For most of us who have never tried yoga before, the thought of stepping in to the studio for the first time can fill us with trepidation and terror. What if I'm shit? What if my leggings rip? What if I FART?
If you've been putting off getting yourself to class because you're worried or anxious for any reason, then I'm here to tell you none of those scenarios will actually happen and it'll be far less scary than you think! That is of course, unless you get a little too relaxed in an inversion...
Don't forget that the teacher is just a normal person attempting to share a bit of knowledge with you, and everyone else around you is there to do their own thing, not to analyse your Warrior 2. Here are my tips on how to get the most out of your first class and be as comfortable as possible.
1. Pre-class - Avoid eating a heavy meal a couple of hours beforehand otherwise you may feel a little uncomfortable during the practice. Wear comfortable workout clothing - preferably tight over loose so you don't end up tripping over your trouser hems. This will also help the teacher to get a better idea of your posture and alignment.
2. Let the teacher know that you're a beginner and inform them of any health concerns or injuries - They will hopefully do their best to make you feel at ease and demonstrate any modifications you might need for the practice.
3. You may be touched - Most teachers will give physical adjustments as well as verbal cues. Don't see this as a criticism - their intention is purely to guide you into feeling a deeper expression of the pose and getting the most of it. If you aren't into it, politely tell them you'd rather be left alone and they will always respect that.
4. Don't panic if you're finding it hard and don't worry about whether or not you're doing something right - it WILL get easier in time. Yoga is such a subjective experience - everybody is working with their own energy levels, their own strengths and their own limitations, and no two bodies will ever look or feel the same in each pose. Ultimately the practice goes much deeper than anything surface level, so don't overthink it - just enjoy it, go at your own pace, and take rest if you need to. Remember, it's not a competition and there's no pressure to push harder than what your body has the capacity for in that moment.
5. The teacher may end with a few chants of OM and the word Namaste (which translates as "the spirit within me acknowledges and honours the spirit within you" - this is a traditional way of closing the practice but there's no obligation to join in if it doesn't feel authentic to you personally.
Finally - well done. It takes guts to rock up somewhere new in a room full of strangers and try something out for the first time. I would love to hear how you get on - Drop me a note in the comments below and if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!
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