Going to class is about more than learning. It’s about connecting with people, something that an online classes just can’t give you.

Yoga MicraI was driven to write this article after I read an online article about yoga teaching and how hard it is. It went into the horrible scenario of injured yoga teachers who had to carry on teaching. It talked about the lack of qualifications  among many yoga teachers, and it also talked about the competitiveness of studios verses dedicated yoga schools. The article also implied that a lot of persons have switched to on-line yoga.

I firmly believe people should attend a class with a qualified instructor. In fact, this is applicable for almost all sports, for example with my other love – surfing. The real reason I attended my first ever surf lesson was to meet other people. AKA hot men. Well I didn’t meet any! But… I made some great friends, and I still have them four years later.  

The same goes for yoga classes.

Mental health issues are at the forefront of today’s society. However, studies have shown that mixing with other people can really impact the effects of depression. Exercise is also great for over all wellness, and the feel good hormones that get released after exercise can make a big difference to those coping with depression.

When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine!  (Source: WebMD) 

I walked into my regular weekly yoga class recently, and thought to myself “how many years have I been coming here?”

I asked a good friend of mine when I got onto my mat. She said  – it had been from so before she had her first born child; probably six years!

She also said “and now look at you; you are a yoga teacher!”

Then we spoke about all the things we were able to do now that we couldn’t do when we first started yoga; reverse park etc lolz. I was thinking to myself that it’s crazy to do the same thing for six years!!!

I then rationalise the process as a whole. I love Iyengar yoga, I learn something new, mostly every class that I wasn’t able to “hear” in previous classes (instructions take along time to reach some muscles). I love my teacher in a gushy not normal way, she (and other Iyengar teachers and willing helpful volunteers from my yoga class and circle of friends and family) helped me through my teacher training. I like the other people in the class, many who have been doing the class for the same amount of years as myself. We are like a ” yoga family”. We have a shared experience/passion. We are connected to each other (whether we like it or not!). We go on yoga holidays together! We are – as a group of individuals  – a little bit crazy, bonkers, quiet, reflective, flexible, questioning, non-questioning. individuals.

The things I like most are that it makes me feel better and we laugh! I reach a quite place in my yoga practice in my mind through the “asanas”. I am at one with my body, mind and I am in the present.

We are all human beings, and interactions with others is what life is all about. (As well as being kind, friendly, caring and getting your “Ching Chong on”) What I am trying to say is anyone can do online yoga, and go through the motions in front of a screen.  But you will probably feel more rewarded by being brave and going to a real class, either by yourself or with friends.

“Just Do it” as the people at Nike say. 

My advice? Look for a qualified instructor, enjoy yourself and don’t take yourself too seriously! Always approach a lesson as a beginner, try not to work from the ego. Listen to your body. And remember falling off your mat (or your surf board) is just as fun as doing “it” properly.


BitchMittens Ellen


Postcards from the Ed:

Ellen Baggs is a qualified Iyengar Yoga teacher. She teaches class in the Engine Room, Portumna, and in the Culture Centre Tulla. She also runs dedicated Yoga classes for GAA players. (Yo-GAA!)

Like her Facebook page for motivation, advice and general bonkers Ellen-ness over at https://www.facebook.com/EllenBaggsYoga.