Many people step into their first yoga class not knowing what to expect. There are so many styles to choose from. Part of an individual’s yoga journey is
finding the right style.
People entering a yoga class can have any number of challenges:
- Injury / Surgery
- Excessive tightness from running, cycling, etc.
- Emotional issues related to grief, illness, trauma
***It’s always encouraged to speak privately with the teacher before class about any physical or life challenges…whatever you are comfortable sharing. This will help the teacher to be aware so that they can suggest specific adjustments in order to accommodate you and meet you where you are physically and emotionally.
Some practical things you can do to help make your yoga experience a positive one:
Useful props – a blanket makes for an excellent prop that can be used as an aid to get into certain poses, for sitting comfortably, and to cover up with during the final rest period (typically, the Mexican style blanks or a thin wool type are best). Blocks and straps can be used as well to help students to get into certain poses. Even keeping a chair close to your mat can help in getting up and down. These things will all be learned as you continue coming to class. Always approach the teacher before class if you have any specific concerns. They will do their best to suggest alternatives and options for your specific challenge.
Try to avoid large meals 2 hours before class (trust me on this!). A few pre-class snack suggestions: apple, smoothie, banana, peanut butter, avocado, raisins, walnuts, almonds, cashews…As much as possible, try to avoid heavy or processed food!!! Also, drinking a couple of glasses of water 30-minutes prior to the start of the class gives your body time to absorb the H2O. We do not want our stomachs full as this will reduce your ability to stretch and compress.
Clothes that are comfortable on your skin and have enough room to move and stretch works best. Just make sure YOU feel comfortable in them!
Yoga is a time for us to experience something beyond our everyday lives of tasks, meetings, and deadlines. We practice mindfulness as to how we enter the space. Friendliness towards each other is encouraged but many are there to experience serenity and reflection. Being mindful of our noise volume is appreciated. A softer entry is best in order to foster a sense of calm and peace. Oh…and it’s not a bad idea to put the cell phone into the OFF position.
But, it’s not a library! Getting to know each other through conversation before class is a wonderful part of the yoga experience. It’s a chance to perhaps make a connection with someone you haven’t met…that stranger might be you! 🙂
On any given day, based on the weather, our emotional life or preceding events…we are where we are! So, practicing mindfulness and compassion towards ourselves and our yoga neighbors is part of being in a yoga community. In yoga, we don’t strive for maximum output or push beyond our limits. We bring the effort to our asanas, or poses and avoid struggle.
Finally, there is no competition, judgment, or criticism in the practice of yoga. Adjustments and individual direction are sometimes part of the process, but only as a way to ensure safe alignment or to assist a student in getting into a pose.