Before The Class:
How Shall I Dress?
It’s best to wear loose clothing that stretches easily and is breathable, such as shorts, sweat clothes, or leotards. Yoga is traditionally practiced barefoot.
Timing with Food
It is also best to practice Yoga on an empty stomach or about one or two hours after a full meal. Empty your stomach, clean your nostril and throat, and consume a glass of warm water 15 minutes before you start. You may eat fruit, energy bar, drink a glass of juice or water an hour before class to avoid getting really hungry during practice.
What Should I Bring to Class?
You may want water and a towel if the studio doesn’t provide them. You may also bring your own mat and other props if you do not want to use other’s equipment.
Also attitude is a very important – a big heart and a small ego – usually provides the greatest satisfaction for a beginning student.
Choosing A Class:
Look for some key words: Level 1, Beginners, etc. If still uncertain e-mail or call the studio to find out more information so you can make the best informed decision about where to start.
At the Class:
Be sure to arrive early enough to store your valuables (be sure to turn off your cell phone), pay and check in. Be sure to let the teacher know this is your first time to a yoga class and any injuries or recent surgeries you have had.
Setting up your Space
In a typical yoga class, the students place their mats perpendicular to the front of the room. You should be able to tell where this is based on a single mat going the opposite direction, usually the teachers. It’s best to leave some space between your mat and your neighbors.
If you notice the majority of students have a certain prop (block, strap, etc.) you may wish to grab these as well to have just in case.
Often students start in a crossed legged position. If sitting this way is challenging for you grab some blankets and sit on top of them to elevate yourself and accommodate tight leg muscles.
Depending on the teacher, there may also be a focus on the breath, called pranayama. An “om” may be chanted three times to start the class and possibly followed by a quiet moment of meditation.
Usually the bulk of the class is then composed of various postures called asanas. At any time you need to rest take balasana (child’s pose). From all fours bring your toes together and keep the knees apart as you release your bum to your heels.
Ask the teacher if you need help or are feeling any sharp, stingy pain.
At the end students are invited to lay on their backs and do the final relaxation, shavasana. Sometimes the teacher will go around to each student during shavasana and them the a little massage or adjustment. You may also request or grab an eye bag to put over your eyes for this final rest.
Often teachers will end with another round of oms and possible a short meditation.
Be sure to drink plenty of water and hydrate. Taking a little walk to release the lactic acid buildup from using your muscles is also a potential idea.
It is likely you will be a little sore, caused by lactic acid, a day or two after if you tend to get ‘delayed muscle soreness.’
Want to Know Even More…
Like what is om? What does hatha mean? Is yoga a religion? Check out this article from Yoga Journal. http://www.yogajournal.com/basics/820