I love teaching beginners – the greener, the better – because I love seeing the joy that can be experienced after:
a) realising that they can do yoga
b) realising how good they feel after practising!
It’s quite easy to spot a first timer when they enter the class. They are often more timid looking, peeking around, unsure what to do with their shoes, mats, bags and bodies. As much as I try to put people at ease by providing details of what to expect prior to class and hopefully creating an inviting environment when they arrive, it can still be a nervous experience walking into the unknown. Maybe the following “tips” will help ease some anxiety when you are coming in for your very first Yoga class.
Tip #1 – No shoes, no problem!
Yoga gets practised barefoot for the most part, but if you have any foot issues or injury that doesn’t allow for that, it’s OK! Just let your teacher know so they don’t keep repeating “Yoga is usually practised barefoot” at the beginning of the class (been there, done that). Also, don’t worry; we don’t look at your feet while you practice so pedicures aren’t necessary :)
Tip #2 – You don’t have to be a psychic.
Yoga mats sometimes get set up with the short end into a wall, sometimes in rows, sometimes in a circle….you aren’t expected to know this before you enter the room. The teacher should always let you know how they would like mats to be set up based on what they have planned for the class that day, and if they forget to let you know, just ask.
Tip #3 – Read the Room.
Your Best Yoga is a pretty casual program, so I’m happy to have people chatting away prior to class and will often join in. Some studios, however, have a strict “no talking” policy in the yoga room, so it’s sometimes helpful to gauge this when you go in. Usually if there is a policy, there will be a sign on the door or you will notice that the room is dimly lit and people are laying in savasana already, so keep any chit chat (including whisper conversations) out of the room in those cases.
Pretty much ALL yoga classes have a “please don’t have a conversation during the practice” policy that is unwritten, and out of respect for the other students and the teacher that is trying to focus, it’s best to keep your conversations to before and after class only. I am known to make a few jokes during classes though – so please feel free to laugh out loud for those :)
Tip #4 – Savasana is coming.
You will end up laying in savasana at the end of class for anywhere from 3-10 minutes (in my classes it’s usually 5-7 mins). This may be the most challenging part of the class for you – seriously! Do your best to stay in the moment and resist the urge to move around a lot, sit up, reach for your phone etc. as it can be distracting for others. At Your Best Yoga I let everyone know when it’s time to move back to a seated position – so you don’t have to worry about thinking of how much time has passed. In other classes the teacher will announce that you can stay in savasana as long as you like and leave the room quietly when you’re ready.
Tip #5 – The other students aren’t paying attention to you.
Yoga is an individual practice that requires a good amount of focus. Other people aren’t going to be concerned with what you’re doing or whether it looks like what they are doing or not (unless you’re having a conversation in the middle of class – see tip #3). The only thing you have to focus on is yourself and your body and breath – which is what everyone else is going to be doing as well.
Maybe I'll see you for YOUR first class ever this Fall! Check out the Your Best Yoga page for details on Fall classes that start September 7th!