Yoga classes come in all shapes and forms. Heated rooms, outdoor practice, spiritual guidance, and partner-acro are some of the many variations of yoga you can choose from. For a beginner, though, it’s best to stick to basic asanas, or poses, before moving into a more intermediate yoga practice.
A great tip for a beginner is to attend a yoga class before practicing at home on your own. While there is a large library of yoga tutorials online, a human touch for alignment and leadership is important when starting out.
Yoga practices are used for healing injuries, opening your pelvic floor, and keeping you flexible. Yoga is also a great meditative practice to use for stress relief.
Not only does it promote relaxation, but research has found that yoga is good for your heart health, immunity, and mental awareness.
Since April is Stress Awareness Month, we want to encourage you to try some yoga to reduce your stress and improve your overall wellbeing, and we’re here to tell you a few things you should know before entering your first yoga class.
Here are six things nobody will tell you before you try yoga for the first time.
1You won’t nail every pose on the first try (or even the second)
Okay, let’s face it, yoga is hard! This isn’t an easy way to exercise, no matter how easy people make it seem. Headstands, lotus tripods, head to foot poses, and yoga sleep pose are not going to be achieved overnight. Let’s save those poses for the Instagram gurus.
Yoga takes practice, and remember that it can be done anywhere. If there’s a pose you really want to nail down, such as tree pose, downward facing dog, chair pose, or boat pose, you can practice it while watching TV or waiting for your water to boil.
Also remember that when you’re in class with other students, not everyone is a beginner, so don’t ever feel bad if you can’t do what everybody else is doing. They all started from the beginning, just like you. Embrace one another’s energy, but don’t go hardcore and try to achieve every pose initially, especially on your first day.
2Child’s pose is your best friend
Sometimes things get a little heated (quite literally if you’re in a hot yoga class). While yoga may appear to be easy as pie, holding a pose for long amounts of time can cause a different sensation that you may not be accustomed to. Remember to breathe. Remember to take your time.
Child’s pose is always there if you need it. It’s a good place to take a sip of water, close your eyes, and relax a little. This is a resting posture that restores your vitality, both physically and mentally. Even advanced yogis revert to this pose from time to time. Don’t push your body too far beyond its limits when you’re just getting started.
3You will lose your balance and fall—more than once
Remember when we said you won’t nail every pose? Yeah, well, you’re also going to fall a little bit in your yoga classes. This is especially true if you’re a beginner. Don’t get frustrated. Don’t compare yourselves to others in the class. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about! There are always modification poses (thank goodness), so if you can’t handle the third variation of tree pose, try resting your foot near your ankle and try again next time.
4It’s normal to feel uncomfortable or a little weird
Whether this means with the type of class or the pose, being uncomfortable may occur once or twice during your practice at the beginning. The discomfort you experience in yoga asanas is very common, especially if you’re not that flexible yet or not very familiar with the poses. Some poses may feel natural, while others are more challenging. Again, yoga isn’t easy. The after effects of yoga are what keeps students coming back for more.
Finally, there are so many types of yoga to choose from, whether it’s vinyasa flow or hot yoga or Yin. Instructors also vary from class to class. Don’t give up after your first session, and remember to play around with sequences and styles.
5Props will make your life way easier
Hear us loud and clear when we say: Props are not for losers. Blocks, straps, blankets, and bolsters were created to enhance your practice and help you improve, so you should never feel bad for stocking up on them when you’re setting up your mat. These will especially come in handy if you’re new to yoga and aren’t very flexible. Use these tools to get yourself deeper into each posture.
5It will all be a little easier if you just embrace it
Some instructors may chant more than others, use written text, crank up the music, or turn the lights off. Regardless of what happens around you, embrace your new yoga practice, because the more you resist, the harder it will be to enjoy it. Who knows, you may end up falling in love with that wacky class you used to swear off!
Let your yoga class become your meditative time, away from the stress of everyday life and the worries that consume you. Schedule in a little time for yourself to cultivate mindfulness and focus on the most important relationship of all—you and your body.