Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need prior experience of yoga or mindfulness to attend a class?
I recommend some prior experience of yoga to attend a Vinyasa Flow class, however, no experience is required for the other yoga classes as they are gentler and slower paced which allows time to build familiarity with the poses and to foster intuition in the body.
An orientation call will be held with you to determine whether mindfulness is right for you, before the classes commence.
Read about the different forms of yoga here.
Is yoga suitable for me if I lack flexibility, am unfit or overweight?
"We use the pose to get into the body: not the body to get into the pose".
Yoga may appear to be a self-selecting activity for those who are fortunate enough to be naturally flexible and fit. However, at Whole you will encounter a teaching method that encourages introspection and interoception - paying attention in order to attune to feelings in the body. You are invited to step inside your experience, to recognise sensations, rather than manipulating the body to get into a pose. By paying attention you will learn to differentiate between 'good' sensations, neutral ones, or 'bad', painful sensations.
Also, there is a style of yoga suitable for everyone. If you feel you lack mobility and/or fitness perhaps consider a Hatha or Yin class to begin with. There is no destination in yoga practice, the journey is what matters. Take your time, set an intention for practising, foster compassion for yourself and avoid judgment and evaluation of your practice.
We encourage the use of props in class for everyone for different reasons. For experienced practitioners, props may facilitate more depth in poses and avoid injury. For beginners and/or naturally inflexible students, props provide support and prevent injury in the body. See more on the use of props below.
What do I need for class?
Prepare to make this a special time for you to connect with your inner resources for health and well-being.
You need a yoga mat and an array of props depending on the class (see below for suggestions). Some people like to have a blanket and eye pillow for Savasana at the end of class, but this is not essential.
It takes time and practice to learn how your body can be best supported during meditation. At the beginning, it's useful to have a regular, straight backed chair, cushion, pillow and rolled up blanket to experiment with.
We practise body scan meditations and lying yoga postures on yoga mats or blankets on the ground. Wear warm layers in mindfulness classes as the body can become cold from the stillness.
Why do you use props?
Many students and teachers unconsciously equate using a prop with cheating. However, the intention of yoga at Whole is not to look any particular way, rather the intention is to feel a particular way. If props help to get sensation in a targeted area, use the props!
Key reasons for using props in yoga:
to increase stress in a desired area;
to decrease stress in an undesired area;
to create length and space;
to make certain poses accessible;
to provide support; and
to increase comfort.
What props do I need?
Props need not be bespoke, expensive and fancy looking yoga or meditation equipment. Cushions, pillows or a rolled up yoga mat are wonderful substitutes for a bolster or meditation cushion/bench. Scarves and neckties can act as straps. A book or shoebox can replace a yoga block. Even the leg of a chair, the wall, or a stair (used wisely!) can serve as a prop. Be creative and support your body with esoteric resources from your own home.
What should I consider before practising?
Regardless of the form of yoga you practice, it is advisable to consider the most common precautions below, noting this is not an exhaustive list.
If you are pregnant or have serious health concern such as a joint injury, recent surgery, epilepsy, diabetes or any cardiovascular diseases (especially high blood pressure), discuss your intention to practice yoga with your doctor or health-care professional.
Avoid wearing perfume, cologne and lotions when you practice yoga or meditation in person Conscious breathing is part of the practice, and deeply inhaling these fumes is not advisable for you or your fellow classmates.
Avoid big meals and excessive fluid intake for at least 1 hour before practising yoga.
Wait at least 30 minutes before practicing yoga when you wake up in the morning.
If you are already physically exhausted, a yin like practice may be more beneficial than an active style of yoga.
Consider removing watches and anything metallic that makes a complete circle around the body. If practical, remove glasses too.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing so that the body is not restricted. Unlike Vinyasa Flow and Hatha Yoga, Yin and the yoga postures performed in mindfulness classes do not build much heat internally in the body, so wearing layers or keeping a sweater, blankets or socks closeby can be beneficial, especially for Savasana at the end of class.
Have yoga props, cushions, blankets, etc. handy for padding and support.
Avoid drafts and cold flowing air.
Remove obvious distractions: turn your phone off, put your pet in another room, tell family members that you are enjoying some quiet time.
Why do I need to complete a medical questionnaire and disclaimer for yoga class or have an orientation call for mindfulness?
Before embarking on any of yoga or mindfulness practice, please ensure you are able to do so safely. Check with your doctor or health-care professional if you have an existing condition(s) or concerns, physically or emotionally. The guidance given on this website and communicated in classes is not intended to replace medical advice. While care has been taken in compiling guidance, Whole cannot take responsibility for any adverse effects from your practice. When you are unsure of any aspect of the practice, or feel unwell, seek medical advice.
If you have physical limitations that are so serious that it would be difficult or damaging for you to engage in class it is beneficial to simply imagine doing them. Neurologists report that vividly imagining physical movement involves the same motor neurons that are employed as when we actually physically move.
If you suffer from depression, general anxiety disorder, suicidal thoughts, or physical illness kindly consult with your doctor, therapist or psychiatrist before joining a mindfulness class. There are tailored Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) which may be better suited to specific clinical needs, for example, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT ) is a program for people
suffering from depressive relapse. There are similar MBIs for eating disorders, and addiction, among others.
What happens if I need to cancel a class?
We understand that life sometimes has a habit of turning out differently to how we expect but we are unable to refund fees paid in advance for classes.
Participation in mindfulness classes requires a commitment from you to set aside quiet time in your life. It may also require patience, understanding and a shift in responsibilities in dependents, partners, other family members, pets or housemates who need to respect the need for privacy and lower noise levels at this time. It is, therefore, important to involve and consider these people in your decision to devote time to mindfulness practice.
Fees paid are not refundable in any circumstances other than with the prior written consent of Whole Yoga & Mindfulness.