When you hear about yoga, the first things that spring to mind are probably physical exercise and people stretching into bizarre poses. Yet yoga is much more than just an exercise – it connects your body, mind, and spirit so that while you’re performing yoga, you can relieve stress and experience peace of mind. Perhaps this is why you’ve decided to take yoga classes in the first place. But as a beginner, how much do you know about yoga? Here’s what you need to know before taking your first ever yoga class.
Come to class free of expectations
After seeing amazing pictures of yogis in magazines, you’re convinced that you’ll be able to mold your body into graceful poses in no time. But you’re making a big mistake if you set unrealistic expectations when you first step into yoga. Flexibility takes months, or even years, of hard work to build up, so don’t expect everything to go as planned. Instead, enter the class with an open mind and experience the moments of hardship and fun – it’s all part of the yoga practice!
Don’t come with a full stomach
An important preparation for yoga is avoiding meals for two or three hours prior to the practice. Yoga requires a lot of stretching and twisting of your body. When you have food in your digestive system, not only are most yoga poses uncomfortable, but it can also interfere with your overall performance, and the last thing you want in your first yoga class is to feel uncomfortable all the time and to have to keep going to the bathroom.
Talk to the instructor before class
Greeting the instructor before you start yoga is good in many ways. Firstly, you can get to know the person who’s going to teach you, and can ask any questions about the class. Secondly, you can inform your instructor about any present or past injuries you may have, and make sure that you learn some modification moves when other yogis are engaging in particularly difficult poses. It is part of your instructor’s job to ensure compliance to safety and health standards, so he or she will always be willing to help.
Free yourself of distractions
Sometimes it’s hard to focus on what you’re doing, especially when you can understand only half of what the instructor’s saying. When doing yoga for the first time, anything out of place can distract your attention, like uncomfortable clothes, people around you, and even your bangs getting in your eyes. So make sure you wear appropriate clothing for yoga – not too tight nor too loose, and come to class in a determined manner.
Don’t compare yourself to others
Every class has that one super-flexible yogi who seems to master just about any move with ease. But things can get ugly when you start comparing yourself to others in a yoga class – either you’re putting yourself down when comparing yourself to someone with better body shape and flexibility, or you’re putting them down to make you feel better. This only makes you feel bad, and you might even end up convincing yourself that yoga isn’t for you. What you need to understand is that peoples’ bodies are built differently, and that you should be focusing on developing your own rather than envying others.
Yoga classes can be intimidating for first-timers, so it always helps to do a bit of research first. If you’re planning to take yoga classes, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to help.