Welcome to yoga, and congratulations for giving it a try.

What should you expect from a beginner’s yoga class?

There are so many styles of yoga or personal teacher’s interpretations that it can be overwhelming. As a rule of thumb, if you are truly a beginner it is beneficial to start with a beginner level class.

What I can offer is that

  • You will be welcomed as you are.
  • The yoga will set you up with a good foundation, with a gradual progression.
  • Many pieces of the practice are simple, but precise, so that you can “get” them yet they will offer a challenge to perfect.
  • The basics are repeated weekly so that you can become familiar, and even begin to try a little at home.

Key themes for beginners

Standing poses are important. Getting sensitivity into your feet affects your whole posture. Standing poses help develop strength, which is more important than flexibility in the beginning. Seated poses already assume joint mobility in the hips, knees and ankles, so it’s good to work with standing poses to improve joint mobility.

The mind will be busy. As you get more familiar, you might become bored. This is not because of the yoga, but the mindset – we’re overstimulated so it’s hard to stay focused on simple things. This will improve with practice.

The breath is the last thing to coordinate. Yoga focuses on breath because it bridges the physical body and the mind. But until you’re familiar with the physical movements, the breathing can become confusing. Don’t worry. Breathe normally until your mind is ready to absorb what’s going on with the breath as well.

Relaxation is wonderful! But it’s also a “pose”. Don’t be surprised if you fall asleep during relaxation – sometimes that’s exactly what we need and our body knows it. It’s a good sign that you are at ease. Just know that the idea is to stay focused – or “mindful” – of your body and breath. Everything improves with practice!

How to get the most out of your classes

Arrive a few minutes early. You’ll be settled in and ready to go on time, so your focus will be fully on the practice.

Allow at least an hour between eating and the class. Digestion is work for the body, so the less you eat the more settled you will be for practice.

Remove your shoes at the door. Yoga is usually practiced in bare feet. In Ireland sometimes socks provide warmth, although bare feet give you more sensitivity and more grip.

When you arrive, prepare mentally by simply sitting quietly or lying down. It’s a good way to let the day go and give yourself a bit of head-space.

What to bring

Have a mat and perhaps a blanket for the relaxation at the end. We lose heat quickly after a session and it’s important to be comfortable and warm to really benefit from the relaxation.

You won’t need water during class, it’s physically challenging but not sweaty yoga. If you hydrate well during the day, there is no need to drink during class.

Drop in or term fee?

While drop-in fees offer flexibility, you’ll get more value for money in the term fee.

Also, if you have decided to try yoga, you should know that the first couple of classes will be a steep learning curve. It’s not of much benefit to attend one or two classes. You’ll start to get some familiarity by the 3rd or 4th class, and only then does your mind begin to take in more details. And yoga is a practice for any stage of life, so there is a gradual progression and refinement that can provide benefits at any age, once you have a regular practice.

If you have any questions, please get in touch. Thursday evening classes in Carlow are aimed at beginners. Classes on Tuesdays in Tullow accept beginners but are aimed at those with some experience.


3 tips to help you get the greatest benefit from your yoga class

1. What to eat before yoga class

Yoga is traditionally done early in the morning, so that the stomach is empty and the mind is quiet. An empty stomach is helpful when you’re trying to bend forward, or twist!

And energy is not diverted to digesting food.

But evening classes make an empty stomach tricky. Most importantly, eat what YOU can digest easily. Be aware that a light meal takes about 2 hours to digest and do what you can to accommodate yourself in this regard. Something warm like soup, broth or a plant-based stew would be ideal. As with yoga itself, observation of the effects of your food choices will inform you for the next time.

A bowl of soup

Water intake during class is not a yogic practice. This developed because some “power” or “hot” yoga classes, designed to make you sweat profusely, required water intake. This is not in line with traditional yogic practice so use common sense based on what style of class you’re in. Try to hydrate well up to half an hour before class. You should also attend to personal needs – thirsty types, medication and certain conditions may require additional hydration. Generally, my classes do not promote a need for water.

2. What to wear and bring to yoga

If you’re comfortable, you’re on to something. Anything that does not restrict your movement around the hips and shoulders is perfect. Leggings and a sports top or t-shirt are popular.

LAYERS are important because you’ll warm up during class, but when we lie down for even 5 minutes the body cools down quickly. You are welcome to bring a blanket to stay cosy. Some people simply use their outdoor jacket as an extra cover if they want extra warmth.

what to wear for yoga

what to wear and bring for yoga class

We practice in bare feet. Socks are fine if you’re cold. Shoes are left at the door.

Bring a mat. Yoga mats provide a non-slip surface for the practice. The Shadow yoga school teaches without the use of mats, which has advantages, but on a carpet or a colder floor, a mat is very helpful.

3. Arriving to your yoga class

Being early allows you time to settle in, and avoids disrupting others. However, if you ARE running late, I welcome you, please come anyhow – sometimes life gets in the way of our schedule!

If you’re chronically late, give yourself the space, and permission, for those extra few minutes. That 5 minute cushion is not wasted time, it’s an acknowledgement that you are truly giving yourself time to fully absorb the benefits of your yoga practice. Chronic, avoidable tardiness probably points to some other issue; compassionate inquiry may help to shed light on what’s really going on.

If you’d like to book a class, there’s plenty of choice, from drop in to 4, 8 or 12 weeks, and Zoom. Check out