Are you planning to attend a yoga class for the first time but have no idea what to expect? There is nothing to worry about. The thought of practicing your moves in public can be intimidating for many future yogis. So, here are a few nuggets of precious information on what you should expect in your first yoga class. Head to a life-changing experience feeling calm and confident.
Do a little research
A little research about the yoga class you’re heading to might come in handy. Find out the style of yoga you will be practicing and learn its background. It is an ancient Indian practice which promotes good health and relaxation. There can be many different kinds of yoga classes including hatha, vinyasa, power yoga, bikram or hot yoga etc. This will help you prepare for the class.
Wear comfortable active wear that will not restrict your movement. It should be loose enough to move freely but not so baggy that your teacher can’t see your form. Women should consider wearing a more fitted top so that it doesn’t come down over the head during an inverted position like downward dog. The material should be breathable because you will definitely sweat. It should not be very slippery as that make certain asanas difficult. Yoga is practiced barefoot, to connect with the earth underneath. So, you must take your shoes and socks off before beginning the yoga class.
Yoga gear you should carry
The most important gear that you must invest in is a yoga mat. If you haven’t bought one yet, you can call the yoga studio ahead of the class and ask whether they have a spare mat that you can borrow or rent. Yoga blocks or straps are generally provided by the studio. You can also carry a bottle of water and a small towel with you, but remember to not use your phone in class.
Arrive before time
If it’s your first class, it is important to arrive 10-15 minutes ahead of time. Introduce yourself to the instructor and let the person know if you have any injuries. Find a spot that you’re comfortable with and unroll your mat there. If you’re lacking confidence on your first day, you can take a place at the back so you can see and follow the people in front of you. Unroll your mat facing the instructor.
What to eat beforehand
You must remain comfortable throughout the session, so don’t eat a heavy meal right before class. On the other hand, it’s not a good idea to practice on an empty stomach as you will feel physically exhausted and lightheaded. The trick is to eat only light snacks before class. You could have fruits, nuts, dates or a yoghurt before class begins so that you don’t feel hungry but you’re not full either.
Don’t get confused by the asana names
Your yoga teacher may refer to the poses using their Sanskrit names which may sound confusing if you’re not familiar with them already. Although most teachers mention their English versions as well. Don’t worry, you will become familiar with the words and begin to recognize them over time.
The physical touch
Yoga teachers will adjust students to keep them in correct alignment. The instructor will go around the class and gently move you into the proper position. If you feel uncomfortable or prefer not to be touched, you can let your instructor know.
Common yoga traditions
Combined with poses you can encounter some other common yoga traditions in your first class. Many classes begin with chanting Om. You don’t have to join in if you don’t want to but it is a great way of uniting the energy of the group. It is a sacred word in Sanskrit that is said to be the sound of creation. Your class will consist of a series of poses with smooth transition in between. If you ever need to take a break in between, you can take the child’s pose. Sit back with your hips on your knees and place your forehead on the floor with your arms outstretched or they can be wrapped behind your legs.
Don’t push yourself too hard
Remember, you are your best teacher and you can always tell what’s best for your body. It is common to feel discomfort when you’re just beginning. But it’s important not to push yourself to hard and stop when you feel in serious pain.
Don’t forget to breathe
Lots of newbies tend to hold their breath while their asanas. This is not necessary and it is very important to practice synchronized breathing along with the poses. Inhale and exhale deeply to feel calm, relaxed and focused.
Don’t skip corpse pose
The class ends with savasana or corpse pose when you lie on your back with the eyes closed and rest for a while.