When you’re new to a yoga class, the scene can feel pretty intimidating. Maybe you’ve peeked in the studio with envy of the teacher’s flexibility – maybe a persistent friend is dying to drag you along – or maybe your doctor has suggested you give it a go. Whatever your reason for trying your first yoga class, it doesn’t have to come with overwhelming anxiety.
These tips will help put your mind at ease so can you can tackle your first yoga class with confidence.
Mats are often supplied but if you’ve committed to a regular yoga practice, having your own mat will pay off in the long run. You don’t need to spend a lot of cash, you just need to have something that is yours. Be sure to look for a proper yoga mat with good grip and not a Pilates or exercise mat.
Don’t be tempted to wear loose clothing or your first downward facing dog will see your top in your armpits. Wear something on the snug side with something loose over the top if that makes you comfortable.
We sometimes chant OM at the beginning and end of a class. It’s a personal thing and absolutely not mandatory to participate – there’s no judgement, but it sounds really cool and one day it might feel right for you to join in. Until then, don’t feel you have to.
Arrive 10 minutes early and allow yourself some time to meet the instructor and get set up on your mat. With your shoes and socks off, use this time to get connected with feet to mat – we call it getting ‘earthed’.
Avoid eating a meal for at least two hours before a yoga class, or a snack at least one hour before. Let’s just say a full tummy and a yoga class are not friends!
You’ve probably never noticed that you take over 1,000 breaths every day. A yoga class is the perfect opportunity to slow down and be mindful of your breath. The instructor will give cues to inhale and exhale, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow along exactly – just don’t hold it all in!
You know what? It’s okay to be the beginner. You don’t have to nail every pose, you just have to show up and enjoy the experience. There are no expectations, so check your ego at the door and move comfortably in your own body.
The final pose is called Savasana (pronounced sha-vass-ahnah). This is a resting pose that completes the practise and it’s really simple – just lay on your back, shut your eyes and be still. I like to say ‘be a human being, not doing’. Leaving during this part of the class is disrespectful of other participants and the teacher, so if you decide to stay, stay ’til the end.
Namaste (pronounced nah-mas-tay) is a Sanskrit word (yoga language) meaning ‘I honour you’. It is said by the instructor at the conclusion of a class and repeated back from participants with the hands in prayer by your heart space. It’s a beautiful, warm gesture that unites your yoga community.