Walking into your very first yoga class can be intimidating. Here are a few tips to ensure you have a positive experience so you'll come back for more!

1. Don’t go to class on an empty or full stomach. Ideally you will have had your last meal at least 3 hours prior to class. If you are hungry, try to have a light snack before class, such as a protein shake, or glass of almond milk and dry nuts. Be sure to avoid saucy, greasy, fried, and spicy food at all costs. 

2. Choose your clothes carefully. Wear clothes that will move with you and not restrict your movement. You should also wear something you feel comfortable and confident in.  Remember that unlike running or using machines at the gym, you will be bending a lot - and if you are worried that your low cut tank is becoming too revealing you may spend your time adjusting your clothes instead of focusing on your poses. Also try to avoid clothing that is too loose since it will make it difficult for the instructor to make corrections to your poses to facilitate proper alignment. Loose t-shirts tend to fall in your face during downward dogs and inversions.

3. Consider taking an open level class instead of a beginner’s class, especially if you have done yoga at home a few times. You may feel more motivated and inspired to stay with it if you get a glimpse of some impressive yogis around you, and may benefit from the advice of classmates.

4. Talk to the instructor briefly before the class starts. Most instructors are especially helpful and encouraging to new students, and will be sure to provide adjustments and more detailed instruction if you let them know their class will be your first. Be sure to let him or her know of any limitations or chronic pain you may have so they may offer modifications where appropriate, ensuring that your first experience is a positive one.

5. Do drink water before class so your body is not dehydrated. During a typical yoga class, you can lose anywhere from three to five pounds of water weight.  Drinking only during the workout is not very effective since your body needs time to absorb the water properly for hydration.  Try to start drinking water at least two hours before your class if at all possible.  This also reduces your need to stop during the class for “water breaks.” Follow this up by drinking more water after your class is finished.

Remember, everyone in the room had a “first class” experience, and encountered their share of awkward moments, stumbles, falls, and even the dreaded “face plant.” But they persevered. Try to keep your sense of humor. Your practice will be whatever you choose to make it. Be sure to make it enjoyable, first and foremost. 

Namaste!

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