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Getting Ready for your First Yoga Class

Posted by Laura Germanio OTR, RYT, LMT, CLT on May 15, 2011 at 2:54 PM

Getting Ready For Your First Yoga Class:

New to yoga?? Read this…

If you are ready to finally go out and see what this yoga craze is all about then here are a few tips to help you feel more comfortable walking into class.

- Try not to eat an hour or so before the class. You don’t want a heavy meal sitting in your stomach as you twist and stretch so give yourself time to digest. If you need a little snack a while before class to keep your blood sugar (& energy level!) up then just keep it light.

- Drink water before/during/after class. You want to be well hydrated before you start any exercises, especially deep stretching. This goes double if you are taking a HOT yoga class. Staying hydrated will also help to dampen any soreness you will feel the next day ( yes…you might be a bit sore after your first yoga class)

- Bathroom Break: with all of this hydrating going on you will want to make a quick stop in the bathroom before class. You will enjoy your class more if nature is not calling!

- Focus on the breath: Yoga is about the BREATH- The postures we do with the body are secondary to our focus on the breath. By keeping the mind focused on deep breathing we are able to stay present in our yoga practice- it prevents the mind from wandering and creating the mental “to do” list that we all have. This focus on the breath is what allows us to relax and work on releasing the physical signs of stress in our body (muscle tension).

- Check your ego at the door: yoga is all about YOUR practice- doing exactly what your body needs on that given day. If the teacher is giving you a pose that isn’t right for you today then modify that pose and make it your own. Don’t worry about the person next to you or about how flexible you want to look (this is how we get injuries!). Focus on how the pose feels making sure that your breath is still smooth and deep, you don’t have any pain and you are able to enjoy what you are doing. When in doubt…check the breath…if your breathing is strained that is your body telling you to back off a bit. Have patience! Your yoga practice will change and evolve in ways that you never expected if you stay dedicated and exercise patience.

- Let the teacher know you are new: Feel free to give the teacher a little heads up that you are new to yoga. They may want to keep you close so they can give you a little extra help along the way. If the teacher knows there is a new student in the room they will also offer more modifications and options to the students to customize the yoga practice to your level. Just ask for help…that is what the teacher is for!

- Keep an open mind!: When you walk into your first yoga class there may be some things that seem a bit strange to you….odd body positions…some words in another language…possibly a bit of chanting…some interesting music. Don’t let these things scare you away! You will see over time that it is all part of the yoga experience. If the class starts to OMMM or chant and you don’t feel comfortable participating feel free to just sit and observe the experience. You can join in one day when you feel ready.

- Don’t get too serious: a smile is the perfect accessory to any pose! Yoga does not have to be a serious practice. If the teacher cracks a joke or if you fall out of a pose feel free to laugh. Laughing is a great way to relieve stress and enjoy yourself. Your yoga practice should be FUN.

- Get Comfortable: Dress in clothes that have a bit of stretch to them so they will move with you. Make sure you are comfortable in whatever you are wearing and be ready to go barefoot. Being barefoot is the best way to get traction on your yoga mat so you are able to do all the fun poses. Make sure your clothes are not too loose because you don’t want them getting in the way as you move from pose to pose.

- For more info look at : Yoga Props- these are some things you might come across in yoga class to help you with different poses (props are your friend!). Yoga Etiquette: these are some tips on how to conduct yourself during a yoga class.

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