The next step after knowing the yoga class to start with is learning how to approach a yoga class for the first time and knowing what you need to do before then. Below is a list of things that you need to do before your first yoga class:
(i) Set a goal
One of the secret weapons that you should have when going into a yoga class is a goal. A goal is simply what you are aiming to achieve when you practice yoga. As you saw above, everyone who goes into yoga does it for a reason. Yours can be to be fit.
Goals offer you positive stress, which is what you need to succeed in strengthening your body and live a stress-free life with yoga. Therefore, before going into a yoga class, you should define your reason for doing yoga and come up with an actionable goal.
(ii) Know what to wear
The basic principle when it comes to what to wear in yoga is, always wear what is comfortable for you. However, some guidelines can help you choose the right clothes to wear when you are starting yoga. Here they are:
- You should wear something that is not too loose. Loose clothes suffocate you during a downward dog pose.
- It is a good idea for you to wear layers on your top half during yoga. This is because it can help you stay warm in savasana and gives you the option of shedding them off when the heat is too much.
- High waist trousers and leggings are highly recommended for yoga. This is because they remove the fear of you exposing your behind when doing yoga, which heightens your concentration.
Basically a t-shirt and elastic-waist shorts work perfectly for men. For women, a tank top and yoga or leggings pants amazingly works. The last thing to note is yoga is done barefoot so take your socks off when you get into a yoga class.
(iii) Know what to eat before yoga
Every expert in yoga agrees with one thing; you should not eat any heavy food 2 hours before doing yoga. If you do, you and the people around you may pay the price, and trust me it won’t be pretty.
On a more serious note, doing forward bends and twist on a yoga mat with a full stomach can make you nauseating and uncomfortable and you don’t want that.
However, you cannot go to a yoga class on an empty stomach, as you won’t last long as yoga needs a lot of energy. Therefore, what you should do is to take a snack like a handful of nuts and yogurt or fruits like bananas and dates, which will provide you with the energy you need without making you full.
(iv) Familiarize yourself with commonly used yoga terms
In order to practice yoga efficiently, you need to learn the commonly used yoga terms; you need to learn the Sanskrit, which is the yoga language. Yoga is normally taught in Sanskrit with a little bit of English. Therefore, if you don’t know the yoga language you can be confused the whole time you are in a yoga class. Below are some of the most used Sanskrit and their meanings.
- Asana: a pose or a posture
- Tadasana: Mountain pose
- Savasana: corpse poses. It’s a final resting pose in a yoga class.
- Pranayama: controlled breathing.
- Bandha: tightening of your muscles
- Namaste: it’s a respectful greeting in yoga
- Utkatasana: chair pose
- Vinyasa: a series of poses
- Mantra: repeating words or syllables
- Chanting Om: it is a sound of creation that yogis use to unite energy and bring sacredness into their practices
(v) How to communicate in class
Yoga sessions are very strict when it comes to communication. They don’t allow you to talk when a session is in progress. Why, you may wonder? This is because you will distract the class by interfering with other students’ concentration. So how are you supposed to communicate in yoga?
The best time for you to communicate with your yoga teacher is before or after a class. For instance, if you are pregnant or you are a beginner, you can approach the teacher before a session and tell them that. They will then find you the necessary props that will make the yoga practice comfortable for you. That is common practice.
Once the yoga session starts, you need to keep quiet and pay attention. However, what if you have something pressing to ask in the middle of a yoga session? What should you do then? If something is important, you can raise your hand and then the teacher will come to you.
(vi) Know what to bring when you go to a yoga room
The only items that you are allowed to bring in a yoga room are usually a bottle of water, a mat, and maybe a small towel to wipe your sweat with. As a beginner, you should avoid carrying your phone into a yoga room…
This is because a yoga room is a place where you disconnect yourself from the outside world and a cell phone is a part of your outside world.
What To Expect From Yoga Class As A Beginner
By now, you know that you need to remove your shoes, choose a spot, set your mat, and wait for the class to begin when attending a yoga class. However, what should you expect to happen next? Here is a brief explanation of what happens next.
At the beginning of a yoga class, the instructor is going to guide you through some breathing, which he/she will match with your movement. The breathing will bring in some focus, strength, and energy, which will calm you down and help you execute each pose well.
The instructor will then make you go through a sequence of poses where you will go from lying down to standing and to sitting. The poses that you will do will all be designed for a specific intention such as to improve your balance, strengthening your body or restoring your energy.
Some instructors demonstrate each and every pose for you. They will walk around and adjust your poses to help you get into proper alignment. If you don’t like to be adjusted, you can communicate that to the instructor and he won’t assist you. That said when the class is big, instructors don’t get the time to demonstrate poses so they just use verbal cues. As a beginner, you will be encouraged to use props like blocks and straps on your first day. This is because they are good at assisting you to get the most out of yoga practice.
Yoga classes end with a few minutes of you lying down with your eyes closed in a pose known as savasana. At this time, you are supposed to let your body and breathing relax. Savasana helps you feel the physical effects of the poses that you have just done.
Once you are through with the savasana, the instructor will bow and say Namaste, which is a gesture word that means “thank you” for coming to practice. The students including you will repeat the word Namaste as a way of thanking the instructor.