Frequently asked questions
What are the benefits of Iyengar 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.
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.
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 Wednesday 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 our Tuesday and Wednesday Introductory/General classes.
Where do I start with classes?
You should join a Level 1 class which may 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. 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.
Please arrive early for your first class in order to fill out a one-off medical declaration form. Your information will be kept strictly private and confidential.
Wear light clothing, t-shirt, shorts or leggings.
Fluids may be drunk up to 30 mins before class. No water should be drunk during class unless absolutely necessary.
Try to leave 3-4 hours between meals and a yoga class. A light meal is ok 2 hours before.
Please turn off mobile phones or set them to ‘do not disturb’. Let the teacher know if you need to have your phone on for any specific reason
Do I need to bring anything?
Generally no. Teachers usually have mats and blankets at class which may be used, some students do purchase their own to bring to class. Please do not bring a water bottle as it is not advisable to sip water through the class, indeed it is counter-productive.
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. Current students who become pregnant are encouraged to continue at classes and it is important to let your teacher know as soon as possible (do not attend between weeks 9-15).
For those new to Yoga who wish to start during pregnancy it is possible to join classes run by a Junior Intermediate teacher in the second trimester of pregnancy (Week 16). These classes are:
- Tuesday 7pm to 8:30 in Beauly (see our classes page for further information)
- Wednesday 5:55pm - 7:10 in Inverness (see our classes page for further information)
For those with a history of repeated miscarriage, spotting etc. please contact us for further information.
Home practice – how do I begin?
It is highly beneficial to develop a home practice in addition to attending weekly classes. 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 or more.
You may find these sequences helpful. They were developed by the Iyengar Yoga Association of Greater New York.
- Level 1 has 4 sequences including Salamba Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) download here
- Level 2 has 4 sequences including Salamba Sirasana (headstand) download here
Timings are given for some poses; students are encouraged to do others to their own capacity; repetitions are encouraged over timings in order to avoid injury.
At our National Iyengar Yoga Day in January 2019 and 2020, we led a practice of 100 asanas - go on, challenge yourself!