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9 Things To Know About Your First Yoga Class

9 Things To Know About Your First Yoga Class

Yoga is one of the best workouts out there. From building strength and increasing flexibility to improving your mind-body connection, yoga is one of those workouts that just leaves you feeling good. But, like any exercise, proper form and instruction are important. So going to a yoga class with an educated and experienced instructor is a must — especially before trying a yoga workout on your own at home or with a yoga DVD.

If you’ve never been to a yoga class before, it can seem a bit intimidating or even a bit weird. Each class and instructor is different though — and there are so many different types and styles of yoga out there! Even so, there are a few common elements to each class. Here are 10 things to know before you go!

Be prepared

When picking out a yoga class to try, look for words like “beginner” or “modifications shown.” If you can, chat with someone at the studio to learn what class might be best for you and your goals. Then, ask what you need to bring to class. Most studios have mats you can borrow or rent, but some require that you have your own. Also, it’s always a good idea to bring water and a towel.

Introduce yourself to the instructor

Get to class 10 or so minutes early and introduce yourself to the instructor. Let them know if you have any injuries or other limitations. Then, ask him or her for the best spot for you to be in the room, where you can easily see and be seen, without being on display since it’s your first time.

Turn off your phone

Treat yoga class like a play or movie — you don’t want to be the one ruining the show with a ringing phone. So if you have anything with you that makes noise, silence it or leave it in the car.

Have an open mind

As previously mentioned, every instructor has his or her own style. Some may ask you chant or breathe loudly. Try to have an open mind — but know that everything in class is optional. If you don’t feel comfortable doing something, don’t!

Respect your body

Almost all classes will have yoga props available to you — straps, blocks, pillows, etc. Definitely use these to help you better get into poses. There is no shame in modifying a move or even dropping down to a simple child’s pose (with your knees bent and your head on the floor) if you need to take a break at any time. This is your class, so do what you need to do!

Don’t compare yourself to others

Yoga is all about working within yourself. It’s not a competition with the rest of the class. So if the gal or guy next to you can do a pose but you can’t, don’t fret. Yoga is all about practice and getting better over time.

Expect to have your form corrected

Most instructors will come around the room from time to time and correct form and move your body so that it’s in better alignment. If you’re new, an instructor may have a lot to show you. Don’t take it as being singled out — rather it’s just good instruction!

Don’t eat a big meal before class

Most yoga classes involve twisting, folding and bending, and, well, trust us, you don’t want to have a big meal in your belly before you go!

Let go

One of the best parts of yoga is about just being. So try it stay focused in the moment, relax and enjoy! During the final resting pose of class, some instructors will even give you a little shoulder or head massage — relaxation bonus!

The bottom line? Try it! Yoga is great for the body, mind and soul!

Frances Masters

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience. Follow her @fusioncoachuk, or visit The Integrated Coaching Academy for details about up coming training.