Though I’ve practiced yoga for at least six years now, I haven’t truly ever been to a yoga class except for once in my life, when I learned some especially important tips for surviving your first yoga class in the process. I practice at home, for around 45 minutes each day, or at a minimum of 20 minutes, to a DVD, or YouTube video. Yet, let’s be honest: a DVD is nothing like the experience of going to a yoga class, so I’ve got some tips for you if you’re new to yoga classes. Keep these tips in mind so surviving your first yoga class won’t make you regret that you went in the first place!
1 Dress Appropriately
One of the most important tips for surviving your first yoga class is to dress smart. At home, my leggings and ratty T-shirt might do just fine, but if you’re going to a hot yoga class, reconsider your attire. Or, if you’re going to a beginner class, try to be familiar with the temperatures in the classroom. The best options are usually a cotton based legging, or knee length legging, and a tight fitting tank. Be sure there’s a sports bra built into the tank, or wear one. Also, don’t wear incredibly short shorts, or you might show off something you don’t want to in your downward dog position. Be considerate of other people in the class! Don’t wear your sweats, or loose fit clothing. They can get caught in your way and might make the movements seem more difficult.
2 Fix Your Hair Correctly
While you don’t need to spend a lot of time with your hair before class, you do need to make sure it’s pinned away from your face as much as possible. Loose ponytails, or longer hair can flop in your face and get in your way, making you have to stop to pin it up again. A bun on top of your head usually works great for longer hair, while a low ponytail or headband work well for really short hair. Also, be sure to secure it with some extra bobby pins or small clips if you know you’ll be moving at a faster pace.
3 Carry Water
Do not go to yoga class without some water! You will need it, and most places don’t give it to you on the house. Sure, they might have a water fountain, but you don’t want to be running to get water in between movements. Keep a water bottle with you so you’ll be fully hydrated. Regardless that it’s relaxing, yoga is quite the workout!
4 Sleep Well the Night before
Most people underestimate how much of a workout yoga is. You can’t show up tired and expect to be able to lift yourself up and down through the movements. Your body requires rest to have enough strength to get you through your workouts. Get 8-9 hours sleep for the best energy levels.
5 Eat Right Beforehand
I’m sure most of you know that you need breakfast, but when it comes to yoga class, be careful what you eat before hand. The best options are something easily digested that won’t cause bloating, or gas, or cause your sugar to spike. You’re not going for a run here, and you don’t need a huge dose of glucose to get you through a yoga class. What you do need is something easy to digest, that has enough protein and fiber to sustain your workout. Great options include plain oats with some blueberries and a teaspoon of flax seeds or chia seeds, or a plain Greek yogurt with some berries, flax and chia. A banana with some raw almond butter ( 2 tbsp.) would also be a great grab and go option. My personal favorite is 4 ounces of kefir mixed with 2 tbsp. Sunwarrior Warrior Blend protein powder, stevia and cinnamon. The protein holds me over, the probiotics in the kefir keep my stomach from being bloated, and natural, slow digesting carbs from the kefir help to give me energy. The cinnamon helps it taste nice and sweet, and also balances my blood sugar. Eating right ensures you’ll have just enough energy, but not eat so heavy or eat the wrong foods that leave you bloated, or burden your digestion.
6 Bring a Mat
I don’t use a yoga mat at home, but I do suggest bringing one to class with you. Almost all studios have a hard, bare floor and you’ll need one for support. You can buy inexpensive mats anywhere, and you don’t need a pricey one to start with. Whatever you do, don’t use mats that the studio has. Most hold tons of bacteria from other users, which exposes you to some pretty nasty germs.
7 Carry a Post Workout Hydrator
After yoga, your body will need immediate refreshment. Whatever you do, don’t eat a heavy meal after yoga, and don’t skip your meal either. To tide you over until you get home and can eat an appropriate meal, carry a post workout hydrating drink with you such as something high in electrolytes like potassium, sodium and magnesium. Great ideas include fresh green juice, raw coconut water ( no sugar added), or water with a piece of low glycemic fruit like an orange or apple. Don’t drink Gatorade - it’s full of nasty chemicals along with electrolytes. You can get the same benefits from coconut water, and skip the dose of chemicals and food dyes.
8 Skip Your Makeup
Skip your makeup. You don’t need it, and that’s not the point of going to class. Hopefully, you’ll be sweating enough and getting a great workout so you don’t need it. If you’re going after work, feel free to leave it on, but by no means, don’t put in the extra effort if not.
9 Be Patient
During your first yoga class, you’ll most likely have a challenging time getting accustomed to a classroom setting, but they are extremely beneficial. Don’t worry if you don’t get all the moves right the first time, or keep up with other more experienced users in the class. Be patient with yourself and just enjoy the process. While you should challenge yourself, you should also be patient with yourself too!
10 Get Personal
I recommend getting as close to the front of the classroom as possible, and introducing yourself to the instructor before class. This will help personalize your experience and make your class more beneficial.
11 Show up on Time
You definitely don’t want to be late for your first class! You might miss important instructions, and miss getting a good spot. Show up early, at least by 15 minutes if you can.
Going to yoga class is a great experience, no matter what type of class you’re attending. If you’re ever been to yoga class, what tip would you tell a first timer?
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