Is your Yoga Teacher Making these Mistakes?

Yoga_Dec28_AOf course, it takes a lot of time, dedication and effort to become a fitness instructor, whatever discipline you are primarily working in. But as in any industry some people are simply better suited to their role than others. Whether that’s through not keeping up with developments in their field, a tendency to believe anything spouted by a so-called authority without doing their own research, or simply not having the passion that a career in the industry demands, ultimately the person negatively affected is you. So what are the signs you should look out for that tell you that you might need to change yoga teachers?

Despite starting out with all the best will in the world the problem is that, as with any job, it can sometimes be tempting to tell the customer what they want to hear. Whether that’s down to wanting to close a sale or due to misinformation that sounds customer-friendly but is not actually based on any facts. The problem is, being sold a perfume that doesn’t make good on its promise to make you irresistible to the opposite sex and signing up for a yoga class that does you more harm than good are two very different things. The first is a waste of money at best (although at least you smell nice) but the second could be physically harming you.

The fact is yoga is a scientific practice which needs to integrate biomechanics – the study of a structure such as the human body. A good yoga instructor understands this and knows how to incorporate research in this field into their classes. In a quality yoga class you will not find your teacher spouting vague, flowery terms that have no grounding in biomechanics. Therefore if you’ve noticed your teacher offering pearls of ‘wisdom’ such as “shoulder stands increase activity in the brain” you might want to consider switching studios. No one is saying your instructor doesn’t mean well – they believe what they are telling you. They just haven’t thought to investigate why they are saying it. Worse, they could be putting you in danger.

Here are some other things that should be raising red flags:

Your yoga teacher is piling on the pressure

Manipulating the body to force it into an ideal of what a pose ‘should look like’ is an all round no-no. If your body is unable to attain a pose, no one is qualified or has the right to force you into a position that you find uncomfortable or are downright unable to achieve. Going deeper into your poses is something that you should work towards naturally and at a rate that feels right for you. Consider that a massage therapist undergoes intensive training and must apply for a license before they lay even a finger on a client and compare that to a yoga instructor fresh out of their 200-hour training course forcing you into a position that frankly may be dangerous for you to attempt.

Your teacher tells you yoga is the be all and end all of exercise

Yoga is hugely beneficial for people of all ages and fitness levels; that’s not up for debate, but what is, are teachers who claim that you’re getting all the physical activity you need in your yoga class. You spend an entire yoga class on your mat – this fact alone says that you are not being subjected to the range of physical movement you need to live your life to the fullest. For example, yoga will not help you develop muscles that enable you to run faster – whether you’re pounding the treadmill or sprinting for the bus.

No yoga class is complete without head and/or shoulder stands

There has been a lot of media attention given to the so-called benefits of shoulder and headstands lately and many rookie instructors feel that a yoga class is missing an integral part if they are not included. Furthermore the same teachers usually believe that holding stands for a long count is mandatory too. The problem is the claims that are being made about head and shoulder stands’ magical effects are not backed by any kind of scientific research. In fact, many instructors do not include stands in the practice, at least in general classes, for the simple reason that an average student will not have adequate neck muscles to support their body weight. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that a head or shoulder stand performed incorrectly can put serious stress on the neck and lead to an accident or long term damage.

Your teacher tells you yoga gives you longer, leaner muscles

If you want to burn fat and achieve an overall sleeker look, of course yoga is only going to push you towards your goal, but the length of your muscles actually have everything to do with the length of your bones, and precious little to do with the downward dog.

If you’d rather know that you are practicing yoga in a safe, jargon-free, supportive and professional environment, talk to us today. Our highly qualified instructors are always happy to answer any concerns or queries you might have.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

A beginner’s guide to yoga class clothing

Yoga_Oct26_AIf you’re new to the world of yoga, selecting the right clothing is crucial for a positive first experience. While yoga doesn’t require you to invest a lot in equipment and garments, you still can’t just wear anything to join a class. You need to choose proper clothing that allows for stretching and bending, in order to ensure that your sessions will be as comfortable as possible. So check out these guidelines before you go shop around for yoga wear.

Yoga tops

We highly recommend tops that are made of cotton or knitwear. This is because most yoga postures involve a lot of stretching, and therefore it is necessary to wear clothes that are able to support all of your body’s extended movements. Cotton and knitwear textures are soft enough to prevent any rashes to the skin. They are also highly absorbent, preventing body sweat from getting in the way during your practice.

Don’t forget to consider the tightness of your yoga tops. Pick one that’s neither too loose nor too tight for your body shape. Try it on and see if you’re able to move freely in it. You should practice a few moves and poses in the fitting room to see if the top works for you.

Yoga pants

The perfect yoga pants are ones you can wear just as comfortably as your yoga tops, preferably made of a light material and with an elastic waist that conforms to your body’s shape. You have the option of choosing between full-length pants, capris, or shorts. Although this is all a matter of preference, you should choose a pair that complements your yoga practice. For instance, you should choose a pair of full-length, breathable pants for calm and gentle yoga, while shorts are recommended for hot yoga classes.


In addition to yoga tops, you can also put on long-sleeved thermal hoodies or zip-up jackets. These extra layers are ideal for the winter, when you’re traveling to a yoga class or when you perform yoga in a chilly room. Wearing an extra layer of clothing will help raise your body’s temperature and loosen muscles during the warm-up stage, as well as prevent chills when your body is not producing heat during the final relaxation stage.


After you have carefully selected your yoga wear, it’s time to consider the right accessories to go with the outfit. Avoid putting on any jewelry, so you don’t distract yourself and others during class. Some yoga accessories that may come in handy are headbands to keep your hair in place when you go through postures, yoga gloves to tighten your grip on the mat, and a yoga towel; these are super absorbent, making them perfect for wiping off the sweat during practice.

Looking to start practicing yoga? Get in touch with our expert instructors today and we can help get you started.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

Preparing for your first hot yoga class

Yoga_Oct5_AHot yoga is an intense practice that takes place in a heated room where temperatures range between 98 to 105 degrees. Before you feel overwhelmed by the heat, it’s worth knowing that this type of yoga provides various health benefits including toxin removal, weight loss, and stress relief. While hot yoga is open to practitioners of all levels, it pays to do some research and prepare yourself beforehand. We have some tips to help you get started.

Hydrate yourself

During hot yoga classes, you’ll sweat more than you’ve ever sweated in your life, which is why your body needs more fluid than it would for other types of exercise. Make sure you’re well-hydrated throughout the day leading up to your practice. Just don’t guzzle it or you’ll twist and stretch into poses with a belly full of water which will make you feel very dizzy and uncomfortable.

Bring your towel

You probably know that a mat is mandatory for most yoga classes, but in hot classes you’ll sweat so much that it’ll be near impossible to perform postures without a towel laid over your mat. Consider investing in a special hot yoga towel made from microfiber – they are thicker and more absorbent than other types of towels. Also, it helps to bring a hand towel to mop your sweaty brow and hands to make the poses more manageable.

Don’t eat before class

The intensity of the heat coupled with demanding postures will have you feeling nauseous within the first few minutes of your first hot yoga class. Not eating for two or three hours before class can greatly reduce the feeling of nausea. If you find it hard to control your cravings, keep it simple and munch on a very light snack like fruits or crackers.

Wear the right clothing

There’s no need to buy expensive outfits to impress the people you’re in class with. You’ll be drenched in sweat, and we recommend tight-fitting clothes such as leggings, tight shirts and tank tops for optimum results. Some prefer longer leggings for a better grip when performing certain poses, while others would rather wear as little as possible to keep themselves cool. There’s no fixed formula when choosing your yoga wear, but keep in mind that supportive and breathable clothing is key.

Be prepared to stay in the room

The one challenge you must overcome on your first hot yoga class is resisting the urge to leave the hot room. It will take time for your body to acclimate to the heat so try not to rush to the exit when you feel like you’ve had enough. Instead, allow your body to cool down by spending a few moments to lie down on the floor or taking a short break with a child’s pose – you can join the rest of the class again when you’re ready.

Your first few classes may seem strange or feel uncomfortable, but it’s all part of the new experience. When your body adapts to working out in the heat, you’ll leave the class feeling fantastic and full of energy every time!

Want to learn how hot yoga can improve your health and wellbeing? Get in touch with our yoga instructors today and see how we can help.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

5 things you should never do at a yoga class

Yoga_Sep7_AYou’ve probably heard all about the benefits of yoga. As a workout, it’s incredible for increasing your flexibility, toning your muscles, and relieving stress. And September is National Yoga Month, so if you haven’t practiced yoga before, there’s no better time to summon the courage and give it a try! Of course, If you’re fairly new to yoga, then you might feel intimidated at the idea of joining your first class. No one likes to look foolish by doing something wrong. So get started by reading these five things that you should never do in a yoga class.

Entering class late

Entering the studio while a class is still in session is disruptive to both your instructor and fellow practitioners. What’s more, your instructor will likely plan classes very specifically, so turning up late and jumping straight into the practice won’t be good for your body. You should be punctual, or even arrive 10 minutes early to allow time to settle in before class, practice a pose, do some stretches, or just simply sit quietly and reflect.

Bringing your mobile devices

Most of us are dependent on our smartphones to keep our lives and work running smoothly. But yoga is a time of relaxation and self-exploration. Simply put, it is a time that you don’t need to use any electronics. Constantly checking notifications, texting, or answering calls will only distract you, as well as others around you, from the practice. So it’s best to leave your phone in the locker room, or at least keep it on silent if you must have it by your side.

Chatting with the person next to you

Making friends with your yoga neighbors before and after a session is part of the group class experience, but you should stay silent when class commences. Many yogis relish the practice as a time to turn inward and connect to their own bodies, so don’t be offended if no-one talks to you. People around you need to focus on performing challenging poses, and you should be doing the same.

Invading other people’s space

Be aware of where you’re placing your mat, so you don’t position yourself right in front of, or too close to, someone else. Don’t fuss and move around too much when the class starts, either. Space can be really tight in some yoga classes, so try to avoid collisions with other people, and leave plenty of room to stretch your arms and legs.

Rushing out of class

Instead of going straight to the dressing room and leaving the studio quickly, take some time afterwards to think about what you did in class, so you can retain what you’ve experienced and learned. Take a closer look at the poses you practiced, and note any useful tips and instructions from your instructor. Reviewing each of your sessions can help deepen your own personal practice and sharpen your skills as a yogi.

After a class, you’ll feel a great sense of peace, relaxation, and inspiration. If you want to give yoga a try, get in touch with our expert instructors today.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

Three ways to do yoga at your desk

Yoga_Aug17_AIt can be difficult to fit regular yoga practice into a busy, work-dominated lifestyle – we get it. Like most of us, you spend most of your waking hours sat at your office desk, and by the end of the day you simply lack the energy or motivation to get to the studio and start on your yoga poses. But the sedentary office lifestyle can take its toll on your body, making it even more important to build in exercises that give you the stretches you need. Here are three yoga poses you can do even while you’re sat at your desk – so now there’s no excuse.

Seated Twist

The spine and lower back feels much of the pressure of our days spent sat in one position, and this pose helps you to release the tension in an easy-to-achieve way. Sat forward in your office chair with both feet flat, put your right hand on your left knee and slowly twist towards the chair by placing your left hand on the back of the seat. Hold the pose briefly before releasing, then repeat the same in the opposite direction.

Hamstring Stretch

As well as your lower back, your legs feel the effects of remaining still for too long while you work. It’s important to get up and give them regular exercise during the day, but you can also give them a quick stretch with this pose. Position yourself right back in your chair and raise one leg until it is parallel to floor, then run one hand as far along the shin as you can comfortably go. Hold for a second, return carefully to your normal position and then repeat with the other leg.

Shoulder Stretch

The neck and shoulders can easily tense up from too much time spent hunched over your computer while typing. To relieve the pressure, lock your fingers together while sat upright, and then stretch your entwined hands right above your head and facing upwards, with your palms out. After a few seconds, rest your hands on the back of your neck while keeping them locked, then raise them skyward once more. Unlink your fingers while keeping your arms in the air for a few more moments, then slowly lower your hands to your sides.

With moves like these, it really can be easy to squeeze a gentle yoga practice into your workday and reduce the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. To find out more about how yoga can help you remain fit and healthy, give us a call.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

How Yin yoga can transform your life

Yoga_July27_AWhether you’re new to yoga or have been practicing for years, chances are you’ve heard of Yin Yoga and its many benefits to the bodies and minds of all who practice it. Yin is popular as it’s a deep and reflective style of yoga that offers a more meditative approach than the better known yoga practices. So if you’re feeling contemplative then we suggest you give Yin a try. But first, as with any new yoga practice, you should learn the facts before heading out with your mat.

So what exactly is Yin yoga?

Unlike most other forms of yoga that works the muscle through repetition, Yin postures are much more passive, focusing on floor-based moves for extended periods of time. When you perform Yin, you need to focus on exercising connective tissues, joints and bones by holding a pose for three to five minutes, and even up to 20 minutes at a time. The time spent in these poses are much like the time spent in meditation, allowing you to relax and get intimate with your feelings.

Benefits of Yin yoga

But there are similarities with other types of yoga too. Yin provides various benefits to your physical and mental wellbeing when performed correctly. Here are just some of the health benefits you get from practicing Yin.

  • Increases flexibility – Yin poses are demanding. You need to remain still for long periods of time. But this gives you a greater range of motion and increased flexibility in the longer term. By holding poses and stretches your body will feel longer, lighter, and looser. Yin also helps increase mobility in the body, especially the joints and hips.
  • Heals the body – Studies show that a Yin practice helps to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which in turn allows your body to rest and digest so that it can begin to recover from fatigue and chronic muscle pain. Blood, nutrients, and energy can flow more freely throughout your body so that it can replenish lost energy.
  • Alleviates stress and tension – In some other types of yoga, you need to hold your breath and tighten your muscles to complete the practice. Things are different in the Yin style. Instead of trying to bottle things up, you are free to deepen your breath and lengthen your muscle tissues, lowering cortisol levels (commonly known as stress hormones) and calm the mind during the process.
  • Improves balance – Yin yoga requires you to stay in a pose for several minutes at a time. The longer the length of time you hold the pose, the more effort you need to put in to balance your whole body. Yin can serve as a foundation for creating a well-balanced body and even after a few sessions you’ll enjoy increased coordination and better balance.

If you are tired, over-stimulated, or you feel that you have too much energy, then Yin yoga is probably worth a try. So if you want to learn more about Yin, and how it can have positive effects on your general well-being, then give us a call and talk to one of our yoga instructors.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

How to enjoy yoga again

Yoga_Jun23_AYou’ve just got home after what seemed to be a long day at work. You then head out to a local studio to join a yoga class. After putting on your yoga gear, you roll out the mat and stare blankly into space, and find yourself thinking: what am I doing here? After practicing yoga for some time, all the motivation and enthusiasm has left you, and your mind seems to be somewhere else while your body is still in the studio. If yoga is becoming less than enjoyable, take a look at these reasons why yoga might not be working for you, and what you can do about it.

Be flexible with timing

Sometimes life can really get in the way of your classes. You’ve probably convinced yourself that nothing will be able to keep you from attending that 90-minute weekday class in the evening. But more often than not, somehow something always comes up and brings you up short. If you have a hectic work life and busy schedule, aim to keep things simple. Try shortening your yoga sessions and see how it goes. It’s better to stick with a short routine first, then take things from there.

Choose the right yoga style

Yoga has become so popular these days that there are a variety of classes offered for practitioners of all levels. While all styles of yoga are designed to help you improve your strength, flexibility, and balance, choosing the wrong one could lead to a frustrating experience. If you feel the need to move around and do something active, joining a Hatha yoga class where people perform basic poses might feel awkward and unfulfilling. The key is to find a class that you enjoy doing, so if you feel like you’re in a rut, try a number of different styles until you find the yoga practice you feel most comfortable with. That way you’ll have a better chance of sticking with it.

Listen to your body

Yoga is about cleansing, strengthening, and releasing tension – it’s not about injuring yourself so you can keep up with the class. Learn to listen to your body and respect its physical limitations. If you feel pain when you’re performing certain moves, take that as a sign to stop. There is always a modification that can be made to accommodate your body. But don’t take things too easy – strive to find the “edge” where the intensity of the posture challenges you, but doesn’t cause you extreme pain or discomfort.

Don’t give up on yoga until you’ve tried your best to keep up your practice. If you want to learn how yoga can improve your health and wellbeing, get in touch with our yoga fitness experts today and see how we can help.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

Why it’s time to give rope wall yoga a go

Yoga_Apr20_ALike any form of exercise, yoga needs to remain interesting, exciting and fun if it’s something you are going to continue to enjoy practicing. If you are doing the same old routines each week and never mixing things up, then it’s only going to be a matter of time before you start getting bored and think about quitting. Fortunately there are enough variations of basic yoga practice for you to be able to switch regularly between a few to keep things fresh.

Among them, and growing in popularity right now, is rope wall yoga. Ropes are secured to a wall and you are suspended from them, leaving you looking a bit like a puppet. Here’s why you should give rope wall yoga a try.

Longer, deeper poses

With the support of ropes, stretching and strengthening different parts of your body becomes easier and more sustainable than when performing yoga poses on the floor with only a mat and maybe a block to prop you up. The shoulder stand and plow poses can be more safely undertaken with the benefit of rope support, and you can take those like the cobra pose deeper and hold them for longer than you could otherwise. By holding this and other poses for longer, you have time to focus on your breathing, increase circulation to the lower back and suspend yourself upside down without putting pressure on your head. All of this allows you to reap greater benefits from yoga than you might while gravity is holding you down to the floor.

Fewer inhibitions

For newbie yogis, doing an inversion for the first time can be nerve-wracking. What if you fall? It’s for this reason that many beginners take some time before they are ready to undertake their first inversions. But rope wall yoga can help you overcome these fears and get upside down more quickly. The ropes help you feel more stable and secure, and allow you to develop an enhanced awareness of your body’s orientation. With this taken care of, you’ll be in a better position to strengthen and tone various parts of the body.

A fresh approach

Quite simply, if you haven’t yet tried rope wall yoga, then that is reason enough in itself to do precisely that. Shaking up your yoga practice – just as much as any exercise – is essential to keeping it fresh, exciting and something you look forward to doing. Rope wall yoga is different enough from most other types of yoga that trying it will get you out of your comfort zone and remind you why you came to enjoy yoga so much in the first place. You never know, it might even become your new favorite type of yoga practice!

Whether you’re an experienced yogi who wants to shake things up, or you’re contemplating trying yoga for the first time, give us a call and see what we can do to help.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

Introducing AcroYoga, the yoga for two

Yoga_Mar9_AAs a health-conscious person who is interested in yoga, perhaps you’ve seen pictures in magazines or on websites of two yogis balancing on each other’s hands and feet. You might even have come across people lifting one another into mid-air yoga poses in the local park. The idea of practicing yoga not on solid ground may sound strange, and yet it is made possible with AcroYoga. This creative and playful activity is another way for yogis to diversify their yoga practice. And they’re not doing it just because it’s fun – it also comes with many health benefits.

What is AcroYoga?

AcroYoga combines the wisdom of yoga, the dynamic power of acrobatics, and a touch of the art of healing. The practice involves a person acting as a base, who keeps the body in contact with the ground to support the flyer, who is lifted into various yoga poses to focus the mind and strengthen the body. While AcroYoga is usually performed in pairs, there is often also a ‘spotter’ nearby, who makes sure ‘the base’ has good balance and that the flyer doesn’t fall. The base usually lies flat on his or her back and uses the legs to support the flyer’s weight, as he or she performs several aerial postures.

Why should you try it?

AcroYoga helps you improve your physical and mental fitness, as well as relieving tension. The fun nature of AcroYoga’s practices are also a great mood lifter. Here are some reasons to give AcroYoga a try.

  • It’s satisfying – You can simultaneously enjoy yourself and get physical benefits from practicing AcroYoga. If you’re a base person, you’ll strengthen your muscles by lifting the flyer into the air using your legs and hands. If you’re a flyer, you can develop your balance and flexibility by performing yoga poses while aloft.
  • Improved concentration – AcroYoga is a practice that requires concentration. Whether taking part as a base or a flyer, you must focus on your movements and maintain balance – and trust – while working with your partner.
  • Building relationships – Practicing yoga can be a lonely experience if you do it alone. Even when attending yoga classes, inter-class engagement can be limited since you have your own personal space and work alone on your mat. AcroYoga, on the other hand, encourages you to communicate and interact with others.
  • No experience needed – Just as with regular yoga, you don’t have to be an expert to participate in a class. AcroYoga is still a niche practice, and many people will most likely be at a beginner’s level. While it’s great to have a partner to take with you, AcroYoga classes usually arrange pairs based on a similarity in size, so that you don’t have to worry about lifting a partner who’s twice your size.

Some starter tips

  • Hygiene – If you’re a base, you should have clean hands and feet, as you’ll be using them to balance and touch your partner.
  • Signal word – Establish a signal word with your partner. For instance, flyers can simply say ‘down’ if they want to get their feet back on solid ground.
  • Clothing – Wear fitting clothes so garments don’t get in the way when you’re practicing – especially important for a flyer.
  • Different partners – The best way of practicing AcroYoga is to train with different partners. You will learn from mixing it up, and will gain new experience and tips from your various partners.

Whether you’re an experienced yogi or a beginner, you can practice AcroYoga to boost your physical and mental fitness. If you’re interested in AcroYoga, get in touch with us today and see how we can help you prepare.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

Tips to choose the right yoga mat

Yoga_Feb23_AYoga is one of a number of fitness activities that don’t require much equipment. In fact, for most general yoga classes, all you really need is a towel to wipe your sweat and a mat to cushion parts of your body. A yoga mat is the core piece of equipment every yoga enthusiast needs so, if you plan on taking up yoga, why not invest in the best yoga mat for you? After all, it’s your choice of exercise equipment that can make the difference between a healthy result and injury.

Yoga can be performed barefoot on many different surfaces, including hardwood floors, carpet, tiles, or even grass. But for some people, pressing their knees, elbows and palms on hard ground to practise yoga moves can be painful. A good yoga mat provides a cushion to let you perform the poses more comfortably. Finding the right mat can be challenging because of the vast selection out there. So you should consider these tips before buying a yoga mat.


Selecting a yoga mat with suitable thickness can be quite tricky. You’ll want a mat thick enough to cushion your body, but at the same time not so foamy that you sink or feel unstable. A standard yoga mat is about an eighth of an inch thick, while the bulkier ones are up to a quarter inch. How do you know which is best for you? The things you need to consider are portability and the level of comfort you prefer while doing yoga. If you don’t mind carrying a little more weight for the sake of more cushioning, consider getting a yoga mat that’s about a quarter inch thick. But if you need to put the mat in a bag or suitcase, then go for a thinner foldable mat.


Most mats are made of PVC, which provides a smooth surface and has the highest sticky factor. So if you’re not very good at balancing or need extra help staying put in your poses, PVC mats might be your best bet. However, PVC is considered a toxic plastic that’s difficult to recycle. Environment-friendly textures like natural and recycled rubber, natural cotton or jute are more suitable if sustainability is important to you. Eco mats often have raised, tactile patterns to provide similar traction to that offered by PVC too.


The traction of yoga mats depends largely on the texture and material. You don’t want to slip off the mat when practising yoga, and that’s why stickiness matters. A ‘sticky’ mat keeps you from slipping, helps you maintain your balance and makes it easier for you to move from one pose to another. With a sticky mat, you can perform any style of yoga that requires holding a pose for longer periods of time.


You’ll find many yoga mats that are cheap, colorful and have a short life span. It pays to do some research and know your goals before making hasty decisions. You’ll want to determine your budget and purpose of practising yoga. As far as pricing goes, yoga mats start from about $10 and go up to $100 or more. If you want to make a commitment to yoga, and prioritize safety and comfort, then investing in a premium yoga mat can benefit you in the long run.

When it comes to buying a yoga mat, so much depends on personal preference and the style of yoga you’re practising. If you’re interested in taking up yoga classes, contact us to get started!

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.