Your first yoga class can feel like quite a scary experience, I know I was really scared. My main worry was that I am not going to be able to it and I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the rest of the class.
Well I couldn’t have been more wrong, Yoga is a warm and friendly place where everyone is welcoming. Those of us who can’t bend or touch our toes or stand on one leg are the ones who need Yoga more than anyone and are welcomed along with open arms. It really is a safe and warm space. We start where we are in yoga and everyone is on their own path.
Here are some tips that I have picked up along the way to make you feel more confident going in to your first class.
Firstly, it is a good idea to speak to the Yoga school or teacher before your first class and find out what classes they have on offer and what will suit you and your needs best. Everyone who starts Yoga, has their own reason and it is really personal to them. So be honest with how you feel, speak to your teacher and get started. Most teachers and schools have a beginners class, so you will be in good company.
Arrive around 10-15 minutes earlier. There are usually forms to complete and it is also a great time to chat to your teacher, class assistants and other new students too. It can be quite settling to know others are in the same position as you.
Wear something loose and comfortable and layers are always a great idea. A good start would be leggings or light jogging bottoms, a vest or t-shirt and maybe a hoodie. Bring thick socks too. Most yoga starts with relaxation, so its nice to have your layers, so you can take them off once you begin to move and again pop them back on at the end of class for the closing relaxation (savasana) For women, it is a great idea to wear a good supportive bra. I always wear a sports bra, it helps keep everything in the right place as I move around.
Shoes are taken off before you enter the studio (or hall / gym / room) this is where the thick socks come in handy, so you don’t have to walk around bare foot when you first arrive in your yoga space. Us Yogis like to the leave the world at the door and the shoes being outside the practice space are a nice way to represent this.
Mats are usually provided for beginners, but it is really nice to get your own. Maybe see how you feel after your first class. If it’s something you want to continue with, get yourself a basic first mat, there are so many yoga mats on the market these days. I will be doing a review video about the different mats and share my favourites with you very soon. But to get you started, speak to your teacher and spend around £8-10 on your first mat, just to make sure Yoga is for you before investing financially a little later down the line.
Your teacher will let you know about any other props you may need and these are more than likely available to you at the front of the class. The beginners props may include, blankets, bolsters (big cushions you use to sit on or rest your legs when lying down) and eye pillows, to be placed over the eyes in relaxation. There may also be blocks, bricks and straps, all of which can aid your practice. But don’t worry you will be shown how to use them, if needed.
Mats are usually laid in rows, facing the front, where the teachers mat will be. In yoga we often stand at the front of our mats before our sun salutations, so make sure you have plenty of room. Leave your belongings with your shoes or place at the side of the room away from your mat.
Make sure you have phones switched off or even better locked away somewhere, the less distractions the better.
Have an open mind. Yoga is often said it is about the discovery of yourself. There are no expectations and comparisons. Come as you are and be prepared to challenge your thoughts and move your body in a way that is right for you.
Most importantly, breathe….
When the class has finished make sure you speak to your teacher, tell them how you felt about the class and ask any questions you need to.
For many people your first class will be the start of something wonderful and a turning point in life. If you haven’t had a good experience, then maybe consider trying a different class, yoga teacher or school. It might be a case of finding a teacher that you click with. Take a look at our directory here and browse all the lovely teachers here in York.
Please feel free to get in touch with me here if you have any other questions I haven’t answered about your first class.
Go on, book that first today!