend with the sole aim of relaxing and unwinding.
Q: Should I eat before class?
A: A small snack up to an hour before class is fine but refrain from eating large or heavy meals at least 2-3 hours before class. It is usually best to have a small snack before class and then another smaller healthy meal following class. You can imagine forward folds and planks not feeling particularly comfortable on a full stomach!
Q: What is the best thing to drink before/during/after class?
A: Water! Drink plenty of water throughout the day to hydrate your body and also bring a water bottle to class so you can sip on this as needed. We advise leaving the sugary (or fake sugar-free) squash and sports drinks at home as water really is the very best thing!
Q: Do I need to know any yoga poses before I arrive at class?
A: It is not necessary to know yoga poses before your first class, however, a quick search on Google or a review of websites such as the Yoga Journal do have a lot of visuals you could have a peek at just to know what to expect.
Q: How soon before class should I arrive?
A: Usually no more than 10 minutes before class is scheduled to begin so that your instructor has time to prepare the room for the whole class. When you arrive, choose your space and lie back on your mat and relax until class is ready to begin.
Q: Where should I park?
A: Evening and weekend classes have unlimited parking at Hammer Hill Farm so please park in the Thaxted Yoga spaces with overflow throughout the rest of the car park. Daytime classes are allocated 8 parking spaces, plus there are 5 visitor spaces available to use on a first come first serve basis. If you know someone else attending the same class, why not car-share?
Q: What do I do when I arrive at the studio?
A: When you arrive at the studio please remove your shoes and ensure your mobile phone is switched off (or on silent). Place your belongings in a locker or hang your coat on the hooks to keep the entrance neat and tidy. Choose your space and get any props you wish to use during class if they have not already been placed beside your mat. Lie back and relax until the class begins.
Q: Can I do yoga if I have back problems?
A: Check with your GP to find out if yoga is appropriate for you. Depending on the problem with your back, yoga is usually a great way of helping stretch the spine and release aches and pains. Be sure to speak with your instructor before each class so that she/he can help modify any postures necessary so that they are appropriate for your back.
Q: Can yoga help with relaxation and sleeping?
A: Yes, yoga can help you feel calm and relaxed as you focus on your breathing and practice keeping your mind still. During practice your blood flow increases and your circulation improves which helps more oxygen travel through your body allowing it to function better. Your central nervous system is also relaxed by focusing on the present, being aware of each and every breath, which lowers your heart rate and creates a sense of calmness and clarity.
Q: How often should I attend yoga class?
A: Yoga is meant to be a daily practice but we all know how busy our lives can become and it’s not usually practical to go to a studio class everyday. Even 10 minutes of yoga each day has amazing benefits! The more you practice the better but if you can only make it to one class a week then that is a great start and you will still start to feel the benefits. Of course we would love to see you two or three times a week at the studio but don’t forget you can practice at home between your studio sessions. A home practice is a very important part of your overall yoga practice so if you’re thinking of getting started then grab yourself a mat and you can strike a pose anytime…anywhere!
Q: How can I tell if I am improving in my yoga practice?
A: One of the best ways to feel improvement is by noticing when you feel more balanced and equal on both sides of your body. For example, when you can bend to the right side as comfortably and equally as you can on the left. When you can bring your right leg forward in the same manner as the left leg. Most of us have one side of the body that we naturally and perhaps unintentionally favour, often due to the lifestyle many of us lead – sitting behind desks, hunching over with poor posture, driving in the car, etc – however, with a regular yoga practice we can start to create balance within our bodies. Even with injury or chronic issues you can still help bring balance and improvement to your practice – both mentally and physically. Improvement is not about getting yourself into fancy pretzel-like yoga poses…it is about bringing balance to your body.
Q: What is the access like getting into the studio?
A: The studio is on the first floor inside an industrial barn unit. There is an outside door which leads you into the main barn area where you will then need to walk up one flight of stairs to the studio on the first floor. The toilets are on the ground floor.
Q: What if I’ve had an injury in the past?
A: If it is a serious or chronic injury check with your GP to confirm yoga is appropriate for you and be sure to let your instructor know about this injury so she/he can speak with you and offer some modifications to poses if needed.
Q: Can I attend a yoga class whilst pregnant?
A: Generally speaking a pregnancy-specific class is usually the best class to attend when you are pregnant, as these classes will be tailored for your specific needs at your time in pregnancy. This is especially true if you are new to yoga and have never practiced when you were not pregnant. A pregnancy yoga instructor will have been through additional training to ensure the safety of you and your unborn child. That said, if you have a strong and regular yoga practice and wish to attend one of your regular classes then it is YOUR responsibility to let your instructor know that you are pregnant and you must also pay attention to your own body as you move through your practice.