For answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about our yoga and Pilates classes, please read on…
What is yoga?
Yoga as a practice originated in India around 2,000 years ago. The best known description of yoga from the ancient texts is that it is a process of stilling the turbulence of the mind to create mental clarity. There are many different ways of doing this, but the most common in the West involves working with the physical body in order to bring it to a state of effortless ease, which prevents it from distracting our mental calm. This is primarily done through putting the body into a variety of postures—known as asanas—usually combined with specific awareness of the breath.
What are the benefits of practising yoga?
Purely on a physical level, regular practice of yoga asanas will help bring about increased stamina, strength and flexibility. These are worthwhile by-products, but they are not the specific goal of yoga—by stilling the mind in a healthy body, we are able to live more in the present moment, and to be more aware of the true nature or our selves and the world around us. In fact, one of the best reasons of all for practising yoga regularly is simply that it makes you feel great!
Who is yoga suitable for?
Yoga is not competitive and is open to everyone—young or old, flexible or stiff, athletic or deskbound, male or female. Although there are spiritual elements to yoga, yoga is not a religion and does not require you to subscribe to any particular set of beliefs. All yoga requires you to believe in is yourself.
What does a yoga class at The Life Centre generally involve?
Although posture work forms the core of yoga classes at The Life Centre, many also include specific breathing exercises—known as pranayama—reflecting the yogic (and western scientific) belief that the state of our breath has a direct influence on the state of our mind. Some classes will also introduce you to seated meditation and/or deep guided relaxation (yoga nidra). All classes will end with a period of complete relaxation: an important part of the class which helps integrate all that has gone before.
How do I know which style and level of class to choose?
Over the centuries, many different styles of yoga practice have developed and we offer classes in most of the major contemporary posture based styles, for students of all levels of experience.
What is hot yoga all about?
Some of our classes take place in a studio heated by radiant infra-red heat to a temperature of about 38 degrees combined with a hi-tech ventilation system. Practising yoga in this environment helps promote cardiovascular health, improves blood circulation and releases muscle tension. Our hot yoga classes are carefully designed to promote these benefits in a safe and fun way: but be prepared to sweat!
I am pregnant. Can I practise yoga?
You should not practise hot yoga while pregnant or if you suspect that you may be pregnant. For other classes, we advise you not to practise yoga in your first trimester whilst your body is adapting to change. From your second trimester onwards, we encourage you, with the approval of your medical practitioner, to attend our Pregnancy yoga classes. Intermediate and beyond students can attend general classes from the second trimester at the discretion of the teacher and prior approval of your medical practitioner.
Attending our classes
Can I book a class in advance?
Selected classes are available for pre-booking. For details of classes which can be pre-booked please visit our Online Booking page or alternatively sign into your account and view classes marked with "Sign Up Now" on the schedule. All other classes are on a drop-in, first come, first served basis apart from workshops and courses which should be booked in advance.
How much time should I allow before class?
We recommend that you arrive at least 10-15 minutes before class, in order to give you time to check in at reception, change and set yourself up. Occasionally, our classes do sell out, so an early arrival is also more likely to secure you a place. Please note that, if you arrive 5 minutes or more after the class has started, we will not be able to let you in.
What should I wear?
Dress in comfortable clothing in which you are able to stretch and move freely. Classes are barefoot, and shoes are not allowed in the studios.
Do you provide equipment?
Yes! For hot yoga classes, mats and towels can be rented from reception for a nominal fee (to cover the cost of keeping them clean). For other classes, mats, blocks, bricks, straps, blankets, bolsters and chairs are provided free of charge. Many students prefer to practise on their own mat — mats are available to purchase at reception or you’re welcome to bring yours with you.
Should I eat before class?
Like all exercise, yoga and Pilates are best practised on an empty stomach. We recommend that you do not eat for at least 2 hours prior to class, though juice or fruit are OK if you need a quick energy boost. We suggest that you drink plenty of water prior to class, but avoid drinking during class.
What if I have an injury or medical condition?
Please inform the teacher of any injuries or medical conditions (including pregnancy, suspected pregnancy or recent childbirth) before the class starts. This is really important as it helps the teacher know how to assist you, give you modifications and keep you safe. We, and our teachers, reserve the right to ask you not to participate in a class if we feel that it would be inappropriate because of an injury or medical condition. If you are uncertain about whether or not yoga is suitable for you, please contact us.
I’m under 18 years old, can I come to class?
Our adult classes are only suitable for over 16 year olds. If you are between 16–18 years of age and would like to come to any classes/workshops, you need to be accompanied by someone over 18.
Where can I leave my bags and valuables?
Lockers are provided in the changing rooms. We strongly recommend taking your valuables into the studio—The Life Centre is not responsible for any loss or damage to items during your class, whether or not in lockers.
Are mobile phones allowed in the centre?
Both yoga and Pilates place great emphasis on concentration and inner stillness. Mobile phones should not be used in The Life Centre and must be switched off or completely silenced at all times (including in changing rooms and reception areas). This includes turning off any vibration mode.
Do you offer private yoga and Pilates tuition?
If you are interested in private tuition, please speak to one of our receptionists, who can put you in touch directly with one of our regular teachers.
Holy Himalayan Retreat
Would you like to see India, I mean really see it with your eyes and your heart?
This November from 7th-21st Jane is taking a group of very lucky people to one of the last wilderness places in India.
Birth Preparation Workshop for Couples
With Maryline Higham
Invite your birth partner to a one-off preparation class. Friendly, informative and hands-on session on natural pain management techniques and postures, for an active and serene birth experience.
Tuesday Beginners 6 Week Yoga Course
With Karen Hadgett
This 6 week course introduces the classic body of yoga postures (asanas) and basic sequences, including sun salutations. A focus on healthy alignment principles and an introduction to breathing practices (pranayama) will help build strength, flexibility and create a foundation for your yoga practice.
In this course, students will receive personal attention from an experienced teacher week to week providing an ideal environment for learning.
Yoga for Anxiety 6 Week Course
With Mick Timpson
A six-week course of yoga based meditations, practices and techniques for calming the mind and body.
Saturday Beginners Yoga 6 Week Course
With Susi Wrenshaw
This 6 week course introduces the classic body of yoga postures (asanas) and basic sequences. A focus on healthy alignment principles and an introduction to breathing practices (pranayama) will help build strength, flexibility and create a foundation for your yoga practice.
With Sue Diamond (Hodgkinson)
This workshop will begin with a focused flow, designed to help you to locate and switch on the core and strengthen the upper body in preparation for inversion practice.
We will practice the main inversions: headstand, shoulderstand, forearm stand, chin stand and handstand with some funky variations! You work with the wall and in pairs so everybody feels confident to go upside down!
Yin Yoga Workshop
With Fiona Finsbury
Fiona will guide you through a sequence of still, grounding Yin Yoga postures which are passively held for long periods of time.