What to Know Before Your First Yoga Class?

Arriving at your first yoga class may seem scary and intimidating. Hopefully these tips will help you to feel more confident about stepping on the mat for the first time. And that you’ll want to come back for more!

What to wear?

Something that’s stretchy and comfortable, leggings or shorts are good options, but jeans and shirts are a no go! My tip for your first yoga class is to wear a top that is tight or that you can tuck in because you don’t want it rolling over your head in downward dog! It’s a good idea to wear layers because you can take them off as you warm up during class and then get cosy again at the end for savasana.

Savasana?

Since I mentioned it! It’s the relaxation bit at the end of class and usually lasts 5-10 minutes. Some teachers may adjust students in savasana which can feel good. Others, like myself, offer essential oils, pillows, blankets and bolsters to allow their students to feel fully supported, comfortable and relaxed. It’s the most important part of the class as it allows the nervous system to settle. It also gets the mind to integrate everything you learned during the class.

Hands on adjustment?

A good teacher will know to only use hands on adjustment to help the student feel better in a pose. If you don’t feel comfortable with being touched you can quietly mention it to the teacher at the start of class. Some teachers will ask before touching and others may use consent cards. In my opinion, hands on adjustment should only be used if the teacher thinks the student looks uncomfortable or unsafe in a pose. Remember, everybody is going to look different in a pose. Once you feel the target muscles working and you’re not in pain then you’re doing it right.

What to bring?

This depends on the studio/teacher and what type of class you’re going to. In my studio we provide all the equipment, so I just say to my students to bring some water. If it’s your first yoga class my advice would be to check ahead and see if the studio provides mats. You don’t want to be spending your hard-earned money on a mat for your first class.

Studio Etiquette

Again, this depends on the studio, but the general rule of thumb is that you take your shoes off before coming into the practice space. Maintain a low voice or whisper. Please turn your phone off! It disrupts the whole class when a phone rings…. maybe that’s just a pet hate of mine but you really don’t need your phone for that hour. No glass bottles in the studio. This is from personal experience. I accidentally smashed mine once and somebody walked into the glass as I was getting tissue to clean it up. Not pretty!

Pain and discomfort

These are two very different feelings. If you feel a sharp or hot pain in any pose come out of it gently and rest. The teacher should be able to prop you or give you an alternative pose. Discomfort is ok. This feeling is your body either stretching or being strengthened. You are going to feel discomfort in your first yoga class. Poses are held for a few breaths so try your best to stay with the discomfort and don’t let it discourage you. Your teacher will remind you to feel the sensations and most importantly to BREATHE! Where you feel discomfort in your body will change throughout the class. It’s important to notice these changes, it’ll help take you out of your head and into your body. That’s the whole point of the practice anyway!

Don’t let the images of models doing headstands in their underwear on Instagram discourage you from trying a yoga class. What you see on social media vs what you see in class are two totally different things (but that’s a whole other blog post). Everybody is there to learn. And there is a yoga style suitable for every – body. So, shimmy into your leggings and sign up to that first class. You will notice the difference in your body and mind in no time.

Liz Ferris (Owner)

Sutton Yoga Garden

Beginner’s Yoga classes are on at Sutton Yoga Garden every Monday 7:30-8:30 pm.