Lara Van Oerle

Lara Van Oerle

Journey To Zen

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5 tips for your first yoga class

Going to a place you’ve never been before, or trying something for the 1st time is always a little bit scary. You don’t know what to expect and definitely don’t want to do something wrong, or come across as the ‘weird one’. These fears or worries can create some unnecessary stress. And the last thing you want to be during a yoga class is stressed! Because otherwise what’s the point, right?

That’s why I’ve listed 5 things you should know before you go to your first yoga class. I’m just giving you some tips and tricks so you’ll arrive feeling totally confident and ready for your new experience.

 

Information, information, information

Thank god it’s the 21st century and we have the World Wide Web, right at our fingertips. So let’s make use of that big pool of information that’s out there!

Most yoga studio’s will have a website or a Facebook page on which you can find lots of information about their opening hours, prices, what to bring, timetables, photos, … So first of all take a good look there.

Do you like what you see? Do you like the vibe? Do you see yourself practicing there?

‘If you are choosing a yoga studio or a yoga class it’s important that you feel a connection with the values and the vibe of the studio.’

What’s equally (or even more) important is that it is achievable for you to practice there on a regular basis. A studio, on the other side of town, commuting for 40 minutes, … Chances you’ll stay there, not so high. $50 dollars for a class, no thanks! So take a look at your schedule and bank account and pick a studio that matches your lifestyle. This will make it so much easier for you to integrate yoga in your day-to-day life.

Another very important aspect to consider is the type of yoga you are going to practice. If you don’t know what yoga style would suit you best, don’t worry, click here and find out! So once you’ve found out what type of yoga meets your needs, make sure the studio you want to go to offers that yoga style on a regular basis! Another great tip is to find a yoga studio that offers different styles of yoga, so once you feel more comfortable, you can start exploring what each different yoga style has to offer.

If you still have specific questions you can always call or email the yoga studio you want to go to. Normally you can find the contact details under the ‘contact’ area on their website. They will be happy to answer your questions and give recommendations for beginners.

 

What do I have to wear? 

Now you know where and what yoga class you want to do, you can prepare yourself for your first class. So, what do you have to wear? This is usually one of the first questions that come to mind, when going to an unfamiliar place.

There are a few tips I can give you when it comes to a yoga outfit.

First of all, and most important is that you feel comfortable in the clothes you are wearing. There is nothing worse than feeling stuck and self-conscious in your clothes.

The second tip is to wear clothes that allow you to move freely. Imagine going upside down, doing all kinds of poses that involve stretching, etc. Skinny jeans are definitely not the best option, if you know what I mean (Unless you want to go for the ripped jeans look, of course ;-)). Best is to choose for stretchy shorts or leggings and a tight top. If you wear loose and baggy clothes, they will slide off when you are showing of your best downward facing dog.

And if it’s not for your own comfort, fitted clothes are also helpful for the yoga teacher. That way she can see your form and whether or not you need some adjustments.

The third and last thing to know is that you don’t wear shoes while doing yoga. Usually shoes are not even allowed in the studio. Some studios will ask you to put your shoes on a shoe rack outside of the yoga room. No need to arrive in fancy sneakers. Barefoot is what it is all about when it comes to yoga.

If you keep these tips in mind, you’ll easily blend in with the other yogi’s and feel your best while doing those new poses.

 

What to bring?

Most studios will have all the props you need like a yoga mat, blocks, straps, and blankets. Usually they are free of charge, but in some studio’s you pay $1 to lend a yoga mat. So make sure to check this in advance on their website.

If you already have a mat feel free to bring your own! Lots of yoga practitioners have their own mat and bring it with them to the studio. I always bring my own mat, since a lot of yoga mats from the studio are not the best quality and slippery when wet (this will happen if you sweat!!).

So now we are talking about sweat, it’s a good idea to bring a towel with you. You won’t always need it, because it depends on how intense the yoga class will be, but if you do, you’ll be happy you brought one!

Something that I will never forget to bring is a bottle of water. Hydration is so important and if you have a bottle right next to you, you’ll be able to sip during class and rehydrate your body. Side note: use a reusable stainless steel bottle instead of a plastic one, and you’ll help save the planet while doing yoga! (Oww yeah, earning some good karma points!).

And then there is one more thing; but I should call it; what not to bring? And that’s your telephone. Nothing more disturbing than lying all relaxed in savasana when suddenly someone’s ringtone scares the hell out of you (make sure your are not that person!!). So there are two things you can do: 1. Leave your phone at home, or 2. Put your phone in silent mode. Everyone will thank you for it.

 

To eat or not to eat?

It is recommended not to eat 2-3hours before you do a yoga class. Practicing any sports with a full stomach is usually uncomfortable. In yoga there are a lot of poses that include twists and inversions that will put pressure on your stomach. The last thing you want is to see your dinner again, on your mat.

But that being said, it’s not always possible not to eat such a long time before yoga. In that case I would recommend only eating a snack or a small portion of your dinner, and leaving the rest for after your class.

This way you will feel most comfortable and get the most out of your yoga practice.

 

Be on time!

When you go to a new space for the first time it’s always recommended to come a little bit earlier. You have never done the commute to the studio before so you don’t really know if there is going to be a lot of traffic, 10 red lights, no available parking spots, and so on.

The last thing you want is to get stressed because you don’t know if you will be on time. The goal of yoga is to de-stress! So make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to the studio. I would recommend to be there at least 15minutes before the class starts.

Usually you will have to fill in some paperwork, create a membership or pay for the class, which takes some additional time.

When you arrive early the teacher will have time to have a chat with you and show you around the studio. This is also a great moment for you to ask any questions or let the teacher know if you have any injuries.

The last reason to be on time is to make sure you can get a spot in the middle of the room. This way you will be able to look at fellow yogis when the teacher is not demonstrating any of the poses. If you are in the front, this won’t be so easy!

 

Ready for your first class

Now you know these 5 tips, you will be able to come fully prepared to your first yoga class!

As a final tip I want to encourage you to fully enjoy all the benefits yoga has to offer.

Let go of self-judgement & comparison. Try to come in with a beginners mind and leave your expectations at the door. In a yoga class you don’t have to do anything. The teacher will be giving modifications; so don’t be afraid to take them!

Yoga is not about who has the best downward facing dog, or tree pose. If at any point during the class you need a break, feel free to take childspose for as long as you want. This is your practice and no one will judge you for taking a break! So listen to your body, and have fun!

 

Do you remember your first yoga class? How was it? Let me know in the comments below! And if you have some additional tips, feel free to share them!

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