So you’ve decided to enroll in a yoga class. Great! Signing up for a yoga class is a big first step toward achieving harmony of the mind, body and spirit. Enrolling in a yoga class is the perfect way to relieve your mind and body of stress and relax, as well as connect with other people who share your new-found enthusiasm.
But beginning students such as yourself must take that eagerness to begin and take it down a notch while you prepare yourself for the class experience. Most yoga classes have established a rhythm and pattern, as well as a set of rules, designed to let the participants get the most out of the experience. Before your begin your first yoga class, take a few moments to read some of these suggestions designed to help you enjoy your yoga experience from the first class into the future.
For starters, try not to eat for at least two hours prior to the class. Eating before attending a yoga class can results in discomfort, cramps, nauseous feeling, even vomiting when performing the bends, twists and inverted poses that are commonly associated with yoga. In addition, the energy your body needs to digest food can take away from the energy you’ll need to perform yoga.
Try to get to your class no less than 10 minutes before it is scheduled to begin so you can get settled in and find a suitable spot. Rushing into class just as it starts can make it difficult to settle in, even for the entire duration of the class. By getting to the class well before it beings, you can take the time to warm up with some light stretching, meet a few of your other classmates or simply relax and get into a peaceful state of mind.
Along with arriving early, don’t leave early. Unless it’s an emergency, remain in the class until it is finished to avoid disturbing others.
Come to the class with a goal in mind. Is it to stretch your tired muscles and become more supple and flexible? Do you want to attend a yoga class to clear your mind of the stress that comes from work and home life? Whatever the reason you have decided to enroll in a yoga class, focus on that during your workout to create the proper mindset to address the problem.
Leave the cellphones at home. People have become so used to having their phones and pagers with them at all times that they sometimes feel that they can’t be without them. But a phone can be a distraction in many places, especially in a yoga studio where even a “quiet” conversation can be a distraction. Even though you think you’re being quiet and discreet, you’re probably not. In short, leave the phone at home or at least turn it off.
On a related note, keep your conversations with other members of the class to a minimum, or better yet, have them it before or after class. Sure, mastering that new move may be an exciting moment, but other people are trying to master it as well and may have trouble concentrating is you’re congratulating yourself loudly or trying to discuss it with the person next to you.
Have all of your class materials – yoga mat, water bottle, towel, etc. – handy when you get to class. By having everything you need near you during the class, you can avoid being a distraction by walking back and forth for water, your towel on the other side of the room, etc. It isn’t fair to not let others reap the benefits they are seeking from yoga by disturbing them. And when you’re finished with your session, collect all of your belongings and take them with you. Another yoga class may need the space after your class is done.
If you have an injury or special physical restrictions, tell you instructor before the class begins. He or she can suggest poses or motions that are suited to your condition and can tell you of poses that you should not do and suggest an alternate version.
While you may be excited to be in your first yoga class, don’t go overboard. Only do poses that you can do without hurting or straining yourself. Listen to your body and only go as far as it will let you. As you progress in the class, you will be able to do more intricate and complicated moves. But until you reach that point, take it easy.
Finally, allow yourself to fully experience the yoga class. Because of its ability to bring the mind and the body into one, it can be like no other activity in which you have participated. Let yourself be open to the lessons of yoga, from the very first class onward, and you might be amazed at the possibilities the present themselves.