Our Yoga Kapiti

FAQs & concerns

What do I wear to class?

Wear something comfortable and stretchy. Not too tight. You’ll be moving your body and the last thing you need is to feel constricted by tight, non-stretchy clothing. Girls, if you’re worried your boobs might drop out when you’re in Downward Facing Dog, simply wear a fitting (but not too tight) crop top underneath. You can wear yoga pants if you like, or maybe some track pants with an ankle cuff. Boys, you might like to wear a pair of long shorts or track pants. You don’t need to fork out for fancy activewear. Just try to wear something that allows you to move easily and that breathes. If anyone splits their pants, don’t worry!! I’m most likely the only one who will see and I’ll help you out without drawing attention to you or making a fuss. We practice with bare feet for Power Yoga, but you can wear socks for Yin Yoga. Shoes off at the door please.

I get terrible cramp!!!

Me too. And for me, it’s possibly diet related. There were two ways I approached this painful interruption to my yoga practice. First, I made sure I was sufficiently hydrated at least an hour before class. Plus, I used to wear yoga socks which seemed to help by keeping my feet warm. The second was, I started teaching. Now, I know that most of you are not planning on heading in that direction, but let me tell you how teaching helped me deal with recurring cramp. I had to ignore it. When you’re demonstrating poses to students you have no time for cramp. And students don’t need to see you doubled over, massaging the cramping spot with a big grimace on your face when they’re in the midst of their practice. What I’m saying is, and this won’t apply to everyone, but I do think there is a bit of room for mind over matter when it comes to cramp. I learnt to ignore it. When I mentally ignored it, my cramping muscles relaxed. That’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it. Oh, and a third option is (with guidance from your doctor) to use a magnesium cramp spray. It might work for you.

OMG, I farted in class!!

If you can introduce me to anyone who has never farted in their life, I will give you a lifetime free pass to classes.

Everyone farts! Have a laugh if that makes you feel better, or better still, just ignore it. Honestly, chances are that nobody will notice because we all focus on our own practice during class.

That said, it would pay to be conscious of avoiding foods that result in the old “silent but violent” fart. Stink bombs are not so pleasant (or funny) in a warm, confined space. So prevention is better than cure. Maybe stay off the curry the night before class.

If it happens, it happens. Nobody ever died from smelling a fart.

I’m worried about getting smelly when I sweat.

Please be considerate of your fellow yogis and make sure you are clean before class – especially feet and armpits.

Please do use deodorant (natural or standard, I’m not bothered), but avoid wearing strong smelling cologne or perfume when coming to class.

Power Yoga is a physical practice. There’s a good chance you’ll get a sweat up in a class. Don’t worry about it. As long as you’re not flicking your sweat onto other people, there’s no problem.

I clean the mats and blocks after every class, but if you’re sensitive about sharing mats, feel free to bring your own, or perhaps a yoga towel to lay on top of our mats.

Isn’t yoga all about music and chanting?

You may have heard that yoga classes have strange music and everyone chants. Different styles of yoga and different yoga teachers have different ways of practicing.

I love going to a class where everyone chants Om or Aum at the beginning and end of class. But at this point in time, we don’t Om in Our Yoga classes. I’m keen if everyone else is, but I’ve tried to introduce it and it didn’t fly. Which might say more about me, than it does about my students.

I’ve heard that there are some classes here on the Kapiti Coast which do offer chanting and singing as part of the practice. Let me know if that’s your thing and I’ll give you some recommendations.

Music is a tricky one. Personally, I prefer to practice in silence. However I tend to play quiet background music during class. Mostly, that music is either instrumental or sung in a language other than English.

The reason for the latter is I have taught classes with modern English language songs and it has sometimes brought up some ‘stuff’ for students. Music has the ability to uplift us, but often also has an emotional memory link to some past event or person. By using mostly foreign language music, students can hear the beat and melody, but are not emotionally connecting to it.

I’m expecting a call – can I leave my phone on?

Short answer . . . no, you can’t. Having said that, I did agree (once) for a student to leave their phone on buzz next to their mat because it was their birthday and they were expecting an overseas call from their child. Exceptions can be made if there’s a good reason. But as a rule, please either turn your phone off or put it on silent – and put it away in the storage cubby in the yoga room. The 60-90 minutes you spend in class is your time. The world can surely wait for you to emerge from class.

I’m going to be late – I need to leave early.

Try to get to class five minutes before we start.

It’s a courtesy to your fellow yogis to be on time because some need class to run on time so they can leave on time. So please let me know if you’ll be late for class and we’ll start without you. My phone is on silent ten minutes before class begins, so try to let me know before then.

I close the gate as class begins (so our dog doesn’t roam), but if I know you’re on your way I’ll leave it open for you. Then you can close the gate behind you when you come in and join us.

If we are quite a way through, I suggest you take a moment in Child’s Pose to get yourself grounded, and then run through a couple of rounds of Sun Salutations A to warm up before joining us.

If you need to leave early once in a while, that’s cool. The only thing I ask is that you do not leave during Savasana. I will always let you know when we are about to take that final pose, so that is your opportunity to quietly pack up your things and head off.

I can’t touch my toes.

Simple answer: that’s what you come to yoga for. But . . . it may be that you may never touch your toes. And that is okay. We are all made differently. Some of us have really short hamstrings, for example. Get to know your own body and its limitations, and modify accordingly. I’ll help you learn. In this example you could simply soften your knees. Easy peasy. The same applies for curvaceous bodies. Whether it’s an ample bosom, or a belly and thighs that get in the way, you may just need to pick up and shift those ‘bits’ in order to make yourself comfortable. If lying on your back limits your breathing, then don’t do it. Talk to me about it. I can find you a modification that suits your physical frame and ensures you are safe and comfortable. Those with slight frames, or who have dodgy knees, might need to use cushions, blankets, double mats or bolsters to be comfortable. We have plenty of these at the studio. Again, get to know your body. Grab what you need when you come to class and have it on hand to use whenever you need to. You don’t need to ask permission.

I want to do my own thing in class.

Those who have a solid practice under their belt may have developed a favourite Vinyasa or way to enter a pose. For example, I quite fancy taking Three Legged Dog before stepping forward into Warrior I. I find it helps me get more lift, so I can get my foot forward easier. So, if I’m a student in a class, and my teacher asks us to step forward into Warrior I, I’ll probably take Three Legged Dog to get me there. I have no problem with students bringing their own practice to the mat. I just ask you to be considerate of your fellow yogis if you are not following my guidance to the letter. If you are doing something incredibly different from them, it may be really distracting, which isn’t fair on them. So just bear that in mind and we’ll be all good.

I’m exhausted and need to take a break.

You’ll probably find, from week to week, that you come to your mat with a different energy level. You may have had a rubbish sleep the night before. Or your diet has been a bit deficient. There are many reasons for low energy levels. Sometimes it is emotional or stress-related. My message to you is do what you can and take breaks when you need to. A couple of options when you need a break are: Child’s Pose If you’re overwhelmed, puffed, just feel like it, drop back into Child’s Pose until you’re ready to join the rest of us. Corpse Pose Simply lay down on your back, let your hands and feet drop out, close your eyes and relax. The trick is to be aware of what’s happening in your body and mind. If you develop self-awareness you will notice when you need to take a break. Just do it! The class will carry on around you and nobody will make a fuss. It is a sign of good self-awareness and good self-care when you learn not to overdo it. I always smile to myself when I see students drop their knees in a High or Side Plank, for example. It makes me happy to see people leave their egos at the door and practice to their capacity on the day. It is not a competition.

Can I ask questions during class?

I absolutely welcome questions. But timing is everything.

The Beginner’s or Level 1 Power Yoga class, in particular, is a place where questions arise quite often. If we’re in the midst of a flowing sequence and you’re unsure of something, just take a break until we next pause, then I’ll come to you and see what’s going on. That way, the rest of the class isn’t interrupted mid-flow.

I will be watching everyone practice, so you can easily get my attention during class if you need to know something. Just catch my eye or give me a wave and I’ll come to you.

If your question is one that I feel the whole class could learn from, I might share it if that’s okay.