How fit do I need to be?
I was “overweight” and out of shape when I took up yoga and even after all these years I’m certainly no svelte uber-athlete. The Beginner Yoga Class is the most gentle practice if you want the easiest way in. Regardless, since all the classes I teach are private or semi-private we’re going to start wherever you are, so there’s no class full of stretchy people to try to keep up with or compare yourself to. However, no matter how fit you are or aren’t, if you’re new to yoga, you’re going to “feel it.” The more frequently you practice, the faster your body will start accepting the new space you’re creating. PLEASE get an okay from your healthcare practitioner before you start yoga or any other physically-demanding exercise routine. Don’t skip that step. If you have a disability, suffer with chronic pain or if you’re completely sedentary, see your doctor and then contact me a few days BEFORE you sign up for a class.
What if I'm not very flexible?
Then yoga’s for you. Flexibility isn’t where you start — it’s where you go with yoga. No matter which class you choose to start with, I’m going to ask you to arrive a little early so we can talk about your current level physical fitness and your intention for your yoga practice, have you complete and sign a student waiver form and I’ll explain, in general terms, how yoga poses are modified so that new students can gradually and safely find their way. Every class is different by virtue of the yogis in attendance and everyone has their own challenges no matter how fit they are. You just have to take it “bird by bird.”
Why is there such a variety of classes?
Everyone’s different; everyone begins yoga in their own way, in their own place and at their own pace; and I enjoy designing the class sequences. If you’re finding it all a little overwhelming, start with the Beginner Yoga Class or choose one that just feels right, fits the physical or mental space you’re in right now or just choose the bird you like. Eventually, if you stick with it, your yoga journey will become a very personal practice that includes postures you love and others you struggle with: kinda like life. There is one yoga chicks class but please note that it’s not appropriate for expectant mothers or new mums.
When to arrive?
On travelling to Mellieha
I understand that getting to Mellieha for a private, beginner yoga class isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. If that’s what’s keeping you from starting your yoga journey, message one of the other awesome yoga teachers in your area of Malta and ask them if you can come a little early to a group class for a short introduction or whether they teach individual classes. I really think you’ll find it to be worth it.
What to bring?
Your own yoga mat, a yoga strap (if you have one,) water and a gym towel.
When and what to eat?
It’s best to practice yoga no less than 2-3 hours after eating. If you’re a little hungry before or during class that’s perfectly normal. If you absolutely have to have a snack, chew on a few (that’s three where I come from) almonds or half a banana at least a half an hour before class. If you are diabetic or have other blood sugar concerns I’m assuming you know how your body works and you’ll take the steps necessary to ensure you’re fit for class.
What to drink?
You need to stay hydrated, especially during Malta summer classes — but don’t overdo it.
What to wear?
Whatever you’d ordinarily wear to the gym or to run. It’s not a fashion show around here. I prefer a loose t-shirt and stretchy running shorts — ones without pockets (especially the zippered ones in the back) are best — it sucks to lay your lower back on a zipper, or worse, the house keys you stuffed in there. Please wear deodorant — preferably scent free.
What happens after my first yoga class?
I’ll give you an easy take-away practice sheet. There are no Yoga Police (okay — maybe a few…) so it’s okay to keep a notepad next to your mat at home, take it to class, keep track of your yoga intentions; and pause whenever you have to: jot down what’s working, what isn’t and anything that doesn’t make sense or doesn’t feel right — like keeping a yoga journal.
How long does it take to get good at yoga?
As long as you practice. Yeah, sorry, that’s a sort of shallow answer. When a few days have passed without practising and something inside you is missing it, you’re a yogi. Just keep coming back to the mat.
What if I get a pose wrong, do one out of order or forget something?
See above. You wouldn’t expect to shoot perfect hoops, ride a bicycle or play a piano concerto in one hour. Mission 1: Show up on your mat; Mission 2: Stand tall, ground yourself, breathe in, breathe out. Mission 3: Be present, listen and practice as much or as little as your body tells you to. Mission 4: Savasana.
Can I bring my partner?
There’s enough space here for up to three yogis to practice, so sure — you can bring a friend or two or your significant other, just please include the names of any yogis coming with you in the booking form. The Couples Yoga Class is designed for two people to experience a practice together — in other words you’re going to need to be comfortable touching, holding, stretching and supporting the other person.
Do I have to learn the asanas' Sanskrit names?
Nope. But here are a few easy ones: Navasana: [Boat Pose] Think of “navy” and the six-pack abs you could have if you could repeatedly stay in this pose for more than a few breaths; Balasana: [Child’s Pose] Think of a kid’s ball or the ball that you’re curled down into in that posture; Trikonasana: [Triangle Pose] This one should be as easy to remember as 1-2-3; Tadasana [Mountain Pose] was one of the first asanas I managed to remember. Since practically every practice begins in this pose, each time I show up on the mat I figure, “Ta Da! I did it!”; Savasana: [Corpse Pose] After you complete a few practices you will never forget the name of this posture. It’s the most important pose of all and the one that every yogi looks forward to. In fact, there are yoga t-shirts that read, “I’m only here for the Savasana!”
…more Sanskrit asanas, translations and images at Wikipedia
…more Sanskrit asanas, translations and images at Wikipedia
Will yoga help me discover the meaning of life?
“The great psychologist Viktor Frankl, survivor of three concentration camps, found presumptuousness in the age-old question: ‘What is the meaning of life?’ As though it is someone else’s responsibility to tell you. Instead, he said, the world is asking you that question. And it’s your job to answer with your actions. In every situation, life is asking us a question, and our actions are the answer. Our job is simply to answer well.” — an excerpt from “The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph” by Ryan Holiday
I have another question…
Groovy! Give me a shout!