In the UK, “yoga” was one of Google’s most searched-for words in 2016. Today there’s still a growing popularity surrounding yoga and its many health benefits.
Of course, fear of the unknown causes many people to pause before attending a class.
If you’re brand new to the world of the yogi, you probably have a lot of questions. Knowing what to expect before your first yoga class can help you prepare mentally and physically. Once you feel more comfortable, you can bring it all into balance before attending your first class.
Prepare before you pose! Keep reading to learn everything you need to know as a first-time yoga student.
What to Wear For Yoga
Up to 460,000 Brits are participating in yoga classes each week. They attend in mix-matched shoes, pants, and tops, depending on their comfort.
Deciding what to wear to yoga depends on you. Of course, you don’t want to attend dressed in your favorite party gown. Here are a few tips so you can dress for yoga success:
Yoga exercises are traditionally completed barefoot. In some cases you might notice yoga students with special socks or shoes. These are usually worn to protect an injury or due to a medical condition.
Some people don’t feel comfortable taking their shoes off around strangers.
That’s okay! Consider grabbing yoga socks before your first class. These special socks feature non-slip grips at the bottom.
The grips will cling to the mat, preventing your feet from slipping around.
Before your first yoga class, try practicing a few beginner’s poses on a mat. See if you’re comfortable barefoot. If you feel like you’re slipping around, consider grabbing a pair of yoga socks before your first official yoga lesson.
There are many styles of yoga pants you can try, but you don’t necessarily need to purchase a pair just to attend yoga classes. Instead, grab a pair of your favorite exercise pants, leggings, or shorts.
Avoid pants that don’t stretch. Denim jeans and other stiff fabrics can make the exercises difficult to complete.
After your first class, assess your comfort while performing the various exercises. You might need to choose pants that are shorter, longer, or looser before your next class. If your pants were falling down each time you stretched, grab a pair of yoga pants with a good waistline.
There are plenty of stores, including Walmart and Target, that sell athletic apparel.
Or you can visit a specialty retailer like LuLuLemon to find what you’re looking for. Remember, your comfort comes first!
Instead of loose-fitting or baggy workout shirts, look for a fitted top. Otherwise, bulky shirts will slide toward your shoulders every time you bend over.
Spoiler alert: you’re going to bend a lot.
Consider grabbing a sleeveless top, which allows more freedom as you move your arms and shoulders.
Wear a sports bra or whatever bra you prefer for workouts underneath.
What to Bring
Today there are over 4,659 yoga and pilates studios in the UK. Together they generated £858 million in 2018. So what do you bring with you as a first-time yoga student?
Really, the only things you need to bring as a first-time yogi are your body and positivity. For some people, stretching the body in new ways for the first time feels challenging. That’s why it’s important to maintain an open mind during the beginning of your to yoga nirvana.
Here are a few items to consider bringing to your first tip to the yoga studio.
Most yoga studios don’t expect first-time students to have a yoga mat with them. Instead, they might let you borrow a mat, or lend one out for a few dollars.
Once you continue going to class, however, you might want to grab your own mat. With your own, you can also exercise and practice at home between classes.
There are plenty of low-cost mats available at local retailers.
If you’re serious about becoming a yogi, however, a high-quality mat is a great investment.
Look for a mat that promises long-term durability. Otherwise you’ll end up buying another one within a few months.
You’ll also want a mat that offers good-traction. If you’re worried about putting too much pressure on your hands, knees, or feet, consider purchasing a thicker mat, too.
Attending your first class will help you get a better idea of what you need in a mat.
It’s important to remain hydrated. Feel free to bring a bottle of water with you to class. If you’re attending hot yoga for the first time, you’ll definitely want a refreshing drink of water to cool down.
Some of us sweat more than others. Consider bringing a towel with you to keep the sweat out of your eyes. You can also use a towel to clean off your mat (especially if you’re renting one).
As you develop your skills as a yogi, you might decide to add props to your exercise routine. Some studios will provide these for you, including blankets, blocks, and straps. In time, you might want to buy your own so you can continue practicing at home.
How to Prepare
Now that you’re geared up, let’s talk about preparing to pose!
These tips can help you head in with clear expectations for beginners.
Consider visiting the yoga studio 10 or 15 minutes before your class starts on your first day. This is a good chance to introduce yourself to the yoga teacher (a respectful way to introduce yourself is to say “namaste”), ask any questions, and discover the environment.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare beforehand:
Know the Pose
The first time you attend a yoga class, the poses can appear difficult, if not bizarre. Thankfully, there are many common poses for beginners (e.g. corpse pose, child’s pose, etc.) that you can research online.
Don’t worry. You don’t have to attempt these poses before class starts if you don’t want to. For now, try learning which poses match which names.
This can prepare you to move into the right position when the instructor cues the next pose.
Avoid Heavy Eating
When we move around a lot, our stomach contents move around too. If your stomach is full, you might start to feel sick during your first class.
To avoid this, make sure not to eat a heavy meal before your first yoga session. Instead, eat a light snack, such as peanut butter and apple, so your body has the energy it needs.
If you decide to head to class early, introduce yourself to the instructor and let them know you’re new. They’ll know to step in and help during class if they find you’re struggling with the new positions.
Arriving to class early also gives you the opportunity to stretch out while everyone arrives. You can use a few simple exercises you already know to warm up. Or you can ask the instructor if they have any suggestions before class officially starts.
What to Expect
During your first yoga class, you’ll move from one pose to the next. Some sessions will focus on balance and back ends. Others will prioritize spine-strengthening exercises.
A few poses to research before your yoga class include:
- Warrior one
- Child’s pose
- Warrior two
- Triangle pose
- The chair pose
- Downward facing dog
During class, the teacher will demonstrate each pose before prompting you to follow.
You’ll work muscles with each pose you didn’t even know you had! It can take a little time to get used to stretching the body in new ways.
The teacher might walk around throughout the class and adjust people. Remember to stay positive during your first yoga class. Don’t feel bad if the instructor corrects how your hands or body is positioned. It takes time and help before you can perfect your form.
It’s also important not to judge yourself based on what others are doing. Some students have years of practice under their belt. Like you, they wondered “what will happen during my first yoga class?” With time and practice, you’ll develop the same skill they have.
At the end of class, the teacher will finish the session with corpse pose, or savasana. For this pose, you’ll lie down for about five minutes while focusing on your breathing.
Mindful breathing is an important component of yoga as well. Known as pranayama, mindful breathing can keep you relaxed as you move from one pose to the next.
After savasana, thank your instructor and have that sip of water.
You’re a Yogi-to-Be: What to Expect for Your First Yoga Class
Now that you know what to expect, you’re ready to stretch out and practice yoga like a pro! Your first yoga class might feel challenging at the start, but you’ll get the hang of it. Just take a deep breath and practice your mindful breathing and seated mediation.
Ready for your first class? Check our schedule to find a class near you!