I’ve always wanted to give yoga a try; but somehow, I never fail to find a way to keep putting it off. Why? I don’t know exactly. But when life gets so busy and there are other things requiring time and attention, it’s easy to say: “do I really have time for yoga?”
But when you think about it, yoga can be a great addition to your lifestyle, providing you an avenue to give your body a workout (those poses aren’t easy to hold!) while keeping you mentally and spiritually centered--a must-have in today’s hectic always-on-the-go lifestyle.
Since the new year has just started and as part of my resolution to give myself more care and attention (especially when it comes to my health), I finally took a trip down to a Yoga+express at Mckinley Hill for my first ever yoga class.
Was I nervous? Of course! I didn’t know what to expect; but I pushed all nervousness aside, stepped into the studio, and held my first yoga pose. An hour later, I left my first class feeling light, rejuvenated, and with an immense calm I haven’t felt in years.
So in hopes of inspiring fellow yoga-newbies out there to finally take a leap and give yoga a try, I made a list of what I learned after my first class. Hopefully it’ll give you a better picture of what to expect and take away the fears you may have about going for your first yoga class.
Comfortable Clothes Is Key To A Good First Class
Always go for comfort. It’s so easy to overthink what you’re going to wear to your first class, especially when you have all these ideas in your head about how a Yogi dresses like. Ignore those images. Wear something comfortable that allows you to easily shift from pose-to-pose. And if you don’t think you’ll be consistently practicing yoga in the long run, skip buying the fancy Yoga outfits. You can own those once you actually get into the rhythm of yoga.
Try Not To Be Self-Conscious Over Your Form
It’s easy to be so self-conscious of how your body looks next to your more experienced classmates -- especially if you find yourself in a room full of well-practiced yogis. Of course they’re going to nail the poses, they’ve been practicing yoga longer than you have and they’re bodies are now more accustomed to the poses. But most importantly: don’t worry about how your stomach looks. There’s a lot of bending and twisting in yoga, so naturally your stomach will bulge and rolls will show. It’s only natural. Don’t be self-conscious about it. No one is spending the entire duration of the class looking at your stomach rolls.
You Can Be More Flexible Than You Think
If you enter the class with an open mind and the desire to fully challenge your body, you’ll soon realize that you’re actually more flexible than you think. Poses that you once thought you’d never be able to hold in theory, could actually be easy for you in practice. All it takes is the will to try. Don’t psyche yourself out by hesitating on a pose. Release all the tension in your body and let yourself flow from pose-to-pose.
When You’re Feeling Lost, Look Around
It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed during your first class. You’re unfamiliar with the poses, the yoga terms used, and perhaps even how a class is conducted. Don’t worry. Whenever you’re feeling lost and don’t quite understand the pose; or find yourself in a class where the yoga instructor prefers to narrate a move rather than demonstrate it, just look around you. You’re surrounded by experienced yogis. Look at how they’re moving their body and try to imitate them. If you still need help, don’t hesitate to call the attention of your yoga instructor.
Don’t Forget To Breathe
It’s easy to get so caught up with holding a pose that you forget one of the essentials to Yoga: breathing. So before you start the class, get yourself accustomed to being aware of your breath by doing breathing exercises. Breathe in, breathe out...each time feeling hyper-aware of how the air moves through your body and out of your lungs. That will help center your practice.
Tell us about your first time in a yoga class. Tag us on Instagram @iamclaireph!