Alright. You’ve decided to try out a yoga class. Now what? Don’t worry. Take a deep breath. Here are 10 easy tips to help your first experience with yoga go a little smoother.
Your breath is an excellent tool to calm first-time jitters. If you can manage to focus on your breath it will help keep you connected to the present moment… Which is a good thing! You’re instructor will give cues for inhaling and exhaling, just try to follow along.
2. Don’t strain!!!
Beginner yogis and advanced yogis sometimes struggle with this one. If you’re feeling pain back out of the posture! If you’re straining (rapid, shallow breath, turning red, shaking) back out of the posture! Know that you can always skip a pose (and you’re kinda expected to as a newbie). Child’s Pose is always available. Honor any injuries or special conditions and make sure that you inform the instructor BEFORE class starts.
3. Get there early and be prepared.
Get to the yoga studio at least 15 minutes before your first yoga class, so you can fill out a health questionnaire/liability waiver, meet the yoga instructor, and tour the facilities. Bring a bottle of water. If you’re a prolific sweater bring a towel too. Don’t worry if you don’t have a yoga mat. Most yoga studios will provide a yoga mat for a small rental fee. Some even rent them for free.
4. Wear comfortable clothes.
Make sure your yoga clothes fit and are not see through. Check your top/sports bra to make sure you won’t fall out of the top when you bend over. Also, bend over in front of the mirror to check your derriere. You might be surprised that your brand new Lulu Lemon yoga pants are see-through. If you’re going to wear shorts, make sure they are not too loose, unless you’d like to share your lady/man parts to the rest of class. Also, leave your shoes outside of the studio and skip the perfume/cologne before practice.
5. Be quiet.
When you walk into the yoga room keep the volume down. Don’t toss your mat on the floor. Place your mat on the floor. And when it’s time to leave silently roll up your mat, return your props, and quietly walk out of the room.
6. Don’t ever step on someone else’s mat!!!
For some people their yoga mat is a sacred space. You need to respect that. And we rest our face on our yoga mats… I’m sure you’re awesome and all, but no one wants your feet or foot sweat near their face.
7. Yoga is a practice.
It’s your first yoga class you won’t be “perfect”. You won’t be able to do each pose “perfectly”. Each body is different and each day your body is different, so don’t get down on yourself if the pose doesn’t look the way you think it should. Your body will evolve, so let it. This is a great time to let go of any judgement you have about yourself or other people in the room.
8. Practice yoga on an empty stomach or near empty stomach.
Don’t eat right before yoga class. Make sure that your body has at least a couple of hours to digest food before attending class. You may also want to drink a little extra water beforehand to reduce the possibility of becoming dehydrated.
9. Leave your cell phone outside of the yoga studio.
You could leave it in the locker room, in a cubby, in your car, etc. If you must bring it in make sure the ringer is turned off.
10. You might experience your first mantra, “om” or other sanskrit chant.
It’s okay if you don’t know it. Just follow along. And if you’re curious about the meaning, go ahead and ask the yoga teacher about it after class.
Bonus Tip: Have fun!
It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to fall out of a pose. We’ve all been there. Even gumby up front in the neon pants!