8 Things to Expect at Your First Yoga Class
Walking into a yoga class for the first time (even when you're an experienced practitioner) can be super intimidating. Many questions come to mind: What if there's a certain procedure to follow? What if I'm supposed to bring my own mat? Am I wearing the right clothing? I don't know what I'm doing, will I stand out? Everyone has these thoughts when trying something new or going to a new studio/gym. When it comes to yoga, it doesn't matter how you look. Usually there are many people who will help if you have a question. Don't let these little things keep you from trying something new.
While every studio/gym is run a little differently there are some common characteristics. The following tips will help when walking into your first yoga class or new studio.
Things to Expect at Your First Yoga Class
Types of Yoga: There are many types of yoga classes (ashtanga, haha, kundalini, vinyasa, yin, etc.) and levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced). If you are not sure what type of yoga class would be best, it would be a good idea to try a haha or yin class. These tend to be a little less intense. However be sure to read the description of the class and take note of the level. Some classes may not say a specific level but will include modifications throughout the class. This usually indicates an all levels class which is prefect for any yogi. If there is no description, call the studio/gym and ask for more information.
Arrival: Arriving 5-10 minutes before the class starts is a great idea. This is coming from an habitually late or right on time person. haha However, when you're new to a gym, studio or yoga event, you want to make sure you get a prime spot so you feel comfortable about where your mat is located. Some people like to be at the back or middle of the class (place your mat wherever you like, nothing to be shy about!). An earlier arrival time also allows you to speak with the instructor if you like, letting her/him know that you are new. Plus you can grab any props needed (block, strap, blanket or bolster) and get comfortable on your mat.
Yoga Class Etiquette: Arriving on time is best, however many studios/gyms want you to show up, even if you're a few minutes late, rather than not at all. So if you do arrive a little late, enter the room quietly. If centering or beginning meditation has started, wait until there is some movement in the room. Once class has started, it's customary to stay quiet in order to keep concentration and not to disturb others. If you have a question, try to wait until the instructor is near and keep your voice low.
Clothing: Wear something comfortable you can move in. It doesn't matter if you have old gym clothes or the latest fitness fashion finds. It's all about feeling cozy and free (so you are able to move around without distraction) in your clothes.
Yoga Mat: Bring your own mat especially if you have a favorite kind. But if you don't have a mat, there should be one you can barrow from the studio or gym.
Hydration: It's a good idea to bring a water bottle or hydrate throughout the day before you go to class. Some classes will make you sweat, so it's not a great idea to be dehydrated before you even walk into the class.
New Words: Most yoga teachers will use sanskrit words to name the poses. Don't worry though if you're not familiar with any "yoga" words. The english word should accompany each pose and if not, you can always look around to see what other people are doing.
Ego: This one is huge. As with any type of class or athletic situation, ego or competition can creep in. Yoga postures have a lot going on, even in more passive classes like restorative and yin yoga, so there is a higher chance of injury. When comparing yourself to others a pose can be taken too far for your body. Try to check your ego at the door!
Another great way to prepare is by looking at the studio or gyms website. There will likely be some FAQ's or tips on what to bring with you. Calling and asking all the questions will also help you to prepare.
The unknown may seem hard or frightening but never fear! Yoga teachers or other students can be a great help. If you need other support, you can always message me, and I will do my best to answer your questions.
Disclaimer: The information on this website (Alt Yoga Vibe) is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for medical treatment or hands on instruction. If you are experiencing any severe pain or symptoms, please consult a healthcare practitioner.