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 over 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, 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, known as 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.
I am pregnant. Can I practise yoga?
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 with the 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 and Baby Massage classes which should be booked in advance.
How much time should I allow before class?
We recommend 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! Mats, blocks, bricks, straps, blankets, bolsters and chairs are provided free of charge in all studios. 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 or attend our special Yoga for Teens classes.
Where can I leave my bags and valuables?
Lockers are provided in the changing rooms at both studios. There are small shelving cabinets in the studios themselves for the storage of valuables. NB 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, and classes and therapies take place in The Life Centre all day. 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?
Because of space constraints, we are unable to offer one-to-one tuition at The Life Centre. However, reception can put you in touch directly with one of our regular teachers if you would like to discuss private tuition.
1 Britannia Row
London N1 8QH
020 7704 0919
15 Edge Street
London W8 7PN
020 7221 4602