NCTV Episode 52

Continuing with the series of bitesize health tip videos which can be found here on my YouTube Channel, this episode, includes:-

  • Answers to common yoga related questions
  • The health benefits
  • Conditions it can help with
  • Injury prevention advice
  • Which style is right for you and how to find a class


If you’d prefer to read the content within, rather than watch the video, then feel free to read the transcript, as follows:-

Hello and welcome to NCTV Episode 52, that’s right, herein marks the 52nd consecutive week of bitesize health tip videos, coming to you from Nicholas Coysh Osteopathy & Wellbeing studios based in Storrington, West Sussex. It’s strange to think that it has now been a whole year since starting these, on the back of the first UK coronavirus lockdown. There’s obviously been a few re-openings and lockdowns since as we are currently about to come out of our 3rd lockdown but hopefully these advice videos have indeed helped your health to flourish throughout the COVID era and will continue to do so for many years to come.

So without further ado, we move onto today’s topic which all About Yoga. To cover this, I thought the bet way would be to provide answers for some of the more common questions that I get asked about it

1) So first of all, what is Yoga? To define it, yoga is an ancient form of exercise that focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing. The main components of yoga are postures (a series of movements designed to increase strength and flexibility) and breathing.

2) Where did yoga come from? So, a bit of history for you:- The practice originated in India about 5,000 years ago and has been adapted in other countries in a variety of ways and as you may know, yoga is now commonplace in leisure centres, health clubs, schools, hospitals and surgeries throughout the world.

3) What are the health benefits of yoga? Well there have been dozens of scientific trials of varying quality published on yoga and while there is scope for more rigorous studies on its health benefits, most studies suggest yoga is a safe and effective way to increase physical activity, especially strength, flexibility and balance. There’s also some evidence that regular yoga practice is beneficial for people with high blood pressure, heart disease, aches and pains – including lower back pain – depression and stress.

4) Does yoga count towards your 150 minutes of daily activity? When thinking about your daily 150 minute activity count as set out by the government guidelines, unfortunately yoga is not strenuous enough to count as moderate activity, however, it does count as a strengthening exercise, and at least 2 sessions a week will help you meet the mentioned guidelines on muscle-strengthening activities.

5) Can yoga help prevent falls? Yoga as well as tai chi are recommended for older adults at risk of falls. By doing yoga this helps to strengthen the lower body, especially the knees and ankles, helping to improve balance and co-ordination, thereby reducing your risk of falling. However, note that not every fall can be prevented and they may actually be caused by an underlying health condition, in which case it’s a good idea to see your local GP or visit a falls clinic at a local hospital.

6) In terms of whether yoga can help with arthritis, it is actually very popular amongst arthritis sufferers for its gentle way of promoting flexibility and strength. Some research actually suggests yoga can reduce pain and mobility problems in people with knee osteoarthritis. However, at the same time some yoga moves are not suitable for people with the condition so be sure to find a teacher who understands arthritis and can adapt movements for individual needs, especially if you have replacement joints, and always check with a doctor, physio, osteopath or other physical therapist to find out if there are any movements to avoid.

7) Are you too old for yoga? If you’re thinking you’re probably too old to start yoga, that may not necessarily be the case. People often start yoga in their 70s, and many say they only wish that they had actually started sooner. There are in fact yoga classes for every age group and it’s a form of exercise that can be enjoyed at any time, from childhood to your advanced years.

8) Some other common questions that crop up are do you have to be fit to do yoga? And the answer to that is no, as you can join a class that’s suitable for your fitness level. For example, to join a mixed-ability yoga class, you need to be able to get up and down from the floor. However, some yoga classes are purely chair-based so that solves that problem, if it is one.

9) Do you need to be flexible to do yoga? Not necessarily and yoga will actually improve your flexibility and help you go beyond your normal range of movement, which may help you to perform your daily activities easier.

10) Can you injure yourself doing yoga? Well while yoga-related injuries are uncommon. Some injuries can be caused by repetitive strain or overstretching. My advice would be, never try to compete with others around you as this is where people often push themselves beyond their limits and then have to book a trip to their friendly local osteopath. Yoga is the same as any other exercise discipline – it’s perfectly safe if taught properly by people who understand it and have experience, so again, it’s advisable to learn from a qualified yoga teacher and choose a class appropriate to your level.

11) What style of yoga should you do? There are quite a number of different styles of yoga to choose from, such as Ashtanga, Iyengar (i-ying-ga) and Sivananda. Some styles are more vigorous than others, while some may have a different area of emphasis, such as posture or breathing. As a result, many yoga teachers develop their own practice by studying more than one style. To answer the question, no style is necessarily better or more authentic than any other so the key again is to choose a class appropriate for your fitness level.

12) What type of class should you look out for? Classes can vary in duration but typically last between 45 and 90 minutes. A longer class will give you more time for learning, breathing and relaxation techniques, and will give the teacher time to work with your individual ability. At the moment in Lockdown, all classes are online via the likes of Zoom, however, that will soon change again and when in person classes resume, it’s worth speaking to a teacher about their approach before you sign up, to make sure it’s right for you.

13) Where can you find a yoga class? No specific qualifications are required to teach yoga in the UK. However, it’s generally accepted that teachers need to be insured. Some teachers may have a teaching certificate and accreditation from a yoga association, and the main UK yoga associations are: the British Wheel of Yoga (BWY), Independent Yoga Network, Iyengar Yoga (UK) and the Yoga Alliance Professionals. These associations all list teachers and classes near you on their websites.

14) Finally, can you use a book or yoga DVD instead of going to a class? Put simply, it’s better to start with a class to learn the poses and breathing techniques correctly. With a DVD, there will be nobody to correct your mistakes, which may lead to injury over time. With some experience of being in a class, a DVD can then be helpful for keeping up your practice of it.

So there we have it for today, hope that answers most of your yoga related questions, and I’ll see you next time for some more bitesize bits to help your health flourish. Bye for now!