1. Find a good teacher

It is much easier to learn yoga with all its detailed and subtle physical and mental aspects from a qualified teacher, rather than from a book or video. Especially at the beginning, a teacher’s presence and ability to actually see you and respond to what you are doing is essential for building your confidence.

2. Respect your body’s inner wisdom and limitations

Do not push yourself to do anything that feels dangerous or wrong. Tell your teacher if you are pregnant or have an injury such as to the knees or spine, or any serious medical condition before the class.

3. Breathe

Breathing is central to yoga. Breathe into your whole body in the poses and relax. There is a lot to learn about healthy breathing in yoga.

4. Don’t compare yourself with others

Look inwardly to your own progress. There will always be more flexible, strong and beautiful people around in your yoga class – as in life! Yoga maybe fashionable but it is not a spectator sport or a competition.

5. Have a sense of humour!

Yoga is a quiet focused activity, but we need not to take ourselves too seriously. We may feel ungainly and stiff as we try to navigate ourselves into new postures. An inner smile and gentleness can save us from pushing ourselves to the point of strain and injury.

6. Eating and drinking

It is advisable not to eat for two hours before yoga practice and to drink only small amounts of water beforehand.

7. Make practice frequent

Little and often is more effective than occasional long sessions of yoga. Even 15 minutes a day of a few well-chosen poses can have a very positive effect on your physical, emotional and mental well-being. A regular discipline will reap more benefits, as that way the body begins to feel comfortable and familiar with the process and gradually becomes more flexible.

8. Wear loose comfortable clothing

You will stretch your body in all directions, don’t wear anything that will dig in or restrict your movement.

9. And turn your mobile OFF!

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Satya Yoga was established in London in 2003 by Zena Kidd-May, who taught yoga to private individuals at her London studio for several years.

In this hectic life we all lead, it is easy to live entirely in our heads, but attending Zena's classes over the last couple of years has enabled me to reconnect mind and body. Zena beautifully demonstrates how to move through the poses, whilst keeping an expert eye on us, to maximise what her students receive in each pose. I feel as strong and fit and as connected with my body and its possibilities as I have ever done in my life, and have always felt in such capable and knowledgable hands at Satya Yoga. The guided relaxation at the end of each class is wonderfully restorative, as are Zena's homemade nutritional treats, allowing us to leave class feeling thoroughly nurtured both inside and out! I enjoy Zena's classes so much I have gone from attending one to two a week.

Claire Henman

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