10 Tips for Going to Your First Yoga Class
By Daniel Sernicola
Going to a yoga class for the first time doesn’t need to be an intimidating experience. With some preparation and these key tips, you’ll let go of fears and set yourself up for success as you navigate your way into any yoga studio.
Wear comfortable clothing like you'd wear to the gym.
Most yoga classes involve some degree of movement. Wear comfortable clothing that won’t restrict your ability to move freely. Shorts, sweatpants, t-shirt, and tank top are all appropriate.
Be prepared to be barefooted (though you may wear socks if you'd like).
When you arrive at the yoga studio, be prepared to leave your shoes – and socks in the lobby. Yoga is typically practiced without socks because our feet tend to grip yoga mats better bare than when in socks. Socks can encourage slipping and even lead to injury.
Bring a bottle of water to stay hydrated.
You're allowed to drink water during a yoga class! Just be sure to keep the bottle close to your mat so no one trips over it! Breakable bottles are discouraged. Sustainable bottles are highly encouraged!
Come early so you're not rushed.
Always arrive a little early to your class. This gives you time to let go of anything that happened prior to your arrival. It also gives you time to get checked in, use the restroom, and find the perfect spot for your mat.
Bring a mat to class.
Yes! Bring your own mat to class. Many studios have mats you can rent or borrow. Mats at studios are cleaned after each use (we hope!). However, it’s assumed that no one is cleaning the mat as well as you’d clean it for your own use! If you don’t have a yoga mat, you can easily purchase an inexpensive one at Target.
Remember why you're coming.
Maybe your doctor suggested trying yoga or maybe you’re working to become more flexible. Whatever the reason, know why you’re coming. This can help be a motivator on the days you don’t want to climb out of bed to hit up an early morning class.
Let go of expectations and have fun.
The more you let go of expectations in a yoga class, the more likely you are to have fun and benefit from the practice. It’s tempting to see the yoga superstar in the front row and try to emulate their practice, but remember, it’s not a competition! Our bodies are all different and what feels or looks good for someone else may not resonate with your body. Yoga isn’t necessarily about how poses look; it’s about how the poses feel in the body.
Eat after class and not before.
Doing a forward fold with a belly full of food or drink does not feel good. (Trust me on this one!) You’re encouraged to bring a protein or snack bar to nosh after your class or on the ride to your next destination.
You can leave class to use the restroom.
No one is going to judge you if the spinal twist you just did loosened up the bowels! You’re allowed to leave the room to head for the restroom. (In fact, it's encouraged!) Yoga teachers see this all the time and it’s far less embarrassing and noticeable than you think. Just be sure to come back to class!
Be patient and keep going to classes.
Yoga works best as a consistent practice. Some results are seen immediately. Other results take time to show up in your life. At times, you may not notice the full effects of your yoga practice until you stop going to classes. While we don’t encourage you to stop, we do encourage you to be patient and know that not everything happens at once.