Yoga classes are suitable as well as beneficial for all individuals—despite of age or fitness level—but it is also necessary to adjust your yoga practice to fit your body and specific requirements.
If you have decided to start doing yoga, you probably want to know what to expect in your first yoga class. Do not be intimidated! Here, I have jotted down some tips you need to know before taking a yoga class:
Be familiar with some basics: If you know the basics of yoga and have gone over a few at home, you may feel more motivated and inspired in class. For this, a little work is required on your part. There are hundreds of yoga poses and your body may be upset if you select one that does not suit your personality. Take a few minutes to read one of the many texts available on yoga postures. That will provide you a few basics that you can practice at home. You can also take help of any beginners’ video to learn a few intro moves.
Pick a yoga studio convenient to your home: just for the sake of convenience, so getting to class will be easy. You can check out online resources to find a yoga class in your neighborhood. Various local health magazines or local substitute newspapers may also provide list of yoga studios of the area. You can also check out local gyms as many gyms also offer yoga classes.
Get there at least 15 minutes early: It’s very important to be on time for class. This will allow you enough time to fill out any necessary paperwork (probably just the first time), get your belongings into a locker if available and begin to de-stress before class. Moreover, this will help you to set your yoga mat in a comfortable place in the room without disrupting everyone else. Also, you won’t miss the specific instructions that teachers give at the beginning of the class for first timers. If for some reason you are late, be respectful of your fellow classmates and place your mat down gently so you don’t disturb the class.
Light or low-acid food to eat before yoga class: Keep the day of your first yoga class light and simple by having healthy food at least two and half hours prior to class. Do not eat saucy, fried, fatty, spicy, and high-acid food as they take longer to digest. It’s also not a good idea to do practice with empty stomach because at the end of the day, you may start feeling lightheaded as the body needs for fuel that is not there. If you want to eat a quick snack before the class, you can grab yogurt, fruit or vegetables. A lightly filled stomach will provide you a better edge to get into some poses.
Drink plenty of water before and after the class: It is very necessary to stay hydrated during class. This is because in a typical yoga class, you will lose water weight. Better if you start drinking water at least two hours before your class since your body needs time to absorb the water properly for hydration. Especially if you’re doing a hatha yoga class, make sure that you’re fully hydrated before you start. Over time, you’ll learn how much water your body needs before and after the class.
Wear comfortable clothes that don’t restrict your movement: You don’t need to wear long pants or spandex, just wear something you feel relaxed and confident in. Ladies can wear quick-dry Capri and tight tops whereas gents may put on shorts and baggy t-shirts. Also try to avoid wearing clothes that are too loose in which your private areas are unnecessarily exposed—you may spend more time adjusting your dress instead of concentrating on your positions. Remember that unlike running or other gym exercises, you will be bending and stretching a lot, so loose clothes tend to fall in your face during downward poses and it will become difficult for the teacher to check your alignment.
Take your shoes off: Yoga is practiced barefoot; shoes and socks are generally not permitted. Not wearing shoes in the yoga room is not only hygienic but it is also a sign of giving respect to a holy place. Being barefoot allows more grip on the mat in various poses. If you have any problem being barefoot, ask your instructor if you can keep your socks on—or invest in a pair of yoga socks.
Have a brief conversation with the teacher before the class starts: Many people are shy or uncomfortable talking to the teacher, but you should understand that they want to help you. Yoga teachers are very helpful and encouraging—they want new students to have the best experience possible during their first class. And believe me, these teachers will provide adjustments and more detailed instructions if you tell them you’re new. Make sure to let your teacher know of any limitations and medical conditions you have that might affect your practice. Your teacher will offer modifications where appropriate—most yoga poses can be adjusted to your needs.
Keep your phone off and be mindful of yoga class etiquette: Maintaining silence in the room is difficult when someone’s cell is ringing—plus it’s distracting for your fellow yogis. Be mindful of the other students sharing their love and energy with you.
Don’t let your ego guide you: That is what I always say to my students. There is no place for comparative thinking in yoga studio. If you are practicing in a place that makes you feel judged then this is not the right place for you to be. No one is going to judge you and there is no gold medal for “Best Pose.” It doesn’t matter if you can’t yet do the specific pose or your body is not super flexible. Always listen to your body—don’t push or overextend your threshold just to keep up with the rest of the class. If it gets to be too much, spend time in childs pose until you are ready to jump back in.