10 Things You Must Know Before Taking a Yoga Class
Yoga is everywhere. From Instagram influencers to medical professionals, everyone seems to agree that yoga is the perfect exercise for our busy, stressful life. After all, what is more relaxing than contorting your body into impossible figures?
Well, don't knock it until you try it. Yoga does have a lot of benefits for your health and doesn't require expensive equipment. But, as a yoga beginner myself, I have to say that some challenges are unexpected when you take your first class.
Things to Know Before Taking a Yoga Class
- Learn about different types of yoga
- Don't go on a shopping spree
- Don't wear socks
- Don't shy away in a corner
- Don't try to push yourself
- Don't hide away any injuries
- Don't keep your cell phone close by
- Don't mock the meditation
- Don't compare yourself to others
- Don't give up
1. Learn About Different Types of Yoga
If you expect to simply sit and meditate, I have bad news for you, yoga is hard. There are several types of yoga that have a wide range of physical effort involved. If it is your first time in the classroom, I would suggest Hatha Yoga, which balances exercise and relaxation. After a couple sessions, you might want to branch out to other variations of yoga, depending on the physical demands you are willing to bear.
2. Don't Go on a Shopping Spree
Most gyms offer yoga mats and other equipment for the class, even if they do recommend buying your own for hygienic reasons. However, if you are just getting started, give it a few classes before you buy a personalized mat. After a few classes, you will have more clarity about the characteristics and requirements you need to look for in your equipment.
3. Don't Wear Socks
While this advice sounds kind of gross (and maybe you should wait until you have your own mat to go barefoot), it is something I wish someone told me. Yoga postures require a firm grip on the mat and socks are distracting because they get in your way.
4. Don't Shy Away in a Corner
It's easy to give in during the first class and take a space on the far corner of the classroom. After all, it is a bit intimidating to see other students making perfect postures while you struggle to keep your balance. However, the front of the class is the best place for beginners. It gives you the chance to take a closer look at the instructor. It will give him or her a better chance to spot and correct any mistake you might be making.
5. Don't Try to Push Yourself
Yoga might seem easy to an outsider, but it takes a great deal of effort to achieve the flexibility and muscle memory necessary to effortlessly pull off some of the most difficult postures. It is okay to push yourself a bit further with every class, but if you need to break a posture or feel like you can keep up with the rest of the class, listen to your body and stop immediately.
6. Don't Hide Away Any Injuries
If you have any injury, don't forget to mention it at the beginning of every class. Certain postures can be detrimental to some people or extend your body in the wrong way. That doesn't necessarily mean that you will be left out. Most likely, the instructor will come up with a variation of the movement that won't put your body in a tough spot.
Also, keep in mind that most yoga teachers have lots of students, so you might need to refresh your teacher's memory every time you take the class. Don't feel bad about nagging your instructor! They are perfectly content to find a way to include you in the routines and make sure you feel comfortable.
7. Don't Keep Your Cell Phone Close by
The whole point of yoga is to open up a communication line between you and your inner self. If you are not an emergency responder or something similar, bringing your cell phone into the classroom will create a diversion for you and other students.
8. Don't Mock the Meditation
If you are not a spiritual person (which has nothing to do with your religious preferences), you might find it hard to stay focused during the final meditation. Try your best to stay quiet and clear your mind, even if it only works just for a few seconds at a time. It has mental benefits. This period of relaxation helps your body cool down, making it is an integral part of the exercise routine.
9. Don't Compare Yourself to Others
There are people who have been taking yoga classes for years. Of course, they might be a little bit more flexible, or better able to stay in a posture longer than you. View each yoga class as an opportunity to improve yourself, but focus on your own body instead of measuring your progress against other students.
10. Don't Give Up
As with any physical activity, it takes your body time to get used to doing yoga. Even if the first class leaves you exhausted, keep in mind that you need to keep practicing to achieve your goals. In no time, you will learn to communicate with your body, improve your balance, and learn to love the feeling of your muscles stretching.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Carolina Mejia