It finally happened. After asking my sister to join me for a class yoga for what seems like forever, I had pretty much given up on the idea of me ever being able to share my joy of yoga with her…until this weekend.
“I think I want to try yoga this summer,” she said casually.
My internal self was like “WHHHAAATTTT?!?!?!?” I had to restrain myself from jumping up and down and sharing all the things I love about yoga and my studio and how much she was going to love it, for this would have totally freaked her out and could have potentially made her changed her mind. Sometimes I think my enthusiasm has a tendency to scare her off.
So instead I have written this post in her honor. Here are:
6 things to know before your 1st yoga class:
1. What to wear
Yoga Fashion is a thing, seriously…but since this is your first class don’t go out and spend $200 on a Lululemon outfit, just wear something breathable and comfortable. You don’t want anything too tight since having full range of motion is important.
2. What to bring
Most studios will provide you with everything you need for class if you tell them this is your first yoga class. But just in case, here are the basic things you will need.
- Yoga/exercise mat– Again, don’t go out and buy an expensive. Borrow one from a friend, rent one from the studio or pop into Marshalls and grab one on clearance. I used my first mat, which I bought at Marshalls, for the first 3 years I was learning yoga and I still use it when I practice at home.
- Water– While it depends on the type of yoga you are doing(heated, non-heated, warm, etc.), most yoga studios will be warm simply to keep your muscles warm and by nature you are working your body so you will want some water.
- Hand towel– Always like to have one of these on hand to wipe my face or my hands…but this one is just personal preference.
- Other items you might encounter in a yoga studio may be a block, a strap or a blanket, but majority of the time these are provided by the studio and not necessarily needed for every class.
3. Yoga Etiquette
While the studio I go to is pretty chill compared to most, there is some basic etiquette that almost all studios adhere to.
- Get there early– You need this time to set up your mat and get a good spot – also most studios shut the doors to class right as class starts so you can’t disturb everyone’s practice by coming in late.
- No electronic devices– No cell phones/IPads/Kindles/Nooks allowed. Leave them outside the studio, or better yet, at home! Yoga is your time to focus on your inner self and shut out the outside world, even if it is for a brief 60 mins.
- Introduce yourself to your instructor– Teachers love to get to know their student plus this is a time to make sure they are aware of any injuries you may have. If you make your instructor aware of your injuries they can help you find any modifications for some positions that may cause discomfort.
- Don’t leave during shavasana/corpse pose– Most yoga classes finish with the class laying on their backs in a pose call shavasana. This is a relaxing, restorative pose for students to wrap up their practice. If you need to leave, leave before this pose.
4. Follow your instructor
You are naturally going to feel rushed during your first class. This is totally normal as you are trying to do a lot of things at once. Between listening to the teacher’s instructions, watching what everyone else is doing and trying to contort your body into positions you don’t usually do, you are bound to fall behind. My best advice, follow your teacher and don’t worry if you don’t master a pose the first time you do it. There will be plenty of other chances. After a few yoga sessions you will notice that the “rushed feeling” will go away and you will be flowing with the rest of the class.
5. Listen to your body
As you move into each pose you, be mindful of any tightness you may feel throughout your body. As a beginner it will be a natural reaction to clench your jaw, neck, hands and toes as you start to use parts of your body that you may not have used in years! As you begin to move, be mindful of this tension and release it.
6. Keep Breathing
It’s a natural reaction for those new to yoga to hold their breath during challenging poses. Breathing deeply can actually help you relax and hold the pose more successfully. In the beginning, don’t worry about matching the instructor’s breathing instructions exactly; just don’t hold your breath.
So those are my tips/needs to know before your first yoga class. Do you have any other questions that I did not answer? Have any other advice you would give a new yogi?
Please leave them in the comments below.