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Yoga – Your First Yoga Class

The first yoga class can be intimidating with the unfamiliar movements, hyper-flexible classmates, and Sanskrit names for the yoga poses. Here are some tips to help.

What to Bring.

  • A yoga mat (a limited number are avaiable to borrow for the session)

A yoga mat, also called a sticky mat. The mat helps define your personal space, but more importantly, it creates traction for your hands and feet so you don’t slip, especially as you get a little sweaty.

  • A  towel
  • A blanket (cotton is best)

The folded blankets are props to sit and lie on during class. For instance, sit cross-legged and put a blanket under your sit bones to elevate the hips above the knees. They come in handy for all sorts of things during class, and if it’s chilly you can use them to cover yourself during final relaxation at the end of class.

Clothing

Comfortable, breathable clothes are recommended for yoga. You probably want to wear a shirt that is a little bit form-fitting, since in many yoga poses, your head comes below your hips and your shirt can slide down. Any exercise pants or shorts will do, although it’s best not to have super slick lycra-type pants since this may cause you to slip in some poses.

Shoes

Yoga is most often done barefoot, which is great news for those of us tired of packing a bulky pair of athletic shoes for after work trips to the gym. Yoga studios will often request that you leave your shoes near the entrance.

How to Prepare

  • Do Arrive at least 10 minutes early for your first class.
  • Do Drink plenty of water before coming to class.  It is best to drink it throughout the day rather then chugging it right before class.
  • Do switch off your cell phone.
  • Don’t eat a big meal before the class.

What to Expect

In a typical yoga class, the students place their mats facing the front of the room (often identifiable by a small altar or by the teacher’s mat) in a loose grid. It’s best not to line up your mat exactly with the one next to it because you and your neighbor will need some space in certain poses. The students often sit in a cross-legged position waiting for class to start or do some gentle stretching.

The teacher may start class by leading the class in chanting om three times. Depending on the teacher, there may be a breathing exercise or short meditation at the start of class.

This is followed by warm-up poses, then more vigorous poses, then stretches and final relaxation.

Sometimes the teacher will go around to each student during final relaxation and give them a little massage. Most teachers end class with another round of oms.

Congratulate yourself! You just took your first yoga class! You may be a little sore tomorrow.