Frequently Asked Questions

Yay for clarity and peace of mind

Even though yoga can teach you how to fly, there’s always the practical stuff to consider. That’s why we made you this handy Q&A section – based on years and years of qualitative research amongst our students :)
See this as your shortcut to get to know the classes, the playground, the life and the lingo. By the way: although we’ve done our best to answer most questions you may have, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to know more.

The Class

All you need to know – and then some.

How long before my yoga class should I show up?

To make sure you’ve got the best spot in the house, it’s smart to arrive well in time for our Vinyasa flow yoga classes. If you’ve picked your mat and spot at least 15 minutes before we start, you’ve got great chances of not having to go Warrior #2 in the closet. You’ll also have a bit of time for some relaxation and mental preparation in the yoga studio.

If the doors are closed, you’re late. And if you’re in, please don’t leave early either. People moving in and out really takes people out of their zone. Think about it – you wouldn’t like it either if somebody rushes past you when you’ve just reached total meditative bliss, right?

Do you offer Vinyasa yoga classes in English at Svaha Yoga?

“Yes, we do! In fact, all our classes are taught in English.

Many of our Svaha Yoga trained teachers came to us from all over the world, and a lot of our students aren’t Dutchies. So All is One, All is English 😉

What clothing should I wear for yoga?

Wear something comfortable when you come to Svaha Yoga. Leggings, shorts, t-shirts – it all works, just make sure it fits. Pick something that doesn’t get in the way of you trying to fold yourself into a pretzel.

Avoid buttons or knots: they have a habit of digging into your skin. Also, please make sure your clothes are clean.

Deo or perfume? I'm used to spraying on my N°5 before I leave the house.

Well… there’s a real chance it’ll mess with the focus of the friendly yogi next to you, so please try and ensure you smell as neutral as possible.

Our Vinyasa flow yoga classes are often quite busy, which means you’re sharing airspace with your neighbour. Since we always make you sweat, your scents are going to spread around the room one way or the other – whether it’s perfume, deodorant or BO from skipping your morning shower.

What about food before class? I love my morning yoga, but also my eggs ’n toast.

We don’t recommend it. We actually advise you to avoid eating anything for about two hours before class. You’ll be bending and twisting and breathing: undigested food will simply get in the way. We’re talking proper nausea and stomach pains. No fun.

However, if you have a superhuman metabolism and simply can’t make it through class, try something like fruit or a boiled egg about an hour before you arrive.

My smartphone is my life, my lover... Can I share my yoga practice with it?

Not in class, please. If you want to share yoga with your device so desperately: search for the best yoga playlist ever, and press play. Then set your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’, slide it into your bag or jacket and leave it outside of class.

Seriously. Unplug.

I am physically in tip-top shape and totally invincible. Well, apart from that one injury…

Please be kind, please be safe. If you’re a new member, we’ll always ask you about previous injuries the first time you come. We can help you focus on strengthening your weak spots, or give you alternative poses. So do let us know.
And if you hear your joints squeak, we may just have been human and forgotten about it… So always listen to your body and do speak up.

You ask me to dedicate my practice to something or someone. Why?

Dedicating your practice brings focus. It requires you to consciously pick something or someone you care about and send some good vibes their way.

It doesn’t matter if it’s to your mom or a dandelion – picking something or someone to dedicate to requires you to think consciously about the existence of life outside yourself. So send them a little love and dedicate your practice. The Karma points don’t hurt either 😉

Everybody seems to know what they're doing… Can I ask questions during class?

Please ask us all you want to know about yoga! Everybody else is everybody else. Curiosity is one of your greatest assets, so if a burning question pops up into your mighty brain mid asana, just ask.

If your question comes up when everyone has been standing on their heads for five minutes, or you feel too self-conscious to ask – you can also save it for after yoga class. We’ve always got tea, and most often time.

Can I reserve a spot next to the yoga teacher?

Not really: all our classes are on a drop-in basis, so you can’t reserve a specific spot. Just come by about 15 minutes before class and find your favorite spot. If you want to join one of our workshops, you do have to reserve.

You've just announced the coolest yoga workshop. Can I join… pretty please?

Sure you can! Be sure to reserve a spot though – some of our special events and workshops are so popular we need to make sure the yoga studio in Amsterdam doesn’t overflow with bodies. If you want to join, just send us an email to moc.a1508377635goyah1508377635avs@s1508377635tneve1508377635. We’ll send you a confirmation with more information about the workshop and how to pay.

The Shala

Get to know our playground.

How do I get to the Svaha Yoga studios in Amsterdam?

Our three main studios are all in Amsterdam, so just get your bum on a bike and start pedalling. Otherwise, public transport will get you within a 5 minute walk of your destination. If you desperately want to come by car you’re more than welcome to try, but parking is notoriously impossible in Amsterdam – so reserve time for that.

We’d like to stay a bit under the radar, so make sure you head the right way before you come: we have an amazingly detailed map on our contact page (thanks Google!). Or just follow your phone like it’s a dowsing rod, obviously.

Oh… and if you’re looking for our retreat center in Suriname – please do send us an email first to make sure that we’re there and teaching.

Do you accept cash or cards?

Cash is accepted in all our yoga studios. We also accept payments by debit (pin) cards in our Jordaan Shala and our Downtown Studio, but not in our yoga studio in Amsterdam North. Unfortunately, we cannot process any payments by credit card.

Our unlimited yoga memberships are paid for through preauthorized debit (automatische incasso), so you won’t have to worry about anything and just come do your Vinyasa flow.

Can I drop in for yoga and tea whenever I feel like?

Since we’re still a yoga studio, we’re usually not open when we’re not teaching or hosting events. So please do check out our schedule for regular opening hours during classes and other activities, like Kirtan or free meditation classes.

How long is my 10-class yoga card valid?

Actually, that depends on which yoga card you’ve bought. Our Newcomer’s Yoga card is valid for two months, whereas our normal Flexible Yoga card is valid for a whole three months.

I'd like to get a yoga membership. What do I need to know?

You can find all info about prices on our pricing page. We offer two yoga memberships: Unlimited Yoga and Unlimited Yoga+, which start (and auto-renew) on the first day of the month.
If you prefer to use your own mat, but want to avoid carrying it on your bike, you can also store it at our Jordaan Shala for an additional €10. Yes, that’s the PLUS in our Unlimited Yoga+ membership.

You can just fill out our official-looking form at the studio whenever you’d like to start your membership. We use preauthorized debit (automatische incasso), so if you want to cancel or suspend your membership, be sure to give written notice before the 1st day of your final month. P.S.: we’re not the government, so cancelling your yoga membership per email would work just fine 😉

I would love to rent a yoga studio for my private event. Is that possible?

Yes, you can rent all our yoga studio spaces in Amsterdam – outside of our regular opening hours. Just send an email to moc.a1508377635goyah1508377635avs@o1508377635fni1508377635 with some details about when and what you’d need the space for and we’ll get back to you.

The Life

Dip your toes or dive right in.

Where can I buy my yoga mat, yoga philosophy books and other yoga goodies?

You actually don’t need much for your life as a yogi. It’s really not about wearing the fanciest outfits or spending tons of money on reading material. You don’t even need to buy or rent a yoga mat to attend classes at Svaha Yoga – we provide yoga mats and other props for free.

However, if you do feel like #bigspending on yoga gear, be sure to check out the webshops of our friends at Yogisha or Varsana.

Wanna try before you buy? We have a little yoga store in our Jordaan Shala, where we sell books, the Sadhana DVD series, the occasional CD and obviously: Svaha Yoga t-shirts. If you’re wondering about availability, just send an email to moc.a1508377635goyah1508377635avs@e1508377635isoj1508377635.

Last but not least: in case you’re looking for the right tunes to sooth your inner guru – Patrick’s made the cure just for that.

I associate yoga with vegetarians and treehuggers. Should I cut out all meat?

That’s up to you. However, all our teachers keep a vegetarian diet and we’ve stopped some more destructive habits for some time now. Our appetite for meat, moonshine and other illicit substances have simply proven to be incompatible with our yoga practice.

The biggest thing about yoga is to be nice to your body and to the environment – and fast & furious Western carnivorous diets are often quite the opposite. Your body will tell you what it needs to stay healthy, so just listen.

I've lost my superhuman focus two days after class. Is there a way to keep it all the time?

Well… all the time might be a bit much. But meditating for about 10 minutes a day does really help to keep your mind as clear as a crisp winter morning (before climate change took away our winters).

There’s a lot of different tricks to fit meditation into your routine: when you get up or some time before you go to bed are great times. Or after lunch.
Or after a shower.
Or in the shower.
Just not on your way to work – you might forget where you’re going.

The Lingo

You've got the moves – now learn the words.

Asana… sounds yummy! Where can I get one?

In Sanskrit, asana means posture, or seat. In yoga, we choose to adopt many postures that are often seen as… uncomfortable (or at least intriguing). Now, all those postures are in fact asanas. The physical aspect of yoga, or the Hatha path, is basically made up of a sequence of asanas strung together on the rhythm of the breath.

So what's all this Pranayama got to do with flow yoga?

Proper breathing techniques are an integral part of Vinyasa yoga, and they’re called pranayama. The word translates to ‘extension of life force‘. Before you think we’re going all floaty and culty again, just think about it – what’s life without breathing?

Ujjayi breath is one of the better-known pranayama techniques, but there’s more to it. We teach a Pranayama special for those who really want to start breathing like a pro, but it’s an important part of every class we teach.

A special way of breathing: Ujjayi… Say what?

Ujjayi (‘ooh-JAI-yee’) breath sounds weird if you don’t know it yet – and not just the word. But there is method to the madness. It’s best recognized by the deep-raspy sound people make when they breath during a set. As Josie beautifully explains, it’s directing your breath from the bottom to the top of your spine, while creating space in the back of your throat (which is where the sound comes from).

The purpose? Ujjayi is a form of pranayama, which makes breathing a conscious act. It will help you ‘overcome’ a particular posture and deepen your practice. Once you get over the strangeness of making sound when you breathe, you’ll start noticing how useful the technique is. Particularly to help you through those hip-openers on a Sunday morning…

'Moon days'? And why should I avoid inverted poses?

If you’re a dude – don’t worry, you don’t have ’em. We call them moon days coz they happen once a month… Yep, the lovely time of the menstrual period.

So ladies, why should you avoid inverted poses? Well, your body is already quite actively getting rid of stuff during these days. By flipping yourself upside down, you would reverse the ‘natural flow’ (no pun intended). Which would be really counter-productive if you think about it.

What is this whole Bhakti chanting business? And what can I expect?

There’s more to yoga than simply honing and toning the physical. Your emotions also deserve a controlled workout, which is why Bhakti Yoga has a set place in our yoga classes. The chants we sing at Svaha Yoga are thousands of years old and have not lost their potency: there’s just something about the frequency that resonates straight down to your core.

Now that’s exactly the point of Bhakti yoga, or the emotional path of yoga. To get out of your head, and into your emotions.