Taking Your First Yoga Class? Here's How To Prepare

Your first yoga class should be a relaxing, invigorating and inspiring experience. To help make sure you’re ready, here’s what you should do before entering the studio:

1: Get hydrated: drink 1 to 2 liters of water an hour and a half before your class. It takes an hour and a half to digest water so this will help you to be fully hydrated for class. It’s also recommended to have an empty stomach for class, as a belly sloshing full of water can make some postures uncomfortable. Make sure whatever you eat has time to digest first.

2: Put on comfortable clothes: wear clothing you can move and breathe in. Sweat pants are too heavy. I suggest these three tests for potential yoga clothing: squat to see if your hips are constricted, raise your arms to see if your shoulders are hindered, and bend forward to see if your shirt falls over your head. If any of this happens, you should choose a different article of clothing.

3: Prepare your props: most studios have props you might need for your class like blocks, straps, bolsters etc., but check beforehand. If you do not own a mat, ask if the studio has any available to use and whether or not there is a rental fee. It’s always good to try out a mat first before setting out to purchase one. This way you’ll know where to look for.

4: Show up on time: always show up to your class 10 minutes early. Showing up late is a disruption to the class and instructor. Also, depending on how late you are, the instructor may not allow you to attend class. Being on time also allows you to find parking with plenty of time and to speak to the instructor prior to class, or just take a few moments to relax and meditate. It’s always good to tell the instructor if you have any injuries or medical conditions. This way your instructor can make sure the class you are about to take is appropriate and keep you safe during class by modifying postures for you if needed.

5: Remember that the yoga studio is not a gym: yoga studios are a sacred space. You must enter the space being mindful of it and those present. Cell phones should be turned off, so finish phone conversations outside first. No shoes are allowed in the yoga room. Be sure to clean your feet before entering the room because we lay on the floor in many postures and want to keep dirt off it much as possible.

6: Prepare to commit to the practice: once you begin class, you must commit yourself to follow through. Attending 45 minutes of an hour long class is a common practice in gyms, but not a yoga studio. If you need to rest, take a break in child’s pose and then get back into the flow.

7: Relax: everyone in class is working on their own practice. No one is going to be watching you or judging you. So just relax and see where the class takes you. You might surprise yourself. Remember, just because an instructor tells you to touch your toes doesn’t mean you have to do it that day. Yoga is a journey, not a destination.

Namasté, Tara