Figuring out where to begin when getting started with yoga can be overwhelming, but here we decided to break down what to expect and how to choose the right class for you.
Pick A Type Of Yoga Class
There are several styles of yoga out there, but if you are just getting started with yoga it is recommended taking a Yoga Basics class first to get familiar with the yoga poses including their names and alignment. Then you can explore other styles such as Hatha Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Wellness Yoga, or a Slow Vinyasa Yoga after feeling more confident with your practice. That being said, you want to find a class that really works well for you, so it is great to begin to explore the many different styles of yoga because you may be intrigued by several styles, or you may just prefer one.
There is a wide range of yoga classes, and one day you may want to take a meditative or relaxing class but another day you may need something more energizing and strengthening. Either way, choose a style that appeals to your personality or state of physical fitness. Visit our Movement Page to read about the different styles of yoga to help you choose.
What To Bring
Yourself! As well as a yoga mat and any props such as a block or a strap, however most studios provide these already. When taking a yoga class, it's important to wear comfortable clothing such as exercise pants or shorts and a form fitting shirt since there are several yoga poses where the head comes below the hips and your shirt could slide down. Since wearing socks could make you slide on your mat during certain yoga postures, we usually practice barefoot. Most studios already have yoga mats you can use, otherwise you can bring your own.
What To Expect
In a typical yoga class, students place their mats facing the front of the room (often identifiable by a small altar or teacher's mat) in a loose grid. You will need some space in certain poses so it's best if you place your mat a few inches away from your neighbor. Students often perform gentle stretching or sit in meditation while waiting to begin. Depending on the teacher and class you are taking, there may be breathing exercises or a short meditation at the start of class. In a typical yoga class, this will then be followed by warm-up poses, more vigorous poses, then stretches and final relaxation called Savasana.
* At any time during a class you may take a Child's Pose if you need to rest!
Note: You may be a little sore the day after your first class.
Savasana is a time at the end of every yoga class for the body to fully assimilate and integrate the benefits of the yoga poses that you practiced in class. During Savasana, one will lay on the mat for 5-10 minutes in a comfortable position and will be guided to relaxation by the instructor. Sometimes the teacher will go around to each student and give them a little massage on their neck or shoulders.
Online Yoga or Beginner DVDs
If you are unable to attend a yoga studio, there are other options out there. Online yoga classes are an inexpensive way to practice on your own time with a smart phone, iPad, or computer. Both the online classes and beginner DVDs are great with fitting a yoga practice into your schedule and they can be practiced in the comfort of your own home. Gates To Yoga offers online yoga through memberships that you can find here - Gates To Yoga Studio Memberships
* Tell the teacher it's your first class (you most likely won't be the only one)
* Ask the teacher for help if you need it!
* Familiarize yourself with some beginner's yoga poses before you take your first class
* Drink water before and after
* Pay attention to when the teacher says "breathe", sometimes you may be holding your breath and do not even know it!
* Have a big meal right before class, try to eat lightly a few hours before class
* Wear shoes or socks during class
* Discourage or criticize yourself if having difficulties, remember, we all start somewhere!