If you are thinking of attending a yoga class for the first time, the prospect can be pretty overwhelming for beginners. While it may seem like you need to be an advanced yogi to attend a class, that’s far from the truth. Yoga is one of the most accessible practices, and many people turn to yoga for both its mental and physical health benefits. Today we’re going to share everything an absolute beginner needs to know before trying yoga for the first time.
What is Yoga?
While many people in the Western world consider yoga just to be a form of exercise, it’s, in fact, a combination of asanas (postures) and breathing techniques, which work together to form a physical, mental, and spiritual practice. While there are different types of yoga that all offer slightly different classes and elements, they ultimately all aim to work towards enlightenment. Most people today go to their first yoga class for either physical or mental exercise. Whether you feel you need to add more stretching into your current workout routine or are just looking for a low-impact class as you haven’t worked out for a while, yoga will be perfect for you.
Is Yoga Suitable for Beginners?
Compared to many other types of exercise, we believe yoga is one of the most accessible forms of exercise in the world. It’s a low-impact workout that works to build strength and flexibility. A qualified yoga instructor should be confident teaching classes that are suitable for all levels and will be able to show you the appropriate modifications for your ability and body.
While some yoga studios can seem very intimidating to beginners, you are bound to find a welcoming and calming environment in your local area you enjoy attending with a little searching. Remember, everyone in your class was a beginner once, and yogis are generally non-judgmental as encouraged by the practice. One common misunderstanding about yoga is that it’s a very easy form of exercise, but don’t be surprised if you wake up the next morning with aching muscles. While it may feel like not much is happening while you are holding postures, yoga is doing a lot to benefit your body during the class.
What Style of Yoga Should I Try First?
If you’ve found a local yoga studio, you might find the choice of classes available to be quite overwhelming. For your very first class, we recommend finding a class that’s labeled gentle or beginners, which will be most suitable for those who haven’t worked out for a while or are unfamiliar with the physical postures. If you are pretty fit or have just had a long break from yoga, you’ll probably be okay trying a vinyasa flow class.
For absolute beginners, we recommend avoiding Bikram or hot yoga, and you’ll also find the Ashtanga series very challenging. Of course, these are something you can work up to in the future. That’s one of the great things about yoga – there’s always something new to try. If your main reason for trying yoga is relaxation, consider a restorative yoga class or a yin yoga class, where you’ll hold postures for multiple minutes at a time. However, don’t be deceived by the names of more relaxing classes, as they can still be very mentally and physically challenging when you are required to hold a posture for five or more minutes.
What Should I Wear to My First Yoga Class?
For yoga, the main clothing requirement is something that is comfortable to move in. You want to avoid wearing anything that may restrict your movement, especially around the hips and shoulders. Don’t feel pressured to buy expensive yoga leggings or gear for your first class, as you can just use something you have in your home. You’ll generally wear bare feet for your practice, and you may want to bring an additional layer for when you cool down in savasana at the end of class.
What Do I Need to Bring to My First Class?
Most studios offer yoga mat rental, so we’d suggest using this service until you know you will commit to the practice. After you’ve attended a few classes, consider buying your own mat, which will help you to keep up a regular practice at home. In your class, you may find that you are encouraged to use various props and accessories. We recommend using blocks and straps when you are a beginner, which can help you to access postures that may otherwise seem very challenging. Don’t worry about purchasing these to begin with, as a good studio will provide everything you need. While some people prefer not to drink during a class, we recommend always bringing water to enjoy after you’ve finished your yoga class.
Yoga is one of the most beneficial practices you could add to your life if you are looking to cultivate a healthier lifestyle. If you enjoy your first yoga class, we recommend committing to a regular schedule to help further your practice. You’ll find the mental and physical benefits of the practice to be life-changing, but remember, everyone has to start somewhere, so treat your body with kindness and patience during your first class. Leave your worries at the door when you head to your initial yoga class, as yoga is meant to be a relaxing experience for your mind and body.