Are you ready to jump on the yoga bandwagon? That’s an amazing decision and you will certainly enjoy the positive effects if you prepare properly for your first yoga class.
Knowing what’s about to happen and how you should prepare for it will give you more confidence even as a beginner. And most importantly, you’ll be able to enjoy the class to the fullest if you hop on the mat with the right mindset. Are you ready? Take a deep breath and let’s get started!
The Props and Supplies You’re Going to Need
Firstly, you will need a couple of essential supplies for your first yoga class. While most studios do offer yoga mats, you may feel more comfortable bringing your own. The market features dozens of options. Some come with a carry case or a strap that make the mat very comfortable to take to different locations.
A comfortable outfit that absorbs moisture and keeps it away from your body will also be of great use. Keep in mind that shoes are typically not considered an essential accessory for yoga because most classes are done barefoot.
In reality, this is all you need, but some yoga practitioners like to have a couple of additional accessories available. While these are not completely necessary, they may give you a higher comfort level. A few of these items include a towel, a blanket, straps, blocks, a bolster or a mat cleaner.
Some studios may offer these essentials to their students. So, if you’re interested and you don’t want to spend much on yoga, it’s always a good idea to call and inquire before investing money in the equipment.
Find the Right Class
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The term yoga itself is cumulative. There are dozens of yoga styles, and each one of them is suitable for a certain person or a fitness/wellness goal. Always do some research to understand what your yoga studio is offering and which class is best for you.
If you’re just starting with yoga, the following options are recommended for you to start smoothly:
Hatha Yoga: It’s all the physical kind of yoga. It focuses on the basics; the movements are slower and a pose is held for a couple of seconds before moving on to the next one. This is a gentle yoga form that’s excellent for newbies.
Bikram Yoga: Another great option for beginners, Bikram Yoga consists of a series of 26 poses and breathing exercises that are practiced in a heated studio. The sequence is the same each time, which results in some predictability. The additional heat allows for more effective calorie burning.
This style is good for beginners but make sure that you are properly hydrated before attending the class.
Restorative or Yin Yoga: This is an excellent yoga class in terms of relaxation. Blankets and bolsters are used to do passive poses, allowing the body to stretch and get the benefits without strenuous efforts.
Vinyasa Yoga: Lately, a lot of studios that promote yoga classes are referring to Vinyasa Yoga. This style somewhat reminiscent of Bikram Yoga but without the heat. Students move from one pose to the next one without holding it for a longer period of time, following their breath. Strength, flexibility and proper breathing are all focal points in Vinyasa classes.
What to Eat, Drink & Wear
Having a meal right before going to a yoga class is never a good idea, even if you’ll be attending a relaxing session featuring passive poses.
It’s best to refrain from eating two hours before a yoga class, especially if you will be engaging in such physical activity for the first time. A small, light snack close to class time is acceptable if you don’t think you can go through the entire session on an empty stomach.
Also, it’s not important to make a fashion statement. Brand new workout clothes shouldn’t be tested during your first yoga class. If there’s a piece of clothing that’s bugging you, chances are that you will not be paying full attention to the instructions. Just wear anything comfortable.
Bring a water bottle with you. Regardless of the yoga style, you will feel the need to sip throughout the class. Finally, make sure that you’ve used the restroom before entering the studio. This may seem like a commonsense thing to do but in the uncertainty of the new experience, you may forget about it.
Let the Class Know That You’re a Newbie
Arrive early and, if possible, have a quick chat with the instructor before the class starts.
Letting others know that you’re a newbie will help you get the positive reinforcement and the feedback required to master a new skill. When doing yoga, it’s very important to do the poses and the breathing exercises correctly. By introducing yourself, you will be making sure that the yoga instructor is paying more attention to you during the first few sessions.
Choose the right spot in the yoga studio – front and center work best for newbies. Listen carefully, concentrate and follow the instructions. Keep an open mind and do what the rest of the class is doing. Chanting and meditation sessions may seem weird at first but if you give them a try, you may discover that they’re incredibly soothing and relaxing.
Finally, let go of the stress, relax and remember to have fun during the exploration process. Yoga is all about self-awareness and working with the most powerful tool that you have – your own body and mind. It’s ok if you don’t like the first yoga class that you go to. If that’s the case, try something else. You will eventually know which yoga class is right for you.
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