Going to your first yoga class can be extremely intimidating. What do you wear? How early do you show up? What if you can’t touch your toes? What on earth is Namaste?
Although it may seem like there’s a lot to catch up on before you begin your practice, when it comes down to its core, yoga isn’t really all that complicated.
Even if you’re not wearing Lululemons or can’t balance on one foot, there’s still a lot you can get out of yoga class. Studies show that practicing yoga can help reduce stress, treat physical pain, improve sleep habits, and help with overall satisfaction of life.
Feeling prepared is a surefire way to help you relax during your practice, but even getting your foot in the door will help benefit your life in various ways.
To help you feel more comfortable on your first day yoga, I’ve consulted Los-Angeles based yoga teacher, Sarah Ezrin, who helped share her top tips for surviving your first day of yoga class.
1. Don’t Worry, Be Humble
Don’t expect to be doing crazy twists and bends on your first day. Forget about being flexible and focus on learning the basics.
“Saying you’re not flexible enough to do yoga is like saying you can’t take swim lessons, because you don’t know how to swim,” says Ezrin. “Would you go jump right into an advanced high-diving class? I think not.”
Opt for an introductory class rather than an advanced level your first few times. “You will still get a workout!” she says.
2. Leave The Skinny Jeans And Stilettos At Home
When it comes to yoga attire, no one’s looking for designer brands, but making sure you’re comfortable is key, as you’ll be moving around a lot and undoubtedly will get warm.
“Yoga is a shoe-free zone and it is best to come in moveable clothing,” says Ezrin. “Wear a fitted top, so it is not falling over your head when you are upside down.”
3. Bring A Proper Mat
Unlike many other workout classes, a special mat is always required for yoga practice. “The studios will have mats for rent,” says Ezrin. “If you bring your own make sure it is an actual yoga mat and not a foam exercise mat, as those slip and don’t have great traction.”
4. No Phones Allowed
Yoga is just as much about the mind as it is the body, so leaving the rest of the world behind is crucial when you’re practicing. “For some people this is harder than sticking your leg behind your head, but yoga is one of the last sanctuaries where you get to fully disconnect,” says Ezrin.
“We unplug so we are that much fresher and clearer when we reconnect.”
5. Secure Prime Real Estate
Ezrin suggests placing your mat toward the back center of the room so you can follow other students while still hearing and seeing the teacher.
“Yoga is like learning a language and it takes practice and strategic listening to be able to understand everything the teacher is saying,” she says. “It is helpful to follow along visually your first class, while simultaneously honing your listening skills.”
6. Take A Timeout
If during class you feel like your body needs a break, take it. Yoga is all about honoring your body, and if it says slow down, go ahead and pause what you’re doing. “Breaks are important and recommended, however try to stay in the room and do a quieting posture rather than leaving to check Instagram,” says Ezrin.
“Child’s pose’ is a great option if you become overwhelmed or tired.” To do this, lower onto your shins and sink your hips back toward your heels, laying your torso over the thighs. You can rest your head on a yoga block or the floor.
7. Save Room For Dessert
At the end of every yoga class, you’ll lay down on the ground with your eyes closed for the the last pose known as “savasana.” It may be seemingly simple, but it is the most important part of class, according to Ezrin.
“Leaving before or during savasana is like jumping off the treadmill after sprinting,” she says. “You need to slow down to cool down. Besides, how often do you get to just lie there and do nothing? Enjoy it!”
8. Keep Coming Back
Whether you can picture it or not, eventually you will see yourself getting better at poses. Every time you practice, your body gets more familiar with what you’re doing, so in turn you become more zen.
To keep this up, you should attend yoga class somewhat frequently. “While something is better than nothing, a once-yearly yoga class is not going to have the impact that once a week will have,” says Ezrin. “Make the time for yourself and do it. You are worth it!”