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.



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.



Tennis is a sport that combines strength, endurance and has explosive unpredictable complex patterns. Common injuries often associated with recreational tennis include: rotator cuff tendinopathy, carpal tunnel syndrome, tenosynovitis (inflammation of the tendons) and tennis elbow (ECRB). As well as this, there is a host of other back and knee injuries. In this post, we will look at how yoga can help with tennis injuries.


The shortening of muscles and lack of adequate strength is a common cause of tennis-related injuries. This is especially relevant to people with sedentary jobs  who may not be accustomed to the rigours of strenuous exercise.

The regular practice of yoga can help strengthen and mobilise joints such as the shoulders, hips and ankles. Many poses, particularly those focusing on balance, help stabilise the ankle and knee joints. Whereas, hip-opening poses improve the range of motion in the hip joint. These poses, combined with abdominal strength (uddiyana bandha) and controlled twists, allow the body to move safely in the various directions needed in order to play tennis.

Yoga is the perfect partner for any tennis player looking to stay injury-free. It has positive effects on coordination, balance, flexibility, and strength. In addition, it allows you to gain a greater awareness of your body and your capabilities. All of this while maintaining a calm, positive approach to life and the game. It is, therefore, no surprise that so many top sportsmen and women are turning to yoga to assist them in their chosen sport.


Yoga Mama runs group yoga classes and 1:1 yoga sessions at our studio in Putney, south-west London. Our Yoga classes are led by team of dedicated team of highly qualified teachers. We deliberately keep our group classes small, in order to maintain bespoke attention. Click here for more information about our classes.



Regardless of what may happen, we are all going to age. However, it is how we age both mentally and physically that will affect our quality of life. According to yoga philosophy it is the flexibility of the spine that determines the age. You only have to look at yoga gurus – both past and present – to see that a regular yoga practice has a huge effect on the ageing process.

The body is supple and mobile and the brain remains active well into old age. Many yoga teachers look more youthful than their birth age and remain “young at heart”, living active lives well into their 90’s. The current trend for a quick fix under the surgeons scalpel is just that; a “quick fix” to make one look youthful on the outside, while the rest of the body is degenerating in the usual way. Yoga and a yogic lifestyle allows the body to slow the ageing process down.


Stress is a major factor in ageing. By learning to control and use your breath (pranayama) to help control stressful situations, you are able to breathe more deeply and remain calm. BKS Iyengar puts this beautifully:

“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured”

A yoga practice is about finding a different way to deal with stress through postures, breathing techniques, relaxation and meditation. A good diet will often follow a regular yoga routine. Once a student develops more control through the yoga practice healthier, choices seem to come naturally. Yoga takes many forms, and you can take it up at any time Even after many years of a sedentary lifestyle you can take up and enjoy yoga.

Deep breathing (pranayama) fills every cell in the body with fresh oxygenated blood. Inversions, where the head is lower than the heart, have a relaxing effect on the heart and lungs; once again bringing fresh blood to the upper body and massaging the thyroid and parathyroid glands, thus soothing the nervous system.

Twists and forward bends are very good for detoxifying for the body. Internal organs such as the liver, spleen and pancreas are toned and massaged. A sluggish digestive system (constipation) will hang onto waste matter. Many yoga poses encourage elimination, therefore freeing up the bowel and keeping it healthy and free from disease.

The skin and the eyes look more radiant, the body moves more freely, the mind is active, but not on alert… All this without stepping inside a doctor’s practice! Why not discover the anti-ageing benefits of yoga for yourself!