I'm writing to you this morning after getting up early to hop along to the John Lewis clearance sale. It was disappointing but, I got coffee! (Priorities). I thought that I would put together a post with things you need to know before your first yoga class. I often get emails asking me things like what to expect, what to wear, what to bring. While practising at home can be great especially if you are just starting out and feel a little daunted by attending a class but I do highly recommend getting yourself to a real yoga class at least once a week. Yoga classes pop up everywhere nowadays - gyms, parks, as well as yoga studios - so there are endless choices!
Things you need to know before your first yoga class.
1. Don't worry about what you are wearing. Honestly - as a teacher I don't care if you are wearing the latest leggings from Sweaty Betty or a Primark's finest. I cannot stress this enough - it does not matter! As long as you can move freely and most importantly feel comfortable in what you are wearing that's all that matters. Yoga is traditionally practised barefoot so remember to take your socks off.
2. Say hello to the teacher. As a yoga instructor I always appreciate it when a new student comes and says hi, introducing themselves. If it is a huge gym class then the instructor might not be aware if you are new especially if you hide yourself in the back row. So don't be shy - they would rather know! That way they can give you a quick run down of what to expect in the class and check if you have any previous or existing injuries they need to know about.
3. Don't hide at the back of the room. I totally understand if you don't feel comfortable enough to be in the front row in your first yoga class but do place your mat fairly close to the front. The second row is ideal if you are new. That way you are close enough to the instructor for seeing any demonstrations but you can also see the people in front of you if you aren't sure what a particular pose is. Gym classes can be huge which makes it difficult to see. I highly recommend perhaps seeking a smaller class size, locally run classes or one to ones can be perfect for beginners so have a look around.
4. You don't need to bring your own mat. Most gyms and studios will provide you with a mat and props so don't worry about investing in your own. If you aren't sure double check with the gym or the yoga instructor before you attend - they are always more than happy to help!
5. Get there early. Getting to class about 10 minutes early is ideal. It gives you chance to find a space, speak to the instructor and settle in. You won't miss any specific instructions the teacher might give at the beginning of class and it gives you a little time to de-stress. As an instructor one of my pet peeves is people being late to class, especially if they are new, it can be hugely disruptive to the other students. I totally understand that sometimes there is traffic but do try to get to the class on time!
6. Turn your phone off! There is nothing more disruptive or embarrassing as a phone going off in the middle of class. Be mindful of the other students around you sharing the space and the energy.
7. You don't have to do everything. The beauty of yoga is that everyone can do it and the foundation of yoga is the breath so that's where we begin. If you can breath you can do yoga! Feel free throughout the class to drop into a child's pose at any time and just bring your attention back to the breath, no one will judge you - trust me, people do it all the time! The instructor will also offer modifications for all levels as they give options for different poses. If you are beginner it is more than fine just to stay at the first stage. Remember to be kind to yourself and don't let your ego get in the way!
FYI My Devon retreat is almost full - get in touch if you'd like to come! I'd love to welcome you there.
I am looking at putting together an Autumn yoga retreat - please take a moment to respond to this questionnaire as I would love your input!