How to Survive Your First Yoga Class

Article posted in: Fitness

By now, we have all heard just how much yoga can do for our health. With a focus on calm, deep breathing, yoga increases flexibility and muscle strength, steadies the mind, relaxes the body, supports the nervous system, deepens sleep, improves balance, increases energy and improves respiration and heart health… just for starters. Yoga can also increase immunity, which is especially important this time of year.

According to the American Osteopathic Association, yoga can even help diminish chronic pain, including lower back ailments, arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome, and can lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia. Yoga International says, “Relaxation specifically has been shown to be healing for chronic pain. It turns off the stress response and directs the body’s energy to growth, repair, immune function, digestion and other self-nurturing processes.”

So you know you should do yoga, and you’re ready to embark on your first yoga class. But how do you prep for your very first one? Here’s how:

Come Prepared
Loose fitting tops and pants can shift and drape around you during poses, leaving you a little more exposed than you might like and adding an unnecessary disturbance to your routine. For a confident and comfortable practice, ladies should wear a fitted tee or tank top and fitted yoga pants or leggings, and guys should wear a slim-fitted top and athletic fitting shorts or yoga pants. Be sure to bring a yoga mat with you as well. Some studios do provide them, but often at an additional charge. Also, be sure to bring a bottle of water to stay hydrated in between poses or sequences.

Be Polite
Arrive about 30 minutes early to check in, fill out any necessary paperwork for your first class and to situate your yoga mat and belongings. Maintain a low voice or practice silence within the studio itself, which is considered a sacred space for yogis.

Practice at Home
Use a yoga DVD or do a YouTube search for how-to videos to get acclimated with various common poses, so you feel more comfortable in class. Try these standard postures that you will most likely do in your yoga class: downward facing dog, upward facing dog, child’s pose, warrior 1 and warrior 2.

Keep an Open Mind
This is your first yoga class. Anyone who takes a class has been on your proverbial yoga mat before. Do not expect to walk out after your first call a yogi master. You may stumble and you may struggle to keep a balancing pose. However you feel in the poses, go with it. Embrace your journey, let go and don’t forget to breathe.