Full Circle Wellness, the holistic approach to Kinesiology, Nutrition & Fitness 

Yoga for Non-Yogis

by Claire, 6 months ago

Renee Watson from The Source Pilates and Yoga Studio in Constantia has written us a special guest-blog post – a handy guide to Yoga for Non-Yogis! Check it out!


EVERYONE has heard of Yoga (unless you’ve been living in a cave, in which case you probably are too Zen for Yoga!) and we all know what Downward Facing Dog is. But not everyone has actually tried a Yoga class and that leads to the question… When?

I come from a Pilates background… I do Pilates, I teach Pilates, and I teach teachers to teach Pilates. I’m confident in my physical ability to do Yoga but it took me a long time to try a class because it seemed intended for those more ‘spiritual’ or ‘enlightened’. So how is it that I’ve become a Yoga teacher and have fallen in love with this practice?

10007431_559236460859165_18925593_nA little background…

When my Pilates studio had to re-locate three years ago, the hunt started for new premises. We had been spoiled for over 13 years in our serene space… a renovated barn, beside a huge pine tree, with views of the mountains, and yet ridiculously close to civilization and cappuccinos. Plus we had a wonderful following of clients that we obviously didn’t want to lose.

My business partner, Bryan, and I started looking. First at warehouses (wouldn’t a Soho vibe be cool?)… then at houses (nice and cosy?)… and then there IT was! Driving down Kendal Road one day, we happened to glance over and saw the bottom field of Herzlia School with all the bunnies hanging out. We were smitten.

Everything fell into place and we signed a lease for this amazing space. And for the first time, we had a chance to expand and include Yoga. Bryan had been doing Yoga for years and loved Bikram classes. So, as one does, we built a hot Yoga studio. What an event! We had no idea the logistics involved from ordering heaters and humidifiers from Australia… to inspections from fire marshalls… to expanding our brand to include Yoga…

And has it been worth the time, money, nail-biting, and effort?
YES. Simply yes.

Yoga has been around for thousands of years. Millions of people in India have done it and now millions of Westerners are doing it. Something must be working for Yoga to have this massive following. Yoga is actually a lifestyle which encompasses eight limbs (such as non-violence and breathing) but of course we equate Yoga with the physical practice called Asana.

Now, there are clients that are die-hard Pilates people and there are clients that are devoted Yogis. And as you may know, there are clients that are avid gym-goers and sports people. Different disciplines can, and should, contribute to our ability. So frankly, there is no reason why we shouldn’t embrace them all!

I have personally found a wonderful cross-over between Pilates and Yoga. Pilates provides a solid foundation of stabilizing our joints and engaging our muscles correctly. It’s about placement and core strength and I bring this to my Yoga mat every time. Yoga has opened my mind to seamless flow, to challenging postures (called asana in Yoga and pronounced AH-se-ne) and to moving meditation. And I bring this dimension to my Pilates session every time.

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Are all Yoga classes the same?

Short answer: NO.
Long answer: There are many different styles of Yoga but the most common question is “Is this a hot class?”. Some Yoga classes (such as Hot 90 or Bikram) are heated to 38° with 40% humidity. It’s a major sweat and detox, and definitely not for those that suffer from claustrophobia! Other classes (such as Vinyasa Hot Flow) are heated to 32° and no humidity. This also gets your blood flowing and a few driplets of sweat on your mat. And yet other classes (such as Vinyasa) are not heated at all. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not going to sweat though… it’s still a challenging practice! You’ll also notice a few other classes like Kundalini (more focused on breathwork) and Ashtanga (a set sequence based on Sun Salute) on our menu. Be adventurous and check them all!

The cool thing about The Source is that we limit the class size for Yoga. Because we also come from a Pilates background where classes are small, we’re very aware of giving clients as much attention as possible. We will only 24 participants in each class. So for beginners, you can get the guidance and corrections when needed.

Some useful tips…

• Bring a towel (or two). One for your mat and one for your brow.
• Put some electrolytes in your water bottle. Especially for the hot classes.
• Listen to your body. Take a break when you need to. Everyone is watching themselves… not you.
• Be quiet once you’re in the Yoga studio. SHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
• Arrive early. We won’t allow anyone in once the class starts.
• If you’re a newbie, set up at the back and center. You can watch others around you.
• Savasana before and after class. Life is a rush. Here’s your chance to slow down. Pause.
• Savasana literally means ‘Corpse Pose’. Play dead. Don’t move.
• Be lighthearted. Yoga doesn’t mean we have to take life too seriously.

Okay… so now that you have the low-down on Yoga and it’s benefits, you can decide when you’re going to take the plunge.

Here’s the drill… go to our website www.thesourcecapetown.co.za or Facebook (The Source Cape Town)… check out the schedule and choose a class… show up at The Source… rent a mat from the front desk if you don’t have your own… re-read the useful tips list above… enjoy your fabulous Yoga class… hang out to marinade in the peace and quiet…

and hey presto… you’re a Yogi!

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