Updated: Apr 10, 2020
Thinking of attending your very first yoga class? Anxious or excited? No need to worry, I've gone over some of the things you need to know to keep your mind at ease.
Welcome, thank you for being here. Are you planning on attending your first ever yoga class? It can be intimidating and exciting in equal parts. I have therefore compiled some need to know facts to put your mind at ease, and to encourage you to just go for it!
If you have never tried yoga before you might assume it is only for the flexible or spiritually inclined. In reality there is a type of yoga for every[body].
Here are some things you might like to know...
What to wear:
1. Yoga is practiced barefoot. If this makes you uncomfortable, please know that no-one is looking at your feet! If you really can't stand the idea of this, then some grippy toe socks are an alternative option.
2. Wear comfy exercise clothes. Try to avoid any buttons or zips on clothing as they can dig into your skin.
Food & drink:
3. It is recommended to avoid eating anything for approximately 2 hours before class, as this can make practising uncomfortable. So be prepared by eating plenty during the day. If this is difficult, a light snack of fruit or nuts should hopefully suffice until you get home.
4. Drink plenty of water. You can bring a bottle into class, but it is usually best to drink your water before and after class to help your muscles recover.
5. Most studios (including my classes) have mats that you can use during class. However, if you are going to practice more regularly, it might be best to get your own. Some studios require that you clean them afterwards so ask the teacher after class where the mat spray is.
6. Yoga props! I use props in my class and I recommend you do too. Props can challenge you or provide support depending on how you use them. They help make yoga accessible to most bodies, and are something to be utilised, not snubbed. So grab a couple of blocks, a blanket and even a bolster in class. I, and most teachers will be very happy to help you use them.
7. Switch your phone off! No ringing, no noisy vibrations, please give your practice the silence it deserves. It might even be the one time a week where you do not need to look at your phone, so enjoy it.
8. Come to class around 10 minutes before the start time. This will give you plenty of time to grab a mat, your props, find a spot and ask the teacher any questions you may have.
9. Leave your shoes and stuff outside the door. This stops the room getting dirty and cluttered.
10. Find out how to pay. I take both cash and bank transfer as payment, but some studios require online payments.
11. Leave the studio as you found it. It's polite, and the teacher will be grateful.
12. Always tell the teacher of any injuries or weak spots you have in your body. Nobody knows your body better than you, but your teacher will want to get to know it too! Be honest with your teacher and more importantly yourself. Maybe you have a knee that is sometimes weak or a lower back issue. These things are important as the teacher can give specific advice so that it doesn't get worse. Yoga is meant to heal after all.
13. Respect your boundaries. It is always difficult to know what these are when you first start a new exercise regime, but keep this in mind as you practice. Try to leave your ego and perfectionism at the door. You will find it much more enjoyable, I assure you!
14. Rest if you need to rest. No one is looking at you, so please don't worry what others will think. You can always grab a chair and meditate, or leave the room if it gets too much. This also goes for if you are sick. Rest is a practice too, so stay at home if you are unwell.
15. It is recommended not to practice inversions (poses where the heart is above the head) during menstruation. But it really depends person to person. Do what feels good for you and retain your energy during this time.
16. If you want to ask a question during or after class, please ask. Most yoga teachers welcome enquiries, and if they do not know the answer, they will most likely want to find out too!
The yoga tradition:
17. Yoga can seem mystifying. In yoga we may use sanskrit words for poses, breathing exercises and philosophical ideas. This should not put you off. Sanskrit is an ancient Indian language which often uses single words for concepts that we would need paragraphs to explain. It is convenient, but also gives a greater depth to our practice, respecting the culture and philosophy at the heart of all yoga.
18. This is also why yoga teachers will often chant 'ohm' (also written 'om' or 'aum') at the beginning or end of a class. It symbolises the sound of the divine universe. Each syllable representing the beginning, middle and end. It acts as a reminder and a mantra to surrender to what is. I encourage you to join in!
So good luck with your first yoga class. All you really need, when the time comes, is your body and an open mind.
Things of note specific to my classes:
Please ensure that you close the gate of the Kaasmarktschool when you come to class. You can leave the front door of the school open though. LesAtelier 7 is located up the stairs to the first floor, through the door on your right and down the corridor.
There is a toilet and sink. You can change your clothes in the toilet or in the studio if you need to.
I offer a cup of tea after class, where we can chat and enjoy a sense of community. Please feel free to join if you have time. I look forward to meeting you!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for my classes or if you have any more questions. Classes are on Wednesday and Thursday at 19:30pm-20:45pm.