So you decided that you wanted to try your first yoga class…
If you are nervous about it, you are not alone. According to the CDC, National Health Center of Statistics, Office of Communication, more people are practicing yoga now than ever before. That means there is a high chance many of you share similar anxious feelings about going to your first yoga class. If you have some anxiety about it, don’t worry yoga will put you at ease.
Yoga offers a wide range of health benefits, reducing stress and increasing an overall sense of wellbeing. Yoga has ancient roots. The word “Yoga” is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning to ‘join’ or to ‘unite’. Yoga is said not to be tied to a particular religion, but it does have strong connections to Indian spiritual practices and has components of Hinduism. There are many misconceptions associated with practicing yoga, one, being religious, and the other is yoga is only for “certain” people, neither are true, but these stereotypes causes people to be hesitant to try it.
As someone who practices yoga and teaches foundational yoga movements (Yoga Fit). I can tell you that your first class will be wonderful only if you are open to the experience. Below I have some tips on how to prepare for your first class. Be sure to let me know how your first yoga class went by dropping a comment below.
Come to class with an open mind
“Leave your worries behind”- Heatwave
First thing first, yoga is more than fitness, social media, and impossible looking stretches, it is all those things and more. Yoga connects you to your inner being and the world around you. It isn’t about ego, it is about surrender.
Yoga is intimidating: it is tough, it requires you to master balance, strength, flexibility, and mindfulness. It is the perfect time to get out of your comfort zone. In the same breath, yoga is gentle, peaceful, generous, and rewarding. Yoga is all of these things because yoga is much more than exercise. All levels are always welcome, don’t worry if you aren’t as flexible or as graceful as the yogis of Instagram. They have had years of practice and photoshop on their side.
With that being said, leave all what you have heard and seen about yoga at the door. Mindfulness is not about worrying about the past or the future, it is about being present. You have a lot to look forward to with your first class. Start by clearing your mind and giving yoga a chance by opening up your mind to the possibilities of savoring the moment.
Bring a YOGA MAT or a few dollars in case you need to rent a mat
Check with your studio for all the things you need for class. Some studios require you to bring a yoga mat while others will provide you with one. Make sure to keep a few extra dollars on hand, just in case you have to rent a mat. Mat rentals are about $5.00 for some places, for other studios, it may be higher. If your first class is hot yoga, make sure you have a mat that has grip and doesn’t slip!
When shopping for a yoga mat, make sure you purchase one that comes with mat straps to help carry your mat. Warning, yoga mats can be expensive. A high-quality mat will run you about $50.00-$100.00. Since this is your first class, don’t spend too much money on a mat. My first yoga mat was $10.00 and it lasted me for a few years.
What else to bring: http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3clA1GUh-0Q
-bring a water bottle
-bring a towel.
Follow your yoga studios’ account on social media
I always say it is better to follow your yoga’s studio account on social media rather than a yoga influencer. I say this because of the intimidation factor I mentioned earlier and I also say this because there are so many different types of yoga practices, teachings, and disciplines that you can get lost down the rabbit hole! Check in with your studio and double check in with what type of yoga you will be doing for your first class. Once you know that you can learn more about that type of yoga from google.
By following your yoga’s studio account, you will stay in the know with any changes on the schedule. On their social media accounts, you will be able to find tips for beginners, Covid-19 guidelines, events, cool giveaways, and updated prices. They also may have access to some yoga videos you can follow to practice before you take your first class.
*Did you know one of the most common yoga practices for beginners in the West is Hatha yoga. This type of yoga is great for people who are new to yoga and it is less intimidating. As you go on your journey you can deepen your practice.*
Arrive 15 minutes early
Punctuality is important. No matter what fitness or yoga studio you go to, please arrive 15 minutes or earlier before class starts! This makes it easier for new people to get adjusted to the studio and class type. It also makes it easier for the instructor, so they can go over any guidelines exercises (poses) that will take place in class. If you have any dire questions, before class would be the best time to answer. You want to give yourself ample time to get acclimated. Once the class starts, if you are late, you may not be able to get in!
If you are a social media guru, you won’t be able to capture your entire experience on your story or on your feed. You will have to check your electronics at the door and leave your cellphone in your locker.
*Many Yoga studios have cancellation and late fees, adhere to your studios policy. If you can’t make it to a class, call ahead (in the allotted time they require) to avoid cancelation and no-show fees. It is important to be respectful of time*
Wear clothes that you can move in
Have you heard of Lululemon, Athleta, Beyond Yoga, or Manduka? Those are some of the top yoga branded clothing, apparel, and equipment. I guarantee you have seen people wear these brands, but you may not have paid attention because their logos are smaller than your typical printed fitness apparel.
For your first call, I don’t recommend spending a small fortune on yoga apparel, some of these brands are very costly, but I do recommend wearing clothes that are comfortable and that your body can move in, like a cotton shirt or a tank and some comfortable shorts/leggings.
Inexpensive yoga brands and where to find inexpensive yoga clothes:
Don’t stretch passed your limits
Find what feels good- Yoga with Adriene
Every studio should offer modified yoga poses, if your instructor doesn’t offer any modifications or alternative poses then you may need to find a different instructor or a different studio.
Chances are your studio is inclusive and welcomes all body shapes and levels of fitness, don’t feel like you have to over exert yourself to fit an image or to prove anyone anything. This time and space is for you. If you feel pain or too much tension when you are in pose try an alternative one that is easier on your body.
Enjoy your first yoga class with a post smoothie
What better way to end your yoga class with a rejuvenating smoothie! I personally can’t a lot after I do yoga, but I do feel the need to eat some healthy an nourished. A good way to keep the after glow is to go get a cold-pressed juiced or a fresh smoothie.
Good luck with your first class and let us know if these tips helped you. Namaste.
Cover Photo Credit: Getty images