How to Prepare for your First Yoga Class
For those who are newcomers to yoga, or for us “seasoned veterans” who could use a reminder, here are some things to keep in mind so that everyone’s yoga experience is fulfilling.
1. Arrive early. If you are attending class for the first time, then you will need some extra time to fill out forms, meet the teacher, and get acquainted with your new surroundings (10 minutes?). And, if you’re like me, you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to set up your mat and props and not feel rushed in any way. If you do happen to be running late, however, (it happens to the best of us!) don’t fret. Simply wait until the opening meditation is finished before walking in to class. It’s much less distracting to have someone set up his or her mat next to you during downward dog than during your silent meditation!
2. What to wear/bring. You really only need to bring yourself. You may bring your own mat, if you have one, or use one of ours. We have extra mats and props at no extra charge. We recommend not running out to buy the cheapest mat you find at Walmart. It's best to try out different brands and styles and ask around. Mats vary greatly in their price, stickiness, thickness, and softness. Cheaper is not always better. Dress in clothes you can move in. Wear tights or shorts, a tee-shirt or tank top. You will get warm during class, but also be prepared to cover up at the end with a sweatshirt and/or socks. We have water, tea and fruit available at the studio (small donations welcome) if you're thirsty or hungry and forgot to bring your own.
3. Eat After Class. One should not eat for at least two hours before practicing yoga – three or four hours after a big meal. During your practice, you want all of your body’s energy to go to your muscles, not to your stomach. If this seems to intense, at least eat light. Have a small smoothie, a cup of tea, or some other food that won’t start churning in undesirable ways half way into the class.
4. Follow up with Water. While most teachers will recommend that you do NOT drink anything DURING your practice, it is a good idea to drink plenty of water after the class. This helps to further the process of detoxification that the asanas have begun. Think of it as a way of washing away all of the toxins that your muscles just wrung out. I usually drink two full glasses (sometimes one of those is a yummy cup of yogi tea).
5. Perfumes and Colognes. Loading up on half a bottle of your favorite perfume would obviously not be advisable when coming to class. However, do take time to make sure your “odor natural” will not offend the yogini on the next mat, or your teacher – when he or she comes closer to give you that oh-so-welcome adjustment in downward dog. Some suggest showering before and after your practice. Yoga mats should also be cleaned regularly. Throw it right in the washing machine, and let it dry for a good, long time (mine usually takes up to two days). Regular washing will also keep it nice and “sticky.”
6. Do what works for you. Chanting or not chanting. Hands-on adjustments or not. Only do what is comfortable for you and your body. Your teacher will not be offended if you vary your practice so that it is right for you. A simple “no, thank you” will let your teacher know that you are doing just fine, without extra help or adjusting. And, staying silent while others are chanting “Om” is also your prerogative. No pressure. The great thing about yoga is that it IS so varied. We are all unique, so take what you will, and leave the rest
Hi! I'm Maya!
A yoga teacher, juice bar owner, freelance writer and mom. I love simple, tiny living, and am mildly obsessed with vanlife and dogs. I love travel, getting outside, and the challenge of cooking from scratch with a few simple ingredients. Thanks for visiting my site. Feel free to email me with questions, feedback, or to connect in any way!