8 Tips to get you through your first yoga class
my first few years of yoga practice in the gym of my office, it felt safe, I had a good bond with the teacher and the class never went out of my comfort zone. When I left my job and started using studios I began to witness people with advance practice it and the positions intimidated me.
I love teaching yoga to beginners because I know what a buzz it can be when you first start to feel the results. I want everyone to be converted because each and everyone can benefit from yoga no matter what age, size or even if they have injuries. When I market my classes the main thing people say to me is yoga isn’t for me, I am not flexible which is crazy because even stiff people can benefit from yoga.
For me joining a studio was intimidating they chanted Om at the beginning of class which I had never done before and obviously I didn’t have any understanding of the Sanskrit names of the different postures or realise there was a whole yoga language.
Here are my top tips for joining your first class.
Wear something comfortable
You don’t need to be sporting the latest no sweat Lululemon outfit. Wearing all the gear won’t improve your practice. You need to be able to move in the clothes, remember some of the poses our head is down so you don’t want a baggy top that may rise. Also try not to have zips or fastenings at the back as you spend a bit of time lying down. Usually you will leave your shoes at the door. Yoga is normally practiced in bare feet.
Finding a suitable class
Find a class that is suitable for beginners, even if you have a good level of fitness it is good to go to a slower class to give you the foundations so they you understand why we do the poses and make sure you are practising them safely. There are many styles of yoga. I started doing Iyengar yoga which is fantastic for beginners because it focuses on alignment and how the poses should feel. The stronger classes are really good but better to do intro sessions first so that you recognise the poses and can flow better through the sequences.
Don’t eat too soon before class
It is best to leave about 90mins before practising yoga. Some of the classes may be dedicated to twisting which can help to clear your digestion so you don’t want a full stomach as it isn’t comfortable. If you need to eat before maybe have a piece of fruit like a banana. Some styles of yoga don’t recommend you drinking water but I would always carry a bottle just in case.
Don’t worry about the person next to you
Yoga is all about your body and concentrating on the right alignment for you. Yoga is not competitive. Everyone was a beginner own so don’t worry about the people around you, focus on yourself and what your body is telling you. It is easy to want to compare yourself but this is where you will end up injuring yourself. Yoga is a life long journey, there is no need to do it all in one class.
Keep an open mind
Yoga does have some ancient rituals which more spiritual teachers may use in class. It may seem uncomfortable to start with but once you have been to a couple of classes and get used to the routine you will forget who strange they first seemed to you.
Make sure you get to class early, as a beginner you will want to hide at the back of the class but stay close to the front, it helps the teacher to have you near and you will get some nice adjustments to help you get into the poses easier. Also if you get there early you can get your medical form completed and registration and start to relax ready for your first class.
Take breaks if you need them
This is your first class, go easy on yourself. Give yourself the goal to make it through the first class and nothing else, Childs pose is the perfect pose to relax into if anything gets too hard. Don’t be embarrassed by needing to take a break, listen to your body.
Sounds a bit silly but when you are concentrating you start to hold your breath and then your muscles don’t relax so try and relax your face and focus on taking deep breaths.
Most importantly: Enjoy Your Practice!
Make sure you Re-hydrate and book your next class as soon as possible before your body forgets how good it feels.