Today’s installment of Yoga Hacks will be on the most commonly asked questions about yoga! This is compiled from my own experiences with various yoga-related questions on my tumblr over the past year, and hopefully I can help to clear up these doubts once and for all!
This post will be a compilation for top 10 most commonly asked questions about yoga, so if you’ve had a burning question that you’ve always wanted to ask about yoga, this may just be the post for you! If at the end of this post and your question is not being answered, feel free to drop me a comment below so I can help you (and other yogis) out!
Q1. How many times should I practice a week?
There is no hard and fast rule on how many times you should practice a week. Some people have a consistent daily practice and a daily practice can be extremely beneficial for you! However, if you are incorporating yoga into other fitness routines that you may already have, 2 to 3 times a week is a good gauge.
It all depends on how you feel (physically and emotionally) that week. If you’re not feeling too good, it’s totally fine to skip that yoga practice. Mental well-being is a lot more important than squeezing in that extra yoga session if you’re feeling under the weather! Listen to your body.
Q2. Does yoga help in weight loss and/or toning?
I personally don’t like to see yoga as a means to weight loss. That being said, it is certainly possible to shed some weight with the help of yoga, especially when you’re doing dynamic styles of yoga such as bikram yoga, hatha yoga, vinyasa yoga, ashtanga yoga, that gets your heart pumping. For gentler styles of yoga, naturally weight loss will not be the main point of it because it is more relaxing and restorative.
Therefore, it depends on the style of yoga you are looking at. If you are just looking for a sport to lose weight, there are many more effective ways to lose weight such as high intensity interval training (HIIT), zumba, running, skipping. Similar for strengthening your muscles, yoga really challenges your strength and balance in many ways. But there are also many other sport that help you gain more strength, such as weightlifting and pilates.
The unique thing about yoga is that it is really calming, teaches you to be in the present and enjoy what there is in front of you without worrying about the past and/or future. Same goes with all sorts of sports, you should do what you love, and not see a sport as a means to an end!
Q3. Do I need to be flexible to do yoga?
No, you do not need to be flexible to do yoga! Think about it, that’s like asking if you need to know how to play basketball before even learning it. In fact, you do yoga to become more flexible. Everyone starts somewhere and different people have different starting points. What’s more important is to accept your own starting point, and keep moving forward. <:
Q4. What should I eat before/after yoga class?
Similarly, there is no hard and fast rule and it really depends how fast you digest food. If you are worried about going to a yoga class hungry, you can have a banana or yogurt around an hour before the yoga class. However, it is not advisable to go to yoga class with a full stomach, as all the twisting and turning around may make you feel nauseous, especially if you are in a hot yoga class.
After yoga class, you should have a post work-out snack (chocolate milk, banana, smoothie, yogurt etc) within an hour so you can fully maximise the benefits your body is reaping from the workout. However, don’t eat or drink too much if you just got out from a hot yoga class, let your body cool down and acclimatise to the normal room temperature before eating/drinking. Take sips of water if you’re really thirsty and not gulp them down!
Q5. What should I do if I don’t feel too well in the middle of class?
If you’re feeling unwell in the middle of the class, stop what you’re doing and just come into child’s pose, or lie down in savasana. Most importantly, keep taking long and deep breaths and do not hyperventilate. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth to calm yourself down.
If you are in a hot yoga class, do not exit the room. This is because when you exit the room, your body might be shocked by the drastic change in temperature and you may pass out. Just lie down on the mat, taking long and deep breaths, and if you’re really thirsty, take tiny sips of water. Also do not wipe all the sweat off your body, as that might cause your body to heat up even more. The sweat on your body helps to regulate your body temperature as the sweat evaporates, it helps to cool you down a little too.
Just lie down and breathe. If you feel better, you can always jump back into the class. If not, it is perfectly fine to just lie down on the mat throughout, and speak to your yoga teacher after that to see what might have gone wrong. <:
Q6. What kind of props should I be using during my yoga class?
There are always yoga blocks and straps that you can use to help you get deeper into a pose. This is for both beginner and advanced yogis! Don’t be embarrassed just because you may be the only person in the class using the yoga block or strap. Sometimes it helps to adjust our posture and alignment, and that way we can reap greater benefits from the pose.
Q7. Should I do yoga when I’m on my period?
It depends on individuals and how you feel that way. If you’re feeling good, it’s perfectly fine to go for a yoga class! However, it is not advisable to do inversions when you’re on your period, because when you are menstruating, it is seen as a form of outward moving energy. Doing inversions reverse the flow of outward moving energy and may in turn cause blockages and problems.
It is always good to do some light yoga especially if you don’t feel too good during shark week. Check out this yoga guide for menstrual cramps – this is a restorative yoga flow that helps you ease discomfort and pain in your lower back.
Q8. What kind of yoga class should I go for if I am a beginner?
Most yoga classes are multi-level (unless stated otherwise) so technically you can go for any yoga class you like! If you’re unsure, you can always check with the yoga studio to see if they have any specific classes that they would recommend for beginners, as beginner classes may have a slower pace and focus more on technique and alignment. Hatha yoga, yin yoga, and bikram yoga are great for beginners because it’s more static and therefore it’s not too difficult for beginners to know what’s going on. On the other hand, vinyasa yoga is more dynamic and fast moving, so beginners going to that class might be a little lost or confused if the pace of the class is too quick.
Different yoga studios operate differently so it is best to check with your yoga studio before signing up for your first class!
Q9. Is there an age limit in practicing yoga?
There is no age limit in practicing yoga! Some yoga studios may not allow people under 16 to join their studios but that’s because of liability issues because you’re not an adult yet. However, you can always get started on home practice using the online resources available until you are old enough to go to a yoga studio!
Most importantly, practice safely and know your body’s limits. That’s the best way to prevent injuries!
Q10. I’m going for my first yoga class, is there any advice that you can give me?
Always remember that there is no hard and fast rule in yoga. In your first yoga class, you are bound to feel a little confused, lost, and not know what’s going on. There will always be people in class who seem to know what they are doing, but remember that they were once you! They went through their first yoga class as well <: If you’re unsure, always ask the yoga instructor – he/she will be more than happy to help you out <:
Yoga is a deeply personal practice. Your practice differs from any other people out there, so don’t let other people’s progress or yoga practice affect you. Focus on yourself on the mat, and have fun! If you fall out of the pose, laugh a little. <: Be open-minded to the whole experience, and it will get better <:
Here are some posts that will be extremely helpful if you’re totally new to yoga, such as how to pick your first yoga mat, what to expect when you go for your first yoga class, and what kind of online resource you can look at when starting a home practice <:
I hope this cleared up some questions for you guys out there! If you have any burning questions about yoga, comment on this post and I’ll add them into the list.