How do you choose a yoga teacher? This question came up in a workshop that I attended. At the time, my response to this was that it was intuition… That feeling you get when you come across a teacher that you seem to connect with. However, I have pondered over this some more. I have looked at what has attracted me to the yoga teachers (whom I still look to for guidance) and why I have let go of some teachers along the way.

My thoughts on this are:

  • The yoga teachers that I really connect with are the ones who have something that I would like to learn myself.
  • They display all elements of yoga, not just the physical asana practice. They teach with kindness and compassion.
  • I trust them to adjust me in postures, especially poses that I am fearful of.
  • My trusted yoga teachers have enabled me to work through some of these poses and move on when I was ready. They don’t look to hold me back.
  • A good teacher for me is someone who wants to share their knowledge and growth with their students and is able to admit that they do not have all the answers.

My yoga teacher once said “do not put your teacher on a pedestal, we are all human with human failings”. This to me says we do not need to be perfect. The honesty in that statement is very freeing.

I don’t think it is necessary to say what I do not like in a teacher. It is pretty clear what works for me and I can only speak from my own experience. However, I do think that people looking to choose a yoga teacher should try a few different ones before deciding which path they want to take. You may be lucky enough to find the one for you in your first class. Whatever you find, it will be the start of your yogic journey.



Over the years, I have been frequently asked about the benefits of yoga for asthma sufferers. Obviously, I could not possibly speak on everyone’s behalf. However, from personal experience, my answer would be yes. As an asthmatic (who has had a respiratory arrest), I have found that yoga has transformed my life in several ways. Perhaps most significantly, it has enabled me to have greater control over breathing. I am now able to recognise the onset of asthma symptoms and use yogic breathing exercises to relax. Another benefit is that I have been able to drastically reduced the use of prescribed asthma medication.

On a more scientific note, medical studies have also shown that practising yoga on a regular basis is beneficial for asthma sufferers. During an asthma attack, the upper back and chest become tight from wheezing, coughing and struggling to breath. This is where yogic breathing exercises come into play. They exercise the lungs and encourage a full diaphragmatic breath. As a result, learning to breathe deeply in a calm controlled way can help to reduce symptoms when they arise. It goes without saying that you should always seek your doctor’s advice before adjusting your medication. The same applies when taking up any new form of physical activity.


What poses in yoga are good for asthma? There are many yoga poses that can bring relief to the thoracic area. In particular, those that include twisting and some bending of the back. These lengthen and open up areas that have become tight through shallow breathing and wheezing. In this short video, you will see the 5 best yoga poses for asthma relief.


At our Yoga Mama Wellness studio in Putney, we offer Yin Yoga with Cherie Lathey both as group classes or 1:1 sessions. These gentle classes are suitable for asthma sufferers. At present, group classes are running online. However, we look forward to returning to the studio when social distancing restrictions are lifted. In addition, we also occasionally run Restorative Yoga workshops with Diane King.



We are delighted that Timeout has listed our pregnancy yoga classes in its 10 best pregnancy yoga classes in London.

We run several pregnancy yoga classes throughout the week in conjunction with The Putney Clinic of Physical Therapy offering expert teaching. At Yoga Mama, we recognise that pregnancy is a great personal journey for any woman and is a time of mental and physical change. It can also be a challenging time, as women need to make adjustments as the body starts to change shape. A pregnancy yoga practice can help address some of these changes in a positive way. Women who practice yoga during pregnancy are able to be really present in their bodies and connect with their unborn child. Yoga also has a calming effect on the mother, who, in turn, transmits this to the baby.

Women can also use breathing techniques learnt in pregnancy yoga at anytime during pregnancy. What’s more, many women find these techniques very useful when giving birth. Focusing on the breath can have a profound effect. By learning to control the breath, women may feel empowered and more in control of their thoughts and body.

Find out more about our Pregnancy Yoga and Pilates classes here.



Many people often ask me what the difference is between Yoga and Pilates and if there is point practising one if they already practise the other.


Yoga is an ancient practice and can be traced back more than 5,000 years to India. The word yoga means “to yoke”; a union of mind, body and spirit, making it a spiritual tradition. Yoga aims to purify the mind and body, and the Eight Limb Path practised in some yoga traditions offers ethical principals to follow. By following this path, one can transcend the ego and awaken the spiritual energy hidden within, thus revealing our highest capabilities.

The physical practice of yoga poses (asanas) is what many people in the West are attracted to initially. The physical effects include toning, lengthening and strengthening of the body. Whereas, the feelings of well-being brought about by practising yoga is what can often be the start of a yogic journey… It is, so to say, a journey within.


Pilates is a much newer practice in comparison to yoga. Joseph Pilates created this system in the early 20th century in order to assist his recovery from injury and poor health. He used his knowledge of the physical body to create a system based very much on the core (abdominal and back muscles), incorporating breathing techniques while performing exercises. It consists of performing controlled repetitive actions in order to tone and strengthen the body. This can improve posture and alignment, while creating a feeling of well-being and bodily awareness.

There is a big cross over in terms of the physical practice of these two disciplines. Many of the poses performed in Pilates come directly from yoga. The core strength used in Pilates is also present in yoga. The ancient yoga practice of Moola Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha (root lock and upward flying lock) essentially strengthen and lift the pelvic and abdominal area, toning the perineum and the transverse abdominals.


As mentioned above, there are a lot of similarities between yoga and Pilates. It is now quite common to find classes using a fusion of the two. This, in some ways, allows you the best of both worlds. Not all yoga teachers will teach core strength (Moola Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha) in their classes. Students of BKS Iyengar do not mention these words, but do activate abdominal muscles while practising yoga. Concentrating purely on this area in Pilates can be of real benefit to your yoga practice.

I think you can combine the two disciplines. Yoga, unlike Pilates, has its foundation in a (non-religious) spiritual practice. This, ultimately, could determine the path you choose to follow. Those looking for spiritual enlightenment will be attracted to the study of yoga and its ancient traditions. Whereas, those looking to strengthen and tone the body whilst using breathing techniques will probably opt for Pilates… The choice is, as they say, yours!


As part of our wellness services, we offer a number of Yoga and Pilates classes from a variety of disciplines at our studio in Putney. Consult our timetable to see when classes run.