7 Tips to Remember when Joining Your First Yoga Class ...

Joining your first yoga class is always exciting and nerve-wrecking. You may have an idea about what will happen but you never really know. Trying something new is definitely exhilarating, especially when it’s good for your health, so fear not! Here are some helpful tips to remember when joining you first yoga class.

1. Do a Dry Run at Home

Before attending you first yoga class, practicing the basis poses at home would be really helpful. You may choose to read about the different basic poses, or you can opt to go online and watch basic yoga videos. Not only did this tip help me feel more confident and motivated, it also prepared my body for the real yoga class. Doing a dry run at home helps you set realistic expectations and understand the flow of a yoga class. Don’t stress, a 10 minute run through will do.

2. Don’t Have a Heavy Meal at Least 3 Hours before Yoga

Performing yoga on a full stomach may make you feel uncomfortable. If you prefer to eat a main meal, eat it at about three hours before a yoga class. A light snack may be preferable to keep your blood sugar at a good level and to keep your energy levels up. You can do this at least an hour before your yoga session. Here are some good snack ideas: a bowl of cereal or soup, a boiled egg, fruit salad, or yogurt.

3. Pick the Right Clothes

I believe that knowing what to wear for a yoga session is crucial for first timers. Don’t worry, I also had this problem when I was about to join my first yoga class. Recommended basic yoga clothes are form-fitting shirts or tank tops that do not expose more body parts that you are comfortable with when doing a particular pose. You may wear full length yoga pants for the less active sessions. I prefer the active-dry capri pants or full length leggings especially with when attending more active classes; this will help you and your instructor check your alignment and it does not get in the way at all. Whatever you choose, make sure you are able to move freely and do poses with ease.

4. Yoga is Good for You

Trust me when I say that there are a lot of health benefits of yoga. Yoga enables you to have better health, allows you to focus on yourself, and just be with yourself. To name a few: yoga increases muscle strength and tone, helps boost your immune system and improves your quality of sleep. It improves posture, balance and flexibility. Yoga improves your skin quality, and, it slows down aging process. And for my top five favourite health benefits of yoga: it allows better mental clarity, decreases chances of depression, anxiety and stress, and it improves your overall quality of life.

5. Catch Your Breath!

Since it’s your first yoga class, you can’t expect your body to be able to handle all the lifting, stretching, and bending. If you’re tired, pause for a few seconds, take a break and rehydrate! I suggest you perform the Child’s Pose when you’re tired and out of breath. How to do it? Kneel and spread your knees as wide as the mat but make sure your toes are touching. Then drop your buttocks to your heel and rest your belly between your thighs and rest your forehead on the mat. You can then either stretch your arms in front of you, palms facing the floor, or you can bring your arms to the side of your thighs, palms facing up.

6. It’s Not a Competition

Before the session starts, better talk to your instructor first. Inform him or her about your medical condition and injuries so that he or she can give you modified poses. Don’t worry about what others are doing. Others may be more flexible than you, or have better balance, but remember, you don’t have to be able to do all poses on your first try. It’s your first class! Don’t push yourself too much just to be at par with the more experienced yogis. You may feel insecure; I did. But trust me, it’s better to let go of your competitive drive and understand that you may not be able to do it now, but with practice and patience, you can!

7. Enjoy

Despite all the sweat, the challenging poses, and the recurring thoughts of self-doubt, learn to enjoy your session. A yoga session may be serene or intense but either way, have fun with it. Keep it light-hearted! Just as long as you listen to your body and remember that there’s no winning in yoga, enjoyment is within reach.

Practicing yoga is a lot of hard work. But keep a positive outlook, and keep on practicing. Soon, you’ll be doing a headstand and a split at the same time. Namaste!