Frequently asked questions
What is Iyengar Yoga?
Iyengar yoga is an approach to Hatha yoga developed by BKS Iyengar, author of Light on Yoga, Light on Pranayama and many other texts. In this form of yoga the emphasis is on the performance of the classical yoga asanas (postures) with attention to detail and alignment. The approach is disciplined and progressive and students are given individual attention and correction. Teachers undergo rigorous training and continual professional development including visits to India to be taught by the Iyengar family. See the section - About Iyengar Yoga for further information.
What are the benefits of yoga?
Yoga increases flexibility, stamina and improves posture. Most people find increased levels of energy and an enhanced feeling of well-being. Regular practice of yoga increases awareness and brings emotional stability and inner peace.
What is Pranayama?
Pranayama may be loosely translated as breath control. It is used in yoga as a separate practice to help clear and cleanse the body and mind. Pranayama is taught in the Intermediate class at the end of each month. Basic "breath awareness" exercises are introduced and restorative postures are taught at the end of each month in Fiona Sarjeant’s Beginners classes.
Where do I start with classes?
You should join a beginners or general level class which will include a mixture of abilities.
What to expect at class
Iyengar Yoga is taught in a systematic way building on foundation asanas or postures with inverted asanas (headstand and shoulder stand) introduced over time and according to the student’s ability. Asana are referred to by their Sanskrit (Indian) name e.g. adho mukha svanasana = head down dog pose. Equipment such as foam blocks, belts, Indian cotton blankets, wooden bricks and sticky yoga mats are used in classes to help students to perform some of the asanas. Teachers are trained to adjust students and will recommend the use of certain props or equipment where necessary.
Each class will begin in a similar manner, working with gentle stretches before commencing on the main work of the class. This may comprise standing postures, twists, forward bends, back bends, inverted postures finishing with savasana (relaxation).
Please do not eat heavily before a class – allow 2 hours to pass after a light meal, 4 hours to pass after a heavy meal. Please do not bring water bottles to class, but rather wait until after the class for refreshments.
What should I wear?
Wear comfortable clothing that allows you to move easily (T-shirt, leggings, shorts etc.) It is best not to wear baggy trousers trailing on the ground as the teacher needs to see your feet and ankles, plus clothing should not interfere with your movement. Yoga is practised in bare feet. Socks and warmer garments should be brought for savasana (relaxation) at the end of each class.
Do I need to bring anything?
Teachers generally have some equipment at their class which may be used; however students may wish to purchase a yoga mat for use at home and class. Please note camping mats are not suitable. The usual equipment used at a class comprises: foam blocks, wooden bricks, Indian cotton blanket, cotton belts, chairs and a yoga mat but this will depend on what is being taught. Some equipment may be purchased from the teacher.
How often should I attend class?
You should try to attend as many classes as possible at an appropriate level. We run a number of workshops with visiting Iyengar teachers and these are strongly recommended for those wishing to work a bit more intensively.
Can I come to class if I am pregnant?
Yoga is beneficial to pregnancy and can help with labour however complete beginners should not attend normal classes except for the Tuesday night class in Beauly or Wednesday beginners class at Dunbar's Martial Arts Academy at Inverness Ice Rink before 9 weeks and after 13 weeks or more (during weeks 9 -12 it is not advisable to attend normal classes). For those with a history of repeated miscarriage, spotting etc. a more remedial class is appropriate - please contact us for further information.
I have got a back problem - will yoga help?
Yoga can help strengthen a weak back however you should consult your doctor first and speak to the teacher before attending classes.
Home practice – how do I begin?
To progress in Yoga it is necessary to develop a home practice in addition to attending weekly class(es). It is more beneficial to do a little each day rather than a big splurge of practice at the weekend. Try and find a time in the day when you will be left at peace, free from interruptions. Have a start and finish to your session i.e. sitting or lying quietly to begin with and always finish with at least 5 minutes savasana (relaxation) or preferably more if your session lasts 1 hour. Please look at our "developing a home practice" page for practice sheets.