So you’ve heard about all the wonderful things yoga can bring to your life and you’ve seen tons of posts online. You’ve done your homework and found a class that is appropriate for your experience level and fitness level (walking into a yoga class only to find that it is too easy, or too difficult, for your abilities can be disappointing). You found a teacher you believe will compliment your strengths and challenge your weaknesses. So now you’re ready to take the plunge and attend your first yoga class, but what to expect? Here’s a breakdown of the dos and don’ts of studio yoga classes.
1) Relax, it’s only yoga. Seriously, this should be a fun experience, not a stress inducer.
2) Wear comfortable clothes that allow you to move and twist freely. Make sure you feel good about what you’re wearing, both mentally and physically, you don’t want to take your mind away from your practice by worrying about your appearance.
3) Bring a bottle of water, and maybe a towel, if you’re attending a rigorous class that involves sweating. If you haven’t yet purchased your own yoga mat, you can borrow one from the studio.
4) Be sure to show up a few minutes early to lay out your mat and gather some props. Blocks, bolsters, and straps are helpful tools, even for the most experienced yogis.
5) You’re exactly where you need to be. Don’t sweat it. Introduce yourself if you want to, or simply keep to yourself. Here, your part of the collective and everyone has a place.
6) We all know social media is a bunch of BS, so don’t be intimidated by the things you see online. Yoga is for everyone. In fact, most yogis are just like you and me. They’re hard-working moms and dads, sisters and brothers, students and retirees and they’re eager to share their love of yoga with those who’ve just started practicing. If you don’t believe me, ask a yogi about their practice, chances are they’ll be more than happy to share their enthusiasm with you.
7) Don’t worry about being “good” at yoga. Yoga isn’t a competition, you won’t earn a grade, you can’t score points, you won’t be judged by the teacher or other students. If you are truly practicing yoga, you are rooting for those around you to have an awesome and fulfilling class and they are rooting for you. It’s not a “win or lose” type of activity.
8) Honor your body. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it, or ask the teacher for a modification. Yoga is mindful movement and although sometimes we can overdo it, the goal of yoga is to grow in your practice, not to cause injuries.
9) Child’s pose can be taken at any time. This has been one of the greatest lessons I learned when I was a new yogi. In fact, I’ve embraced this message so completely, I often take child’s pose in my office (I’m looking at you Monday mornings).
10) Every yoga class is a conversation, it is not a lecture. If you have a question or if you’re uncertain about a pose, just ask. The yoga teacher will be happy to elaborate on or rephrase the statement.
11) Breathe! Breathe! Breathe! If the only thing you accomplish in a yoga class is to mindfully take 100 breaths, you still had a successful class. In truth, yoga poses are just the icing on the cake. Taking full, complete, breaths IS the cake.
12) Don’t beat yourself up. During those first few yoga classes, we all feel a little awkward, I mean like a baby giraffe being born, kind of awkward. But eventually, you’ll grow into your practice and you’ll begin to understand why so many people love yoga. If you give your practice your time and your earnest attention, you too will bask in that yoga glow.
If you have any questions or just want to chat, please drop us a line and we’ll be happy to talk (your ear off) about yoga.