Frequently Asked Questions
I have never done yoga before. Can I come to any class?
Most of the classes are 'All Levels' or 'General' meaning anyone can come. The only classes which require previous experience are Wednesday evening 7.30pm at Orchard Vale School (booked through Petroc) and Ashtanga yoga workshop on the weekends.
What should I wear and what should I bring?
Please wear loose clothes and don't wear tights as it's best to do the standing postures bare feet. Please bring a yoga mat and a blanket, but if you don't have a mat I have a few to lend. (There are mats in blocks at Tarka Clinic and the River Rooms)
If you already have yoga blocks and belt, you can bring them but it is completely optional.
I'm not flexible/not very fit/ over weight. Is it ok to come?
Of course! Anyone can come at any age, any sex, any level of fitness and it's never too late to start.
I have injuries/medical condition. Can I still come?
Many students have been practising for long time with injuries or medical conditions and they enjoy and benefit very much.
Most doctors are happy for you to take up yoga but if your injuries and conditions are recent or if you are concerned, please talk to your doctor before starting the class.
I'm on holiday here in North Devon. Can I just come for a session or two?
Yes, visitors are welcome at Bideford classes (Alwington hall) and Tarka Clinic, Barnstaple and the workshops.
The classes at Orchard Vale School and Pilton are run by Petroc and need to be enrolled termly.
Also Atsuko can come to your holiday accommodation for private lessons. Please message.
At your 'General class', how come beginners and experienced students can practise together?
In each class there are many postures we go through, some are easy and some are a little challenging. The harder postures usually have alternative easier versions. Also there is never pressure to do everything, so if you are getting tired or not sure about any posture, you can just skip it or rest in resting postures until you are ready to join again.
Yoga is not competitive and everyone practise at their own pace. You may feel a little self-conscious if it's your first class but everyone else is too busy to look at you!!
Tell me what happens in a class.
We start with gentle warm up and tuning in. Then we do 3-5 sun salutations followed by standing postures, seated postures, inverted postures(don't worry!). Last 10-20 minutes are spent in meditation and relaxation. Everyone seems to come out of the class completely relaxed.
Is yoga purely physical or is there any spiritual aspect in it?
Yoga in its classical form (from about 2000 years ago) is one of the six branches of Hindu philosophy but yoga taught in the West today is Hatha Yoga, which is bacially physical yoga. ( Despite some misconception, any style of physical yoga is a type of Hatha yoga).
Many people start yoga purely for health and physical reasons and benefit enourmously. Some students may later develop interests in the spiritual aspect (like me). What you want to get out of yoga is completely up to you, which, by the way, includes meeting new people and have fun!
In the class there is not time to talk about this aspect of yoga, but if you are interested I can discuss with you outiside the class or direct you to books and materials. In Yoga and Mindfulness Workshop we sometimes touch upon some spiritual writings.
Whatever your interest is, remember 'Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory'!