The MAD Lifestyle

Turning up to your first yoga class

By Katie Cornish, 200hr Yoga Alliance Professionals UK qualified yoga teacher

Turning up to your first yoga class

Going to your first yoga class needn’t be daunting, we’ve got some tips to help guide you through what to expect!

Research

Not all Yoga styles are the same, yoga takes on many different forms, styles and aspects! Research what type of yoga you’d like to try; vinyasa and ashtanga are very flowing styles of yoga, then there are the slower styles such as Iyengar which is quite static, if you’re into chanting then Kundalini may be for you and if you’re looking to really relax then Yin or Restorative might be the way to go. There are hundreds of classes, styles and teachers to choose from and no class is the same! If you’re not quite sure what the main styles of yoga are, check out our handy guide here

Once you’ve selected the style you’re interested in as well as the class you’re going to take, we’d recommend looking into the teacher and studio’s backgrounds; what are their qualifications, how long they’ve been teaching/established etc.

 

Get There Early

You’ll want to get to your class early, about 10-15 minutes or so. Most studios and teachers require you to complete a registration form and the yoga teacher might wish to meet you to discuss your current health and physical abilities as well as what you are planning to get out of yoga, e.g. do you want to become more flexible, you’d like to try it for the meditation/mindfulness side of things or you’d like to compliment your weight training or a sport you enjoy?

Plus, if you get there early it means you can choose a space to put your mat down.

Don’t be concerned about feeling as if everyone is looking at you, they won’t be as yoga is very much an internal practice so once you get going it is highly like nobody will be thinking about anything but the pose they are in!


 

Wear Something Comfy

Wearing something comfortable is a must, you can wear loose fitting or tight fitting activewear – whatever you find you’re free to move in is perfect but careful not to wear something too baggy as the teacher will need to see your form.

Depending on the type of yoga you’re trying, you might work up a sweat, for example vinyasa/ashtanga styles, hence fitness specific clothing is a great choice as it’ll help to wick away sweat to keep you cool. And, don’t forget to wear season specific choices too, as for the relaxation part of the class you may find you’ll get chilly, so a pair of socks and jumper are ideal to pack into your gym bag for colder days.

 

Let the Teacher Know If

You don’t like to be touched, or if you have a specific health concern which means you shouldn’t be physically adjusted. In most yoga classes it is quite common for the teacher to come round and assist. However, if this is outside of your comfort zone, then feel free to inform the teacher that it’s something you’re not comfortable with. You shouldn’t need to explain your reasoning and your wishes should be listened to.

Plus, if you are happy with adjustments but the adjustment feels too strong then let the teacher know – you don’t want to get injured by being overstretched!

Another important thing to note is adjustments do not mean you are doing something “wrong”, the teacher is simply trying to ensure you don’t injure yourself and help aid correct alignment.

 

Purchase a Yoga Mat

It may not be something you want to invest in straight away, but it’s recommended! A mat will be in touch with your whole body including your hands, face & feet and if you don’t like the idea of borrowing a mat then think about buying your own. A cheaper mat can help get you started on your yoga journey.

Yoga-Mad Warrior Yoga Mat II 4mm with bricks being used by models

 

Things to Expect during Class

Depending on the style of yoga you’ve chosen, a yoga class format is generally – warm-up, physical practice (aka poses) and relaxation also known as ‘Shivasana’ (pronounced she-vas-a-na). Of course, this will vary from class to class and some classes may involve chanting at the beginning or end, as well as the traditional closing of the class with ‘Namaste’ which has many different meanings but can be interpreted as the acknowledgement of the soul or ‘Divine spark’ if each other.

You may also come across the use of props - this is more popular in the slow styles of yoga such as Yin, Restorative or Iyengar. Props are tools to help you get into good alignment for the pose and reap the benefits, without overstretching. Don't be afraid of them, they are really great to work with and can help you progress your practice safely.

 

No Socks

Unless they are special grip socks such as ToeSox or Tavi Noir, then it’s best to go barefoot. In normal socks you will tend to slip more and make it harder to grip. If you aren’t a fan of going barefoot then grip socks are a great alternative.

Note:where you can it’s also a good idea not to step onto anyone else’s yoga mat. For some it’s a hygiene reason and for others they see the mat as an extension of their practice and experience so can be seen as an invasion of personal space.

Stick to It

If you enjoy your first class that’s great! Try and stick to it and get into a routine. Obviously, work, life and other commitments will get in the way at some point, but if you want to practice at least once a week and you cannot make your favourite class, YouTube or a Yoga app can help you practice at home so you don’t loose out on the benefits!

If you didn’t quite ‘vibe’ with the class then we encourage you to try lots and lots of different classes and styles of yoga, you might prefer one to another and as they are all so different you’ll definitely find something for you out there.

 

This post is tagged with yoga, yoga mat, yoga class

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