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 out there, but if you are just getting started you may want to look into Yoga Basics first to get familiar with the yoga poses and their names or alignment. Then you could work up to 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. Either way, choose a style that appeals to your personality or state of physical fitness.
What To Bring
Wear comfortable clothing such as exercise pants or shorts. You may want to wear a form fitting shirt since there are many 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, there may be breathing exercises or a short meditation at the start of class. This will 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 Child’s Pose if you need to rest.
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.
Note: You may be a little sore the day after your first class.
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 practiced in the comfort of your own home.
Do’s and Don’ts
– 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
– 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!