Your frequently asked questions
Here I’ve answered your most frequently asked questions regarding yoga, breathing techniques and green living, including some further resources where you can learn about these subjects in much more detail.
If you can’t find the answer to your question on this page then please do get in touch.
Most of us are aware that yoga is a physical practice which is great for strengthening and stretching our bodies, whilst also giving our busy minds a chance to focus, quieten and calm. But also, yoga is a system to bring together our mind, body and inner awareness, which originates from India around 3,500 years ago.
For anyone looking to find out a bit more about what yoga is and where it comes from, I recommend taking a look at the following resources:
- Yoga Unveiled (documentary) – a comprehensive overview of yoga and it’s roots
- Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha by Swami Satyananda Saraswati (book) – a helpful guide to the different postures including illustrations, benefits of each asana and contraindications
- The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (scripture) – I recommend the commentaries by Swami Satchidananda, Jaganath Carrera and Georg Feuerstein, though there are many out there to choose from
There are many styles of yoga around these days. Fast-flowing, athletic styles of yoga such as vinyasa or ashtanga are great for an intense workout of the body, whereas restorative yoga is wonderful for focusing on the mind: letting go of stress and releasing tension. Yin yoga is paced for slowing down the mind but its asanas (postures) are mostly aimed at stretching joints and connective tissue to increase their flexibility.
In hatha yoga we hold asanas longer than fast-flowing modern styles. Some of these are restful, some are challenging, and after each one we take a calming pause. From the restful asanas and calming pauses you gain meditative, relaxing benefits, but the challenging asanas give you a similar feeling to that of a really satisfying workout.
My yoga teaching is based on the classical style of hatha but I also incorporate exercises to especially help office workers. This gives a combination of calming mental effects and physical benefits. Breathwork is a key area of interest and knowledge for me, and I and teach techniques that have been scientifically proven to reduce stress, pain and sickness.
Every class is specially created to provide what matters most to each business I work with, drawing from my detailed research, training and experience.
Yes I can! I get asked this question so many times that I’ve written a guide comparing the best eco-friendly yoga mats on the market. You can view the guide here.
For the businesses that I work with, I can save you money on most of the mats in this article (between 10% – 35% depending on the product) using my trade discount. To find out more please get in touch.
Firstly, if you haven’t already please go and see your doctor or healthcare practitioner to get full guidance on your injury or condition, be referred for specialist treatment and find out whether they think it’s suitable for you to practice yoga.
If they’re happy for you to practice then make sure you inform your yoga teacher before the class about your injury or condition. This means that they’ll be aware and can offer modifications that may be useful to you and help avoid further injury or bringing about symptoms.
If you’re attending one of my classes I’m always happy for you to email me before to inform me of your injury or condition, as I know it can be uncomfortable discussing this in front of a class.
Yoga teachers are here to guide and help you however they can, however it’s each individual’s responsibility to practice yoga with lots of their awareness in their bodies, to avoid causing (further) injury. I always say to stay present, go slowly and if anything feels painful, stop immediately.
It’s always best to check in with your doctor if they think it’s suitable for you to practice yoga during your current stage in pregnancy, especially if you have had any complications.
Lots of studios and gyms offer pregnancy classes to help you to feel as comfortable in your changing body as possible and support you in your pregnancy. Because these classes are taught by teachers who are experts in pregnancy yoga, they are very safe for you to attend.
If you plan to continue to attend you usual class whilst pregnant, it’s really important that you inform the teacher of your current stage in pregnancy so they can help you modify your practice.
Breathing techniques, also called breathwork refers to a whole host of different breath-based practices which can be used to create a specific benefit or state. This includes deep relaxation, focus, high energy, creativity and reduced pain. For many people it’s also a spiritual practice.
The Sanskrit word used in yoga for breathwork is ‘pranayama’, which roughly translates as “life force control”.
I’ve written a guide on a breathing technique to help relieve stress & increase focus which you can take a look at here.
If you want to find out more about the different types of breathing techniques then I suggest starting with the following resources:
- Breathe to Heal with Max Strom (Tedx Talk) – an inspiring watch from a highly experienced breathwork teacher
- Just Breathe by Dan Brule (book) – easy to read overview with step by step instructions to practice many key types of breathwork
- Light on Pranayama by B.K.S. Iyengar (book) – an indepth look into yogic pranayama
I teach many different styles of breathing techniques, from traditional yoga pranayama to more modern breath practices. I usually include at least one breath-based practice in each office yoga class, however I base what I teach on the needs of the class attendees.
A breathing technique that I commonly teach includes the Wim Hof technique as it’s been proven to switch on the immune system and reduce flu-like symptoms by 56%. You can read more about this breathwork here. I also often include Kapalabhati for it’s energising and focus producing benefits and coherent breathing, which is associated with a “relaxed yet ready”, positive state.
I’ve got an injury or a condition which affects my breathing technique practices – what should I do?
Firstly, please consult with your doctor or healthcare practitioner to find out if they think it’s suitable for you to practice breathing techniques.
Most non-strenuous breath practices such as coherent breathing, tactical breathing, box breathing, holotropic breathing and nadi shodhana are very safe to practice.
Other practices which can be more stimulating for the body such as the Wim Hof breathing technique, paradoxical breathing, kapalbhati and bhastrika should be avoided if you have high or low blood pressure, heart disease or a stomach ulcer.
As with physical exercise, if practicing breathing techniques and you feel pain, a strong discomfort or unwell, please stop immediately, and if needed, seek medical advice.
It’s always best to check with your doctor if they think it’s suitable for you to practice breathing techniques during your current stage in pregnancy, especially if you have had any complications.
Most breath practices which are stimulating and sometimes strenuous on the body such as the Wim Hof breathing technique, paradoxical breathing, kapalbhati and bhastrika are best to be avoided whilst pregnant.
Other more relaxing and gentle breathing techniques such as coherent breathing, tactical breathing, box breathing, holotropic breathing and nadi shodhana are safe to practice whilst pregnant, and in fact very helpful. However if you practice these and begin to feel, dizy, sick or uncomfortable in any way, please stop immediately and if needed, seek medical advice.
I use the term ‘living green’ to describe a way of life where we make our daily choices with the environment in mind, and try to reduce our negative impact as much as possible.
Living green is for the benefit of the planet and those we share it, making simple swaps in our everyday lives where we can, from reducing single-use plastics and buying local produce to giving fast fashion the boot. I also include adopting a vegan diet as a way of living green.
I try to follow the ‘7 Rs’ as much as possible, and encourage you to do the same!
Reuse. Repurpose. Rot. Repair. Return. Refill. Refuse
In traditional yoga, one of the main moral guidelines for practitioners is called ‘Ahimsa’, which means ‘non-harming’ or ‘non-violence’. This relates to all areas of our lives; reducing harm to ourselves, to others (including animals) but also to the environment.
If this if any area you’re interested in learning about, I’ve written a detailed post on this subject over on my Living Green Yoga blog.
I’m partnered with Green Earth Appeal to plant 3 trees for every office yoga class I teach. Throughout each trees life it’ll offset 1 ton of carbon, making all of my classes carbon positive.
Green Earth Appeal work with local farmers and community groups in some of the planets poorest communities to help them better support themselves and to restore degraded lands by planting trees that not only thrive in poor soil conditions, but that also benefit the local area in a multitude of ways. This includes providing food, forage for animals, improved water infiltration and protecting soils from wind and water erosion.