So you’ve decided to go to your first yoga class?
You’ve overcome the perceptions that yoga is some sort of religion, involves impossible to get into poses and sitting around on mats chanting. You know it can benefit you physically and mentally and help you get stronger, more flexible and can help your posture. But there is still one barrier left. Going to your first class.
Don’t worry. Don’t feel intimidated! Here are ten top tips for your first yoga class to think about before you go that will make your first class go well for you.
1) Read a book or watch a video beforehand.
It will help if you know the basics of yoga then you will have an idea of what to expect in your first class. There are hundreds of yoga poses and styles. But there are also hundreds of books and videos both on and offline. I like the videos they have on YogaToday.com but a simple search on YouTube would suffice.
2) Pick a yoga studio convenient to your home:
It might be a fitness club offering a yoga class or a dedicated yoga studio, but make sure it is close to home. Also check out the advert boards in your local shops as they often carry ads for yoga classes in community centres or church halls.
3) Get there early so you can have a look round.
Get there at least 15 minutes early: This will give you time to fill out any necessary forms, get yourself a locker if available and start to unwind before class. if you can get into the studio, set your yoga mat in a comfortable place in the room – and don’t assume that as you are new that you need to hide at the back.
4) Eat sensibly before your class
Keep food on the day of your first yoga class light and simple by having healthy food at least two to three hours before class. Not heavy, fried, fatty, saucy, spicy, and high-acid food as they might make you feel sick as you start to exercise. It’s also not a good idea to exercise on an empty stomach either as you may start feeling light-headed as your body needs fuel that is not there. I like bananas before my classes.
5) Drink drink drink
Drink plenty of water before and after the class. You must be hydrated during class because you will sweat even in less physically demanding types of yoga. Best start drinking water at least two hours before so your body can absorb the water properly. If you are doing hot yoga or bikram yoga make sure that you’re fully hydrated before you start. Because you will sweat buckets.
6) Wear really comfortable clothes
Wear comfortable clothes that aren’t so tight that they restrict your movement. You don’t need to wear long pants, just wear something you feel relaxed and confident in. Ladies can wear quick-dry Capri and tight tops where gents may put on shorts and baggy t-shirts. Remember that unlike gym exercises, you will be bending and stretching a lot, so loose clothes tend to fall in your face during downward poses and it will become difficult for the teacher to check your alignment.
7) And take off your shoes and socks
You practice Yoga barefoot. This freaks some people out. They don’t like espousing their bare feet. But being barefoot gives you more grip on the mat especially in the standing poses. If you have any problem being barefoot, ask your instructor if you can keep your socks on—or you could buy a pair of yoga socks.
8) Talk to the teacher
You might be shy or uncomfortable talking to the teacher, but they are there for you. Yoga teachers are very helpful and encouraging—they want new students to have the best experience possible during their first class. If you don’t talk to the teacher before the class starts he or she will always ask if there is anyone who hasn’t done yoga before. I find that even when I ask this question some people still stay silent. Don’t. Make yourself known. Also let your teacher know of any medical conditions you have that might affect your practice. Your teacher will offer changes if needed as you can adjust most yoga poses to your needs.
9) No mobiles
Keep your mobile off. Maintaining silence in the room is difficult with irritating ring-tones going off. Be mindful of the other students sharing their love and energy with you.
10) Don’t go too far
Gyms are quite competitive especially when men try to out do each other with the weights they can lift. But yoga shouldn’t be like that. No one is going to criticise you and there is no prize for “Most Intense Pose.” It doesn’t matter if there are poses you can’t do or you are not super flexible. Always listen to your body—don’t go too far just to keep up with the rest of the class. If it gets too much, spend time in child’s pose until you are ready to jump back in.
And most of all enjoy yourself!
Your turn: I’d love to hear your stories about your first yoga class. What was it like? How did you feel. Do any of these tips resonate with you? Click below where it says “Leave a Reply” and share your thoughts.