If you've never taken a yoga class before, waltzing into one can seem a bit daunting- what should you wear? What should you eat beforehand? What if you're not flexible enough? These are questions that new students ask me often. With national yoga month coming up (September), there's no time like the present to prepare yourself for your first yoga class. Here are my answers to some of the most common questions I'm asked:
*What should I wear?
Wear anything comfortable. My test for yoga clothes goes like this: put on whatever you want, then pretend to sit in a chair. Is the waist band of your pants/shorts slipping down? Do a gentle forward bend. If your shirt rides up, are you comfortable with that? You can wear whatever you want, but you should feel comfortable in how your clothes move with you.
Other tips: Avoid wearing perfumes to class. Also, yoga is practiced barefoot so if your feet have been in shoes all day, you might want to give them a rinse before coming to class. This is not to say you need to go out and get a pedicure- just that a lot of time in class is spent down near your feet. Avoid putting lotions on before coming to class- it will make you sticky and prone to slipping when you start to sweat in the practice.
*What should I eat?
It's best not to eat two hours before yoga class. I've pushed the limit and eaten an hour and a half before class and been okay. You can bring water to class, but traditionally yoga is not meant to be practiced with water breaks because it "puts out the fire" you're creating with your breath. That being said, if you feel you need some water, take some water!
*What if I'm not flexible enough?
This question makes me smile. You ARE flexible enough! Everyone needs to start somewhere. Acknowledge where you are in your practice- acknowledge what you can do and what you can't, and then let it go. Follow the class the best you can, and know that in any class you are welcome to take child's pose or corpse pose if you need to rest.
Other things to know:
-Your yoga teacher may adjust you. Yoga teachers are trained to be a little more hands on. They may adjust you to help your body into proper alignment or to help you go deeper in a pose. If you're not up for being touched, just let the instructor know.
-If you have any injuries, let your teacher know before class begins.
-Always work within a pain-free range. There is a difference between "the edge" and pain. Just go to your edge and don't go any further.
-You may experience an emotional release. When we start moving our bodies in new ways there may be an emotional or physical release. This may manifest itself as laugher, tears, or a mood change. You don't have to think about it at all, just experience whatever comes (or doesn't come) and let it go.
-Silence is golden. When you enter the room and after you the class is over, be mindful of yourself and others. If you must talk, do so quietly.
-Breath is the most important thing. When you first join a yoga class, you may be surprised to hear the breath in the room. It sounds like a the ocean when you hold a seashell to your ear. That's the ujjayi breath. Try to create that sound throughout class in your breath. Staying connected to your breath is the most important thing in yoga-moreso than the poses themselves.
Do you have any other questions? Or any tips to add? Feel free to comment here or on our facebook page.