What to Expect at Your First Yoga Class
You're ready; you have your sticky mat, and a local yoga studio in mind... But, you still have SOOO many questions! As you prepare to leave the house all these run through your mind.
What time do I show up?
What should I wear?
Am I going to need something else that I don't have?
Should I eat before or after? Halp!
First: Breathe. You are not alone. I too, was once a yoga "n00b" and I can say it's all going to be okay. At my first HOT yoga class, I was so self-conscious that I wore tights under my shorts like I was going to a dance class. *face-palm* You my friend, are not going to do that. Luckily, you have me to guide you so you can learn from my follies.
When to Arrive: Once you found a class and studio (that allows drop-ins) then your first order of business is to plan on arriving 15 minutes prior to the class starting. Usually, you will have to sign a waiver, pay and sign in for class. If it is a popular time or class, then showing up early will benefit you. Pro-Tip: Call the studio beforehand and let them know you're coming. Ask them if they have any new student specials (if none were listed on the website). Inquire if it is appropriate for beginners.
My recommendation is to take any Level 1, Gentle or Yin Yoga class when first starting out. If the studio utilizes mindbody online, I also recommend registering there before showing up. This will also save you time (bonus if you can sign the waiver during this process)!
What you should wear:
Any fitness or active wear that make you feel comfortable. Think: Stretchy leggings, tanks, sports bras, t-shirts, pull-overs or even joggers. Layering is a good option. I suggest this because at the end of classes during cool down you end up lying on the floor for extended periods of time. I'm naturally cold all of the time, so this is very important to me. There are many options when it comes to yoga apparel. It can range from $10 for one pair of leggings to $180. If you got money like that and want to splurge, go check out Carbon38, alo yoga, Lululemon.
BONUS: if you love Carbon38 AND saving money just as much as I do, I'll hook you up with a discount! Just use TEAM38 discount code: KRISTINDAM20
Now, before we move on, I highly recommend being dressed before you show up to class as most studios don't have changing rooms.
Here are some universal "Yoga Do's & Don'ts" that are observed in most studios.
Talk quietly in the foyer or front desk area while you wait. Typically this is the time students are in relaxation (and depending on the studio) sound travels into the outlying rooms (be mindful). Always bring a water bottle and your yoga mat. Some studios rent mats and sell water, others do not (it is better to come prepared). Remove your shoes and socks before entering the classroom and place them in a cubby or other designated area. Turn off or silence your cell phone and keep it with your personal belongings. There's nothing worse than being in relaxation and someone's phone goes off! Do: Make friends! Talking is typically discouraged during class, but before or after is a great way to connect (smile, say hello).
Set up your mat in an area where you can see the instructor and have enough space to spread out. If you have any injuries or sensitivities this is a great time to let the instructor know. Grab some props if it was requested, two blocks, a blanket or strap, then place them neatly at the front of your mat. Wait patiently seated in a cross legged position. Consider sitting atop a cushion or block for added support. Listen carefully and follow along the best you can. Participate when it feels appropriate or comfortable to your level and listen to your body. When advanced or deeper postures are presented, it isn't always necessary; go at your own pace and have fun!
Some teachers chant "OM" and 99% say "Namaste" or "Jai Bhagwan" at the end of class. Do what feels comfortable to you. If you're uncomfortable, explore why. If you just don't know what it means: OM is said to be the sound of the universe, by chanting it, we connect to it. Namaste means the divine light in me bows and honors the divine light within you. At Kripalu we always end class with Jai Bhagwan and bow inward. This is just another way of saying "Namaste.
Did I miss something? Have more questions? Comment below and I'd love to answer them!