What are the benefits of yoga?

Yoga increases flexibility, stamina, builds strength and improves posture. Most people find increased levels of energy and an enhanced feeling of wellbeing. Regular practice of yoga increases awareness and brings emotional stability and inner peace.

How often should I attend classes?

Come at least once per week if you want to feel the benefits: Yogacards are available offering great discounts for regular attendees. Many students attend 2 or 3 times per week. Progress is dependent on regular attendance and you will quickly see the benefits.

Do I need to book or can I just turn up?

Most of our classes are drop-in (unless they are marked as courses on the timetable) and you can just turn up. However a couple of the beginner classes are in the smaller studio and can get quite popular (especially Monday 7.15pm and Saturday 10am), so we recommend coming early to secure your place.

If it’s your first visit to Yogawest, please come 10 minutes early to register with us. Remember you can’t drive down Denmark Place and there is no car parking at Yogawest (bicycles are welcome), so if you come by car, please park nearby and walk along Denmark Place.

What should I wear or bring?

Wear clothes that let you move freely: shorts or leggings and a T-shirt are ideal. Because the teacher needs to see your alignment in poses, baggy trousers are not suitable, nor leggings that cover the ankles or obstruct the feet. Yoga is practised in bare feet. Changing rooms with showers are available at the Centre: bring a towel if you wish to shower before/after class. There is no need to bring any other equipment as everything is provided for the class.

How busy are your classes?

Most classes at Yogawest are drop-in and as such we don’t know how for sure many people will come to a particular class. However there are seasonal variations and the time of day (and the weather!) also affects numbers. Classes are busiest in January and September when a lot of new people come. We put on overflow classes where we can, but the best way to secure your place (especially if your class is in Studio 2) is to arrive in good time. 

Many of our students enjoy larger classes – the energy in the room is great and there’s always enough equipment. However, if you would prefer more personal attention, there are some quieter classes: we are happy to suggest one for you if you ask us or have a look at our current quiet classes page.

I’m 53 and interested in starting yoga, but I’m quite overweight, have a bad back and I’m not very flexible: should I start with a private class?

You could start with a private class if you would feel more confident: a few of our teachers can help. However, from what you’ve said the Foundation Course would be the best option: it’s a 5-week course designed for complete beginners to introduce you to the basics of yoga and you will learn how to work safely in whichever class you go into next. Courses start regularly and cost £49.

I’m 74 years of age and quite stiff.
Would it still be possible for me to do yoga, and could I go to the ordinary classes?

We’d love to have you in class! The type of yoga we teach at Yogawest (Iyengar) is particularly suitable for older stiffer bodies, and the good thing is that if you choose the right class you should feel quite at home with your family in the same class. You may well find that you are one of the younger students in some classes.
It is worth trying a few different classes and teachers to get the one you feel is right. Some people choose to do a 5-week foundation course first which will give you a good grounding, however some are happy to go straight into a beginner class. I should say that not everyone in a beginner class is actually a beginner – some have been coming for years but like working at that level!
Although we are all trained in the same way, different teachers have different deliveries, so do try a few. If you are free in the daytime I would recommend Jess’ Wednesday morning 9.15 beginner class, or Janet’s Monday 10.30 general (don’t let the general label put you off – it is popular with older, stiffer people and Janet teaches accordingly).
The main thing is to let the teacher know you are new, and not to do anything that feels wrong.

Can I come to class if I am pregnant?

You can continue with your usual class until you are 10 weeks pregnant and again after 13 weeks.

Our pregnancy classes are suitable for beginners or those already practising (you need to be 13 weeks or more). Pregnant women can usually continue to attend their normal class until late pregnancy but should talk to their teacher and also consult their midwife or doctor.

Can I bring my teenage son/daughter?

Teenagers can really benefit from yoga: as well as flexibility and calmness, it helps with focus and concentration, particularly at times of stress. We run Teenagers classes on Monday and Thursday afternoons.
For mature 14s and above, there are a couple of classes that are particularly suitable for teenagers to attend with (or without!) their parents: Fridays at 6pm (an end of week restorative class), Saturdays at 9.30am (Beginners), Sundays at 6pm (General) and Thursdays at 5pm (General) would be good to try. While adjusting to an adult class, teenagers may prefer to leave after an hour: please talk to the teacher about this so they can plan the class accordingly.

I’ve got a back problem. Will yoga help?

Many people take up yoga because of common back problems and find that Iyengar yoga helps. Please let the teacher know at the start of class if you have a vulnerable back. We need to know about any more serious back injuries before you come to class.
We would recommend the Foundation Course to start with: it’s a 5-week course designed for complete beginners to introduce you to the basics of yoga and you will learn how to work safely with your back in whichever class you go into next. Courses start regularly and cost £49.

Read an article on Yoga for back pain here

I suffer with stress and anxiety; which class should I start with?

It’s very common for people to come to us to start yoga with stress and anxiety and certainly a yoga practice can be very helpful indeed.

We would recommend you start with a 5-week foundation course:

If you can’t make a foundation course, or want to start earlier, then you can come to any beginner class on the timetable to try a few classes. Beginner classes are not necessarily full of complete beginners, it’s more a beginner level class, so let the teacher know you are a new.

I am older/stiffer/overweight/unfit: which class should I come to?

We would recommend you start with a 5-week foundation course.

You could also come to the gentle class on Mondays at 2pm: it runs as a termtime course but you could try one class first before signing up.

I’m a climber/skier/tennis player and want to work on my flexibility/fitness: which class should I come to?

We would recommend you start with a 5-week foundation course.

You could also try the dynamic class on Monday evenings: a faster paced class to stimulate and invigorate.

What is the registration process?

Most classes are drop-in: check timetable for details. All students need to register with Yogawest before attending classes. You can download a form here and bring it with you to your first class or send it to us by email:

Download Yogawest Registration Form pdf
pdf format for printing and completing manually.

Download Yogawest Registration Form in Word
Word file for electronic submission if you don’t have a printer. (You can always fill out a form when you come to Yogawest.)

What is Iyengar Yoga?

Iyengar yoga was developed by BKS Iyengar, author of Light on Yoga, Light on Pranayama and many other texts. In Iyengar yoga the emphasis is on performance of the classical yoga asanas (postures) with attention to detail and alignment. The approach is disciplined and progressive and students are given individual attention, correction and provided props and supports to aid their progression through the pose. It is suitable for all levels, ages and physical abilities.

Where is Yogawest?

We are at the end of Denmark Place, just off the Gloucester Road (between 211: Bishopston Hardware and 213: Bagel Boy) in Bishopston, Bristol.

From the centre of town the following buses pass Denmark Place: 3, 73, 75, 76,  309, get off at the Old Bristol North Baths.
From Temple Meads Station take the 73 bus and get off at the old Bristol North Baths or the connecting train to Montpelier with a 10-min walk to us.
From Bristol Parkway take the 73 bus and get off at Pigsty Hill/Co-op  (about 20 mins).
From the bus station, walk to North Street and take any of the above buses.
Plan your bus journey here

Get off the bus at the old Bristol North Swimming Baths on Gloucester Road. Denmark Place is opposite the Bishopston Service Station and has Bishopston Hardware on one corner and Relax café on the other. Walk to the end of Denmark Place and you arrive at Yogawest.

Is there any car parking?

There is no parking for cars at Yogawest or anywhere on Denmark Place and you cannot drive your car along Denmark Place as there is nowhere to turn around. If coming by car, you can park on adjacent streets and walk up Denmark Place. During weekdays there are parking restrictions on Gloucester Rd until 6.30pm. Bicycles and motorbikes can be left in front of Yogawest: bike racks are available.

Where can I stay near Yogawest?

There are some brilliant and low cost AirBnbs really close to us.

We also have a list of generous Yogawest students who open their spare rooms to visiting yogis for a low cost – ask us for the list once you’ve booked your place.

Below is a list of accommodation (hotels and B&Bs) in various price ranges which have been used by people attending yoga conventions, workshops and events in Bristol at Yogawest (please note we haven’t personally stayed in any of these places, so do please let us know any feedback/recommendations that we can add).

Basca House 19 Broadway Road, BS7 8ES (5 mins walk). 0117 942 2182 (two nights minimum)
Arches Hotel 132 Cotham Brow, BS6 6AE (10 mins walk). 0117 924 7398
Downs Edge Saville Rd, BS9 1JA (30 mins walk). 0117 968 3264
Downlands House 33 Henleaze Gdns, BS9 4HH (30 mins walk). 0117 962 1639
Youth Hostel Quayside, BS1 4QA (30 mins walk or bus ride away). 0117 922 1659
Premier Inn Haymarket, BS1 3LR (15 mins walk). 0870 238 3307
Premier Inn Gloucester Rd North, BS34 7BR. (10 mins bus). 0871 527 8164
Travelodge Anchor Rd, BS1 5TT. (In town: a bus ride away). 0871 984 6223

There are also a number of hotels near Temple Meads Station if you want to be close to the station (which is a bus [73] or short train [to Montpelier] ride away). See visitbristol.co.uk for more ideas (our postcode is BS7 8NW and we are off the Gloucester Road).

What can I practice at home?

We have published some practice sheets to follow at home. These will supplement your classes at Yogawest and help you add some yoga into your home routine.

My Yogacard has expired – can I get an extension?

As per our terms & conditions, we don’t usually extend cards *. However we understand that life doesn’t always go to plan and we are happy to do what we can to help. If you have a good reason, and let us know before the card has expired, we may be able to give you a credit towards your next card purchase. This would be based on the amount you paid minus the Drop-in cost for each class you came to (usually £12 or £16). To arrange, email us with the start and expiry date of the card and how many classes you have used.
     * the exception to this is pregnancy cards which can be converted to be used for classes at Yogawest once the baby is 3 months old.  Just ask reception to change the expiry date on your card once you have given birth.