How to Prepare For the First Yoga Session
Preparing for your first yoga session isn’t as difficult or intimidating as you may think. Here are a few pieces of equipment, session etiquette, and some other basic information that will help get you started.
Since it is your first class, you don’t want to invest in a lot of equipment just yet. Take the guesswork out by contacting your instructor to find out exactly what you need for your first session and beyond. It is also a good time to find out what equipment, if any, the studio provides. You will definitely need a yoga mat for your session, but if the studio doesn’t have yoga mats for their classes, see if you can borrow one from a friend. You can always buy your own later on if you decide to continue beyond the first session.
You do not need expensive clothing for yoga. Just make sure that your outfit is comfortable, ensure the fabric is breathable and that it allows your body to easily bend and pose. Additionally, the outfit should fit close to your body so that the instructor can see and correct any mistakes in your form. Yoga is usually performed in bare feet however carry something to wear on your feet, like socks, if they get cold. If you normally sweat a lot, it may also be a good idea to bring a small towel to help keep wipe away the sweat away during your session. You will feel less self-conscious if you don’t have sweat pouring from your forehead to your mat, especially if you are already a little nervous about your first class.
It is really not a good idea to eat a heavy meal directly before any workout session, and this advice is no different with yoga. You do need some nutrition, of course, but eat earlier and lighter before a session. There is a lot of moving into positions and bending at the waist in yoga. Doing these movements on a full stomach is extremely uncomfortable. More importantly, however, listen to your own body and what works for you. Whether you eat or not, keeping yourself well-hydrated throughout the day is very important for everyone. It is a good idea to bring water with you to your session as well, although some instructors may not allow you to drink during the session. Check with each instructor beforehand to see what etiquette they prefer for their class.
Always arrive a little early for any yoga session, but especially for your first.
This gives you ample time to meet your instructor, put away anything you are not using during your class, claim your floor space and roll out your mat. The last thing you want to do in this, or any other session, is disrupt your classmates. The same goes for leaving early. If you do need to leave early for any reason, situate yourself near an exit door. Pick a time when the class is moving into a position, rather than when they are holding it, and leave as quietly as possible.
It is very important to always be in tune with your body. Specifically, have a clear understanding of when it is okay to push yourself versus when you should just take it easy. Remember to consult with your physician before beginning any exercise class too, especially if you have had any recent injuries, illnesses, or physical conditions that may affect your ability to participate. If you do have some limitations due to a previous injury, and your physician has given their approval for you to do yoga, it is still a good idea to let your instructor know. This shows respect for your instructor, and helps him or her to know when you need modifications of certain poses.
When the class is over, this is not a signal to begin chatting or speaking loudly. Don’t forget that yoga is not just a workout; it is also a calming experience; whatever your personal beliefs about meditation remember to respect your fellow classmates by quietly clearing up your things before leaving.
If payment is not done through a registration process, but rather on a class by class basis, make sure to sort it out before the beginning of your session.
You may also find it very helpful to familiarize yourself with a glossary of yoga terms and positions before attending your first class. It is likely that the studio can provide this for you. Having a good understanding of the common terminology and poses can also make your first session feel a little less strange.
There are a few common sense etiquette guidelines to follow.
Avoid wearing perfumes or scented deodorants. Strong smells are over-whelming when working out. Additionally, some of your fellow classmates, or even your instructor, may have a sensitivity or allergy to certain perfumes. If you worry about body odor, shower before coming to class and use an unscented deodorant.
Take off your shoes before entering the class. Most studios have a locker or cubby for shoes, bags and other personal items not used during class.
Turn off your cell phone and do not answer it during class. Yoga is not just about the workout, it is also about the ambience. A cell phone interruption of any kind during yoga is unsettling and won’t be appreciated by anyone at the session, least of all your instructor.
Go to the restroom before the class begins. Enough said.
If time allows, meet the instructor before class. You may also want make him or her aware that it is your first time, and that you may need more focused attention on your form.
Do not leave in the middle of a session unless it is an emergency. There is nothing more disruptive for your fellow yoga students.