Never taken a yoga class before? Nervous for your first time?
Don’t panic! Every single person in class has had to take their first yoga class. I remember my very first class. I get to the studio before my friend and felt very claustrophobic by the small check in space and huge group of “all-natural” looking folks.
I rented a mat and was told to place it within the tape lines. I was so confused, and of course, when I got into the actual room I was overwhelmed by the heat and humidity. As class went on I smelled a few funky smells, I got dripped on by another man’s sweat, I thought I was going to faint once when I stood up too quickly and I nearly had a panic attack because the humidity and closeness to the people next to me was just too much.
A lot has changed since then. I was aware of all the benefits and was determined to do it. Now I can master intermediate level poses. I always place my mat at the front of the room and embrace the humidity and even a little bit of neighbor’s sweat!
Just show up and guaranteed, you will feel calm within minutes.
Just to preface this blog, I am referring to a heated vinyasa practice, though these rules can be applied to any class.
Here are the helpful hints to your first time doing yoga:
What To Wear: Well, it seems like a given, but you definitely want to wear pants perhaps like these! Shorts may show a little too much off to your fellow yogis but if you really want to show off your asana, then stick to tight shorts. Crops are also a good choice – they will keep you from sliding off your mat or out of your arm balance.
A tank is also a good call since a t-shirt may feel a little too restrictive and hot. I love my Lulu Lemon Tanks but trust me – you don’t have to wear Lulu to fit in!
Clean feet are also a good idea since you’ll be barefoot, and of course, bring a hair tie!
What To Bring: A mat or money to rent a mat. Generally all studios have mats to rent for a minimal fee. A mat towel is another good idea, but if you have no idea what a “mat towel” is, then you most likely don’t own one and you can just bring a big beach towel. A face towel would be a good call too – I would die without mine. The feeling of sweat trickling down my cheeks or shoulders is just too much for me to stand!
Water. Trust me. You won’t guzzle it, but you will need it.
An open mind. You may find yourself twisted like a pretzel or doing weird breathing techniques, but just roll with it.
What To Eat: Don’t make any changes to your normal eating habits. The only rule of thumb here is to not eating 1 – hours before class. Sorry if this is TMI, but as you digest your food your stomach might not feel comfortable in some of the poses. Many vinyasa classes include a lot of twists which stimulate the digestive system as it is, so having an empty or empty-ish stomach will help prevent this awkward feeling!
Oh, and btw, people don’t really “let ‘em rip” in class!
Be prepared though – after class you will definitely be hungry so bring a snack like this:
What To Expect: Expect heat and humidity. My studio is heated to 95 degrees before class, which means it gets hotter as we practice. I go to other studios that are heated to about 80 degrees which is not as stifling. Many studios also have humidifiers so it will feel like a sauna but this aids in helping your body open up quickly.
Expect happiness. Yoga teachers are seriously the happiest people on earth. They welcome their students with smiles, cheers and big hugs. Everyone in class feeds off of this energy and it’s almost odd how much each class is like a celebration.
Expect to work hard. Yoga isn’t just stretching. We strengthen. We balance. We twist. We stabilize. We stand on our heads. We jump upside down. Sure, some classes are slower paced than others, but most of the classes I attend I walk out feeling like I had my butt kicked a little, but like Santa just brought me new, much more open hamstrings!
Expect to breathe. Yoga is all about the breath. With every movement you breathe in and you breathe out. Sometimes you may get into a pose that makes you feel really unbalanced or even anxious, but you just breathe and you will get through it! Yoga teaches amazing deep breathing techniques that can help lower your heart rate in any situation.
Expect to relax. In a Vinyasa style class we work hard to strengthen our muscles and warm our bodies up so we can open them with floor work. That’s where the magic happens! When you stop holding tension in your shoulders and your hips, you can finally know what it is to relax.
Check out this video I shot in a few of my classes:
Do you have any tips you’d like to add to this list?
If you have any questions about yoga, ask away! I highly encourage a regular yoga practice so I’ll be happy to answer and tell you anything you’d like to know!