How to Survive the First Yoga Class

How to Survive the First Yoga Class
yoga class
Want to try a yoga class for the first time, but afraid of not being able to twist like a pretzel? Never fear. Practiced for more than 3,000 years, yoga can be great for meditation, weight loss, flexibility, strength and stamina. Check your concerns at the door, relax, remember to breathe and you'll be well on your way to your first down dog.

Things You'll Need
  • Yoga strap
  • Yoga mat
  • Yoga block
  • Water
  • Towel
  • Blanket

Getting Ready

1. It's always a good idea to get your doctor's opinion before starting a new kind of exercise, especially if you have any health problems.

2. Pick the style of yoga you want to try. From Hatha to Bikram and back to Kundalini, there are a lot of choices. Ask friends, people at your gym or browse the Internet for information.

3. Find a class. Go to your local gym, check local newspapers, ask a friend or search online to find the class that's right for you. Check out the yoga studio or gym's schedule to see what style of yoga will be taught. If you have any questions about the class, ask at the front desk, then pick a class and sign up for it.

4. Dress comfortably. Wear clothes you can move around in, but are snug enough they don't reveal anything if you end up in an inverted position. Yoga is practiced barefoot, so no need to sweat the footwear. Tie your hair back if you have long hair.

5. Get some gear. Most yoga studios/gyms will have yoga mats, blocks and straps available to use for free (or for a small fee). If you don't want to take the plunge and buy the gear yet, use what the gym offers.

Arriving at the Yoga Studio

1. Get there at least 10 minutes early. This will give you time to get situated and relax.

2. Talk to the instructor before class starts. Let him know it's your first yoga class. Also let him know if you have any orthopedic problems, are pregnant or have any special needs.

3. Turn off your cell phone, pager, PDA--basically, unplug yourself.

4. Take off your shoes. Most will also take off their socks. It might seem strange at first, but it will make your yoga workout more comfortable.

5. Unroll your yoga mat and find a place near the center of the room. Place your mat on the floor. Whether using your own mat or one provided by the studio/gym, find a place that allows at least 2 feet between you and your fellow yogis. Set your yoga block and/or yoga strap nearby.

6. Sit on your mat in a comfortable position and take some deep breaths.

During Yoga Class

1. Watch, listen and be open to the positions and breathing exercises your instructor may lead you through. Some yoga poses may feel strange at first, but stay with it.

2. Pay attention to your body. If some of the poses are too hard, try an easier modification. Yoga isn't about getting the pose perfect on your first try. It's about progressing at your own pace.

3. Focus on your breathing throughout the class. Your instructor will lead you through breathing exercises, which are an important part of yoga.

4. Relax at the end of class. Savasana, or final relaxation, is a time to lie down, close your eyes and clear your mind before heading back into the real world. Some use a small blanket, sweater or jacket to stay warm during final relaxation.