Your First Yoga Class: What To Expect

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You’ve heard about the benefits of yoga, and scientific studies continue to prove how the centuries old practice can benefit both the mind and the body. Knowing that information is easy, but putting it to good use can be hard! If you’ve never taken a yoga class before, it makes sense that you’d be a little apprehensive and unsure of what to expect. Let’s talk about what you need to know before you step into the studio for your first yoga class.

Choosing A Class
When you look at your local yoga studio’s online class selection, you may be overwhelmed at all the different options. Ashtanga? Hatha? Bikram? The types of yoga sound like a foreign language, and that’s because they are! Most studios have a page that describes the intensity level of each class, indicating which classes are suitable for brand new beginners. If you’re struggling to find the information you need, don’t hesitate to call the yoga studio. According to Mind Body Green Movement, styles tend to differ slightly from instructor to instructor, so the studio will be able to help you choose which class makes the most sense for you. If you’re more comfortable in a private environment, ask the studio about one on one lessons with an instructor. This can help boost your confidence so that you feel comfortable in a larger class.

What To Bring
The day is here- it’s time for your first yoga class! You’re probably wondering what you need to bring in order to be prepared. Wear comfortable, form fitting clothing (looser clothing may get in the way of your poses). Bring a water bottle, your yoga mat (some studios allow you to rent a mat), and an open mind. If you’re taking a hot yoga class, you may want to bring an extra bottle of water and a towel.

The Day Of Class
Arrive 10-15 minutes early, but don’t panic if the doors are still locked. Many studios are opened and closed by yoga teachers, and typically the doors are locked while class is in session. When you get into the reception area of the studio, give the person checking you in your name. If you didn’t pre-pay for the class online, you’ll square away at this time. You may be asked to fill out release of liability forms before class begins.

When you enter the studio, it’s good practice to be quiet and respectful, as some people meditate before class. Take a moment to read the room- if people are happily chatting, it’s welcome to strike up a conversation. If the lights are low and people are silent on their mats, follow suit. It’s likely that props (such as foam blocks, nylon straps, and blankets) will be stacked against a wall. Take a cue from the other participants to see what you’ll need for class.

Unroll your mat in an area in which you feel comfortable. Many studios have small markings on the floor to indicate where mats should go to allow for maximum class capacity.

During Your Practice
Allow your mind to clear and focus on the instructor’s words. Don’t worry if there are moves you can’t do yet. Yoga is a practice, not a competition. Don’t be afraid to take it slow- according to, yoga is never supposed to hurt. You may feel challenged, you may feel intense stretching, but pain is a sign that you need to slow down. If you need a break, or a pose is too challenging, feel free to rest in childs pose. If you need to take a moment to use the restroom, or to simply breathe outside of the studio, simply excuse yourself quietly. Note that it is in extremely poor form to text or use cell phones during a yoga class.

Moving Forward
After your first yoga class, it’s likely that you’ll feel energized, renewed, and clearheaded. The more you dive into your yoga practice, the more fulfilling it will become. Be sure to thank the instructor if you enjoyed the class, and take note of their name so you can sign up for one of their classes again.

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