Have you ever been interested in taking a yoga class, but aren’t really sure what to expect? Has the thought “I’m not flexible enough to do yoga” stopped your from stepping onto your mat? Friends, I’m here to help you debunk these myths and help you feel confident going into your first yoga class! Everyone starts as a beginner at some point, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating or scary. Whether you have never been inside a yoga studio in your life, or are just starting your new years resolution to get back into it, here are some tips to help make you feel confident walking into your first yoga class:
Choose the Right Type of Yoga
Did you know there are over 10 variations & styles of yoga? Depending on where you live, there are a ton of different types of yoga studios to choose from including Bikram, Vinyasa, Yin, Ashtanga, Kundalini, etc. Do some research and find what studios you would like to try in your area.
Once you’ve decided what studio you want to visit, the next step is to choose which class is best for you. Many studios offer a variety of classes and heat levels including beginner, intermediate, and advanced programs, so make sure to ask which one would be best for you. This is very important because you want to attend a class that will move at an appropriate pace and keep you safe from potential injury.
If you don’t end up liking the class or instructor, try another class next time! Sometimes the teacher can completely change the feel and tempo of your practice, so don’t be afraid to experiment and try different classes!
What to Bring
The three main things you will need for your yoga practice are a mat to practice on, a towel to wipe off sweat, and a water bottle. Most of these things are available to purchase or rent at a studio, so no worries if you don’t have one! Also depending on where you’re practicing, it is recommended to bring a small lock to put on your locker to protect your phone, valuables, etc. while you’re in class (you should not bring anything except the necessities into the yoga studio with you).
Yoga is almost always practiced barefoot, so no need to worry about bringing fancy shoes or socks to practice in. Wear comfortable leggings or fitted workout clothing that you are prepared to sweat in! For those of you with long hair, I recommend tying it up – preferably in a pony tail, braid, or bun, so it doesn’t fall in your face and disturb you during class.
Try to arrive at least 10 -15 minutes early for your first class to check in and get situated. Some studios will need you to create an account with them and fill out a liability waiver, so give yourself some time so you’re not rushing. This is also gives you time to purchase or rent a mat, towel, and water if you need to do so before class.
Be sure to communicate with your teacher about and injuries you might have, or if you should grab a prop for practice (these are usually borrowed during class for no additional charge). If you absolutely must leave early (although this is highly discouraged) it is common courtesy to let the teacher know that you need to leave early before class begins. Try to situate yourself close to the door and leave before final savasana (usually held during the last few minutes of class), as to not disturb other students during their quiet meditation.
Once you’ve arrived in your class, be mindful of the other students around you. Try not to talk, or at least speak quietly if you must communicate. Also, make sure to leave your phone out of the classroom. It is VERY rude to be on your phone while taking class and can be a big disruption to other students if it rings, buzzes, or lights up. Be courteous to others and leave the distractions outside!
Know That No One is “Good” at Yoga
I can’t tell you how many people have told me they want to try yoga, but don’t know if they should go because they aren’t flexible enough or aren’t “good” at it. This truly breaks my heart. No one is GOOD at yoga. That’s like saying someone is good at breathing. It doesn’t make sense. As long as you are on your mat, connecting to your breath and being present, you are doing yoga. Please don’t be afraid to come to class because you can’t do the splits or a handstand. I know there are a ton of cool pictures on IG of people doing “yoga” but that is not the only way to do it. Yoga does not judge you. EVER. And trust me, no one is looking at you. We’re all in our own worlds working on our own shit in our heads. Come as you are, and you will always be welcome!
Feel Free To Use Props During Your Practice
Props are items in the yoga studio such as a block or a strap, that are designed to help you in certain postures (even the wall counts as prop!) I used to think using props meant that I was not flexible, or “bad” at my practice, but that’s not the case at all. In fact, props can help us deepen our postures and give us better alignment. I actually wrote an entire blog post explaining how you can Use Props To Deepen Your Yoga Practice! I always recommend grabbing 2 blocks and/or a strap before class, even if your teacher does not say you need them. That way they are always accessible if you decide you need them, and they can help you get into postures that you may not be comfortable getting into just yet. Most teachers will also offer modifications for each pose during class. Do what feels best for your body!
Don’t Be Discouraged
There are most likely going to be yogis of all levels practicing in class, so if there’s a pose you don’t understand or aren’t ready to try, you are always welcome to rest or even move into child’s pose. If you are feeling overwhelmed, fatigued, or tired at any point, you can modify the pose and/or take water breaks to let your body recover. Yoga is not a competition, but rather a ‘practice’ and will get better with time and repetition. Remember that the first class is always the hardest, and you will feel more confident each time you step on your mat!
What questions do you have about taking your first class? Let me know in the comments section below! (Photos by Shanti Knight)