Ashtanga Yoga with Will, at Market Sports.

The last time I practised Yoga was several months ago, with a friend. I’ve never really been to a proper Yoga Class before and often did it with friends who practised it. It was never a regular thing for me. But this time, I decided to join one of the many classes available at Market Sports, which is the best gym I have been to so far, in The City.

William Lavin, our instructor, has been practicing yoga for over 20 years and teaching for 10. He is a Yoga Alliance UK qualified Senior Yoga Teacher (SYT). Will has practised under the guidance of Sri K Patthabi Jois, the founder of modern Ashtanga Yoga, as well as other yoga gurus over several trips to India to further his studies.


William Lavin
William Lavin

At Market Sports studio, the exercises were easy to start with but become a bit more difficult as time flies by! Will was very helpful and managed to show me how to manoeuvre myself exactly into the position you see in the image above. It takes a bit of practise, but over regular sessions and time, I am improving and hope to move onto level 2 soon!

This fantastic exercise has definitely helped me feel better and I always feel refreshed and relaxed after it. A group class is helpful as you realise that there are others who are on the same level as you are and that you don’t have to push yourself too hard and try to master every movement in the first class itself. Allow yourself time and go at your own pace.

Ashtanga Yoga is perfect for beginners and helps flush out the toxins in your body, improve flexibility and also focuses on breathing and various postures that gradually increase in intensity. I thoroughly enjoyed the class and had several questions for Will, which he patiently answered. I hope you readers find this article useful.


1) What sort of foods would you recommend before yoga, and how long does one have to wait after a meal before doing yoga?

Ashtanga Yoga, due to its vigorous nature, should be practised on an empty stomach. It would therefore normally be practised first thing in the morning. If this isn’t practical, I’d suggest leaving 2 hours between eating and practising. Many yoga practitioners are vegetarian, although this isn’t compulsory. Avoid stodgy or very spicy foods before practise.


2) How about after yoga? What sort of foods would you recommend and how long does one have to eat after exercise?

You shouldn’t eat immediately after a yoga session – probably leave about 30 minutes. Again, just eat healthily. There is a link between yoga and Ayurdeva, with some yogis selecting “Ayurvedic” food i.e. those that suit their particular “dosha” or type. Again, this is not really necessary. Unlike Bikram yoga, water should not be taken immediately before, during, or immediately after an Ashtanga yoga class (so no bottles in the class, please!). The “Ujjayi” breathing associated with Ashtanga lights the “internal fire” whilst the dynamic movements create an “external fire”. We don’t want to extinguish that fire with water.


3) There are various types of clothing out there. Any specific types that you think would be best for yoga? Comfort is key I guess.

Don’t wear tight clothes for yoga. Natural fabrics and looser fitting garments are best. Decathlon produce good quality and reasonably priced yoga wear for both men and women. My favourite yoga pants are M & S drawstring jogging bottoms taken up to just below knee length (by a tailor).



Ashtanga Yoga at Market Sports
Ashtanga Yoga at Market Sports

4) Is Ashtanga yoga the best for Yoga newbies? Please explain.

Ashtanga is a hard yoga practise by its nature. Some newbies are shocked by how hard they find it. However, the guru of Ashtanga yoga used to say “anybody can practise Ashtanga. Old, young, fat, thin, tall, short. Only lazy people can’t practise”.


5) I heard that morning sex may affect your yoga practise. Is this true? There’s been a lot of debate on whether it is good or bad to have sexual release before or after sports and the opinions from everyone seems divided. What do you think?

I haven’t heard anyone pronouncing on this, so don’t think it’s particularly important either way.


6) What are the prime benefits of yoga?

With Ashtanga yoga, expect to increase strength, stamina and flexibility. Taken further, it will also improve your mental state and your focus


7) For those who really get into yoga and do it on a regular basis, what other exercises would you recommend?

“Ashtanga” means “eight limbs” or eight parts. The “asanas” (postures) are only one part, so there are another seven to be examined, should yoga students wish to. This is what differentiates yoga from most exercise regimes. In a typical class, you would normally only practise Asanas and possibly Pranayama (breathing). I personally have a daily cleansing practise (part of another “limb”) which includes tongue scraping, nasal cleansing and stomach churning.
Click Here to me doing some of these practises. 


8) How often should one do yoga? And what are the best times to do it?

Ashtanga is traditionally practised 6 days a week. One day a week rest (normally Saturday) and also resting on “Moon Days” – full or new moons. Best practised early morning if possible.


9) There’ve been a lot of yoga promotions out there; power yoga, broga, bikram yoga etc and a lot of products for yoga lifestyles etc. What’s your opinion on all of this? Marketing and promotion aside, are some of these just gimmicks? What would be your advice to Yoga beginners with regard to this topic?

Try as many as you like (Market Sports is excellent for yoga) until you find one that suits you.

10) Give us 1 Tip about Yoga behaviour. 

Don’t compare yourself against anyone else in the class, and don’t judge yourself. Be whoever you are. There are no winners or losers in yoga!


So there we are, readers. I hope all you Yoga newbies and maybe even the experienced Yogis among you found this article useful.

Market Sports also run various other yoga classes; Hatha Yoga, Iyengar Yoga and Yoga Monks. Click Here for more details.

Contact manager Luciana Ramos on 020 7739 6688 and quote “Emmanuel Ray.”

You will only pay half-price joining fee.

Do browse through their Website and have a look at their Youtube videos.


Nominee, Positive Role Model 2013 (National Diversity Awards, UK). Nominee, London Personality of the Year 2012 (London Lifestyle Awards). Winner, Fashion Icon of the Year 2011 (Fashions Finest Awards, UK).


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