The benefits of yoga are real, both primary and secondary, and the journey starts with the first step. Hopefully these tips will help make sure your first yoga class isn’t your last.
1- Yoga is a personal practice, not a physical competition: Yoga is about turning inward. Listen to your own body and do what is right for you. I know you might want to keep on pushing if you see your neighbor going deeper than you, but remember that a good yoga practice is one in which you honor your body, not one in which you beat your neighbor.
2- Silence is crucial: Because yoga is more than a physical practice, usually yoga studios are very quiet, inviting you to calm down. Try to respect that silence, loud noises can be very disruptive when others are trying to prepare for practice.
3- It is not a quick fix: Before my first yoga class I had heard of so many great yoga benefits that my expectations were over the top. After my first class, I was more frustrated than anything. I wasn’t flexible enough, my breath was not as smooth as I had wished and my mind didn’t stop going. But I didn’t give up. It takes time, and when you least expect it, you’ll see that yoga works.
4- The right gear is key: Having a yoga mat that slides or wearing pants that require you to keep pulling up in order to keep from showing your underwear can throw you off big time. When you are able to forget about everything around you, you’ll be able to bring your awareness inside and that’s key to a good yoga practice.
5- Lightness is important: Try not to eat anything heavy right before going to a yoga class. It will give you a better edge to get into some positions. You’ll be more comfortable in your own body if your stomach is not that full.
6- Show up on time: It is important that you show up to your yoga class on time. Give yourself time to set your yoga mat in place and to calm down a little before starting. If you show up late, be mindful of your neighbors and place your mat down quietly so you do not disrupt the class.
7- Your shoes are not welcome: Unlike other types of activities, yoga classes require you to take off your shoes. If it’s your first time in the yoga studio, look for the shoe cubbies or a place to leave your shoes. It is a sign of respect to do so, a way to leave the “outside” out of the class.
Those are things that would have prevented me from getting strange looks during my first yoga class. Another thing, that isn’t really a tip, but more of a lesson learned is to give yoga some time. After your first class don’t give up. If you didn’t find what you were looking for in your first class, maybe it was not the right class for you. Explore other instructors, classes or yoga studios until you find the one that brings the best out of you.
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