What to Know before going to a Yoga class?
Whether you’re naturally flexible or do sports occasionally, or you just went to a couple of classes — or none at all; given the spotlight Yoga is under right now, one may feel overwhelmed and doubtful before going to a class…
What should I wear? What should I eat – holy food only harvested on the mountains of India? Do I have to bring a mat?
Bottom line is: the hype of Yoga goes beyond the cool poses bombing instagram, it’s mostly thanks to its awesome benefits to the body and peace for the mind. When it comes to its core, Yoga is simple and for everyone willing to fall a few times… Those who keep coming back up are the true Warrior.
So take your shoes off, put your phone away, leave your ego at the door, let go of any expectations and get ready to immerse into a mind blowing journey.
First and foremost, yoga is not a fitness class and the focus is not only the physical part of the positions but the conscious breathing throughout the practice. Mindfulness helps you conect to your body: stay present in the moment and your mind will clear out of worries, and always take deep long breaths.
• Keep hydrated, eat light and digest
Nourish your body with very light and healthy food to boost your energy for your first Sun salutation: fruits, yogurt, nuts and dates are great snacks at least 20 min before your practice. If you just had a main meal, allow 1,5/2 hours to digest before going Downward dog. Also, make sure to keep hydrated before, during and after the practice to replenish your body lots of fluids.
• The attire
There are fitness clothes specifically designed for yoga, that stretches as you stretch and allows you to move freely. The most important thing is to be comfortable as you’ll be going up and down and you won’t want to worry about your clothes while you try to hold a plank for instance. Fitted top, high waisted leggings, stretchy shorts or some loose pants – whatever feels adequate for you and the type of yoga you’ll practice; if you’re trying Hot yoga for example, prefer light and breathable clothes.
Fitted top, high waisted leggings, stretchy shorts or some loose pants – whatever feels good to you and the type of yoga you’re trying; for Hot yoga for example, prefer light and breathable clothes.
• What to take?
The main thing is an open mind! Other than that, if you have your own mat it’s always great to build up that energy on it; or most of the studios have extra ones to borrow or rent. They also provide some basic props, so as a beginner you might want to take a block which will help with seated positions, straps or belts to help more flexibility and a blanket to make the final relaxation cosier. You might want to bring a towel if you sweat a lot and some water as well.
• Expect some corrections during the class
The teacher might ask beforehand if everyone is happy with receiving adjustments, and it’s up to you whether you prefer or not to be touched. It’s completely normal even for habitual students to be corrected, so don’t think of it as a sign you’re doing all wrong; but think as an extra help to make you more at ease in the pose, get better alignment or dig in more.
• Take it easy, know your limits
Let go of expectations and pre conceptions of what you can or can’t do – at the same time respect your boundaries. Specially if you’re a woman, we have our high and low energy days, so maybe one day you feel like taking more child poses to rest – and that is completely okay.
Most poses offers variations so it’s up to you how far you’re willing to go, but try to focus more on getting the foundation right rather than showing off a difficult pose done wrongly. You might think that someone is looking at you and you’re not getting it right – but know that each person there is just busy with their practice and facing their own challenges, as Yoga is an internal practice and a dive into the self.
• Keep coming back
Having experienced yoga wether for the first time ever or the 20th, you’ll feel calmer and more relaxed, but the long term results, like the desired healthier lifestyle of the Yogins – will only be achievable on the long run.
If you enjoyed the class despite the difficulties, keep practicing and you’ll get more familiar with the postures to eventually hold a Tree pose without losing balance. Nourish yourself by making time for yoga, be patient to then harvest the fruits.