Thousands of people try yoga for the first time each year and at a loss for how to prepare for their first yoga class. Often times new students experience frustrations, which can be avoided if they have the proper tools and knowledge to prepare themselves for a class before they walk into a studio or gym to try yoga for the first time. Here are some tips for preparing for your first yoga class.
- Prepare your body: This is a good rule of thumb to follow every time you practice. Do not eat 1-3 hours before practicing. Drink water throughout the day so the body is well hydrated and prepared for movement and stretching.
- Materials: Before your first yoga class you will want to purchase or borrow a non-slip yoga mat. You can get recommendations from other students, instructors and knowledgeable sales staff. Wear appropriate clothes that are easy to move around in, stretchy and comfortable. Considering bringing a closed water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the class. Finally. Bring a rag or sweat towel if needed.
- Set yourself up for success: One of the best methods to prepare for your first yoga class is to choose the correct class for your level. Speak with a studio or gym about different teachers and classes that are offered to find what class would be suitable for a beginner taking their first yoga class.
- Embrace beginner mindset: Many times in our lives we will be doing something for the first time, which can be a huge challenge both mentally and physically. Approach your first yoga class knowing this is a new realm of study and you will probably make mistakes. Try to embrace the use of props and suggestions from your instructor to enhance your first yoga experience on the mat.
- Practice with an open mind: Pranayama, meditation, philosophy, sanskrit and a variety of other modalities, styles and tools involved in teaching and learning about yoga. Keep an open mind for what your instructor is offering and realize it may be radically different from anything you have ever tried before. That’s ok! You may find there a new things you like and help your body and mind and sometimes you may feel strange or awkward. It’s your first yoga class so embrace the opportunity to try new things and you may realize you end up loving it!
- Trust your teacher: Listen carefully to your instructor and try to follow along with the sequence to the best of your ability. Many teachers have hundreds of hours practicing, training and also teaching yoga. Trust that they will take care of you even when it’s your first yoga class. Especially if you inform a teacher this is your first class they will make sure to pay extra attention to your form and offer assistance or corrections as needed.
- Follow proper yoga etiquette: Particularly for your first yoga class make sure to arrive early and let the instructor know you are brand new to yoga. If you are late only enter the room after opening meditation. Follow along with the sequence resting when needed. Child’s pose is always a great option if you need to take a break.
- Breath! Focusing on your breath and linking breath with movement for the entire sequence is important in every yoga practice, but particularly your first class. Proper pranayama or breathwork will create a sense of calm and practice the mindfulness and connection aspect of yoga, which will help you see why everyone comes back to yoga after their first class. Since this is your first yoga class this may seem like a challenge at first, but continue practicing on and off your mat and you will reap the benefits
- Post-practice routine: Clean your mat and put away your own props in the appropriate receptacles. This will create a routine starting with your first yoga class and will continue in every yoga class to leave the space as you found it if not in a better condition. Ask the teacher any questions that may have come up during the class as you will probably have questions since it was a new experience. Change your clothes and shower if needed to cleanse yourself of the energy and space from the practice.
- Take your yoga off the mat: Reflect on the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of the class. It may take a few classes to understand how the practice affects you since after your first yoga class you may feel overwhelmed with new information and sensations. Take your lessons with you and figure out ways to implement them into your everyday life. True transformation and growth with any new practice or regimen comes with daily devotion and attention to the small steps along the way.
No matter what after your first yoga class try another one! Strive for consistency and celebrate the small victories along the way. Yoga is a life practice and has so much to offer if only you try.