Your first yoga class - what to expect?
Here a few things to expect during your first yoga class What do I wear?
Basically workout clothes, I like to wear layers depending on the weather and the temperature in the room it’s good to have a lightweight long sleeve top but it’s good to have the option to take it off if you get too hot so wear a vest top underneath. A tight fitting top is good or something that has a drawstring tie as there are inversions (down dog, headstand, handstand, shoulder stand) during the class so expect to go upside down at some point! You don’t want your top falling over your head! You’ll be bending, stretching, twisting, so it’s important to be comfortable. And don't feel like you have to spend money on fancy yoga clothes for your first yoga class, it's more important that you're come along to practice.
I like to wear tighter fitting trousers or something with a drawstring. When moving into downward facing dog or lifting your leg up into 3 leg dog, your trousers can fall towards your knee, not that this is a huge deal but it helps to just keep your focus on your body and breath and let go of any insecurities and worries about your clothing. I prefer a long sleeve top or zip up top without a hood, when you are practicing sun salutations and fold forward, your hood can fall over your head. Again don’t worry if this happens, I’ve been there and done that. It can be a bit annoying and it’s not a big deal but you are conscious of it during your practice and I would rather you were focussing on your breath and what you are feeling in your body, than faffing around with clothing!
I don’t expect you to wear the latest up to date sportswear, just be comfortable. I would much rather you invested time and money in yourself by coming to a class than spending a fortune on yoga clothing.
What to bring
yoga mat, water, socks (my feet are always cold during savasana)
Hands and Feet
Don’t use hand cream or foot cream before class, you spend a lot of time grounding and gripping with your hands and feet. I’ve been there when I’ve used hand cream even in the morning and I’ve spent the class sliding on the mat. A good quality yoga mat with a good grip should also help.
It’s good to have your own yoga mat, especially if you plan to practice regularly. It’s a good investment and means you can start a home practice too. There are a range of different mats from basic fitness mat to Eco mats in a variety of thicknesses. I recommend at least 6mm thick. TK Maxx often have a good range of yoga clothing and yoga mats. Or check out my blog post here.
What to eat
Please don’t come to class on a full stomach. You will be moving and twisting and you may feel uncomfortable and sluggish after a heavy meal. Generally you should wait 2-3 hours after a meal to exercise, as you want your body to be working through the digestive process instead of exercising. I don’t want you coming to class hungry, it’s important to keep blood sugar levels balance. Have a snack before, something like a banana, a few squares of dark chocolate, a smoothie or a handful of nuts.
When you arrive
Remove your shoes and your socks and please let me your teacher know if you have any injuries.
It’s important not to push yourself where your body is not ready to go. This is your own practice, listen to your body and don’t compare yourself to someone else on the mat next to you (I know this can be hard to do, especially if you're competitive!). Remember to breath throughout the class and feel free to practice at home in order to master some of the poses.
Yoga is a quiet, introspective activity, where the focus is inward. I would prefer a general chat with friends to be left until after class however if you have any questions, concerns or worries I would prefer if you spoke up. You may hear me saying posture names like Virabhadrasana (warrior). This is normal to hear in a yoga class, teachers often use the traditional Sanskrit names of poses, but most beginners classes will use the English names.
If you need to rest at any point during class, go into child's pose which is a restorative pose, Kneel on the floor, spreading your legs if need be, sit your hips onto your heels and extend your arms either overhead to stretch the length of the back or alongside the hips, to stretch across the top of the back. Please listen to your body and rest when you need to, you can rest in child's pose at any point throughout the practice, to a beginner downward facing dog will not feel like a resting posture!
Format of the class
The class will be slightly different each time you come however generally the beginning of the class we sit or stand and take a few moments to close our eyes, connect with the breath and ground. This helps to bring us into the present moment and let go of our day. There will be a warm up, a series of postures which may target the whole body, legs, arms, backbends, core and then finally a relaxation called Savasana.
I’m just here for the Savasana (corspe pose)
This is my favourite posture, it’s so important to make time for this. At the end of class there will 10-15 minutes of Savasana (pronounced sha-vass-ahnah). You will lie on your back and close your eyes. Please don’t leave the class before this posture, it’s important to absorb your practice, savasana helps to calm the brain, relieve stress and mild depression and anxiety. It also relaxes the body, reduces headache, fatigue, and insomnia.
I end my class my bringing my hands to heart centre and bowing my head down while I say Namaste. Don't be scared off by this, I’m acknowledging the connectedness between us and honouring you for attending class.
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