Many people step into their first yoga class not knowing what to expect.
There are so many styles to choose from. Part of an individual’s yoga journey is
finding the right style.
Also, there any number of challenges that we can walk in with:
- Injury / Surgery
- Excessive tightness from running, cycling, etc.
- Emotional issues related to grief, illness or trauma
- Recovery from substances or food issues
It’s important to understand that yoga should be a safe place and that there is no expectation or pressure on how well you can get into a pose or what garment you wear. Just make sure YOU feel comfortable in them!
Some practical things you can do to help make your yoga experience a positive one:
- A blanket – makes for an excellent prop that can be used as an aid to get into certain poses, for sitting comfortably, and to cover up with during the final rest period (typically, the Mexican style blanks or a thin wool type are best). Blocks and straps can be used as well to help students to get into certain poses. Even keeping a chair close to your mat can help in getting up and down. These things will all be learned as you continue coming to class. Always approach the teacher before class if you have any specific concerns.The teacher will do their best to suggest alternatives.
- Try to avoid large meals 2 hours before class (trust me on this!) A few pre-class snacks suggestions: apple, energy bar, banana, peanut butter, avocado, raisins, walnuts, almonds, cashews… (skip the processed peanut butter with added oils and salt/sugar). Also, drinking water 30 minutes prior to the start of class. It gives your body time to absorb the H2O. As much as possible, try to avoid heavy or processed food!!!
- Clothes that are very comfortable to the skin and have enough room or stretch work best. I find an all cotton t-shirt is best for breathability.
Yoga is a time for us to experience something beyond our everyday lives of tasks, meetings and deadlines. We practice mindful as to how we enter the space. Friendliness towards each other is encouraged but many are there to experience serenity and reflection. Being mindful about our noise volume is appreciated. A softer entry is best in order to foster a sense of calm and peace. Oh…and it’s not a bad idea to put the cell phone into the OFF position.
But, it’s not library! Getting to know each other through conversation is before class is a wonderful part of the yoga experience. It’s a chance to perhaps make a connection with someone you haven’t met…that stranger might be you! 🙂
On any given day…based on the weather or preceding events…we are where we are, emotionally. So, practicing mindfulness and compassion towards ourselves and our yoga neighbors is part of being in a yoga community. In yoga, we don’t strive for maximum output or push beyond our limits. We bring effort to or asanas, or poses and avoid struggle.
Finally, there is no competition, judgement or criticism in the practice of yoga. Adjustments and individual direction are sometimes part of the process, but only as a way to ensure safe alignment or to assist a student in getting into a pose.
We are all in this together!