The best advice I could give anyone new to yoga is just show up. Don't over-think it, just do it.
As yoga master Sri K. Pattabhi Jois once said, yoga is “99% practice and 1% theory.”
Your first few classes might be a bit confusing until you become familiar with the movements. I know that can seem daunting, but the whole point of yoga is to not have judgment toward yourself or the people around you.
Yoga studios are not spaces for competition; they're a starting point for an inward journey.
Here are 13 tips to keep in mind for your next yoga class:
1. Respect your body's limits.
Acknowledge that your body and mind will feel different every day. Listen to what your body tells you and practice in your own time following your own breath.
2. Don't eat right before class.
Refrain from eating at least two hours prior to and 30 minutes after your practice.
3. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after class.
Better yet: drink plenty of warm water with fresh squeezed lemon juice! Remember to ask your teacher if you can bring a water bottle into the class with you- some allow that and others don’t so it’s best to ask.
4. Bring a friend or family member along with you.
Spread the joy and love of yoga... it might even help ease both of your nerves the first time around.
5. Be clean. (That's probably obvious, but worth mentioning.)
Personal hygiene is an integral part of practicing yoga. Please ensure that you and your gear are clean.
6. Wear whatever feels comfortable to you.
It’s your practice! That said, don't hide under big baggy clothing; this mainly relates to self confidence. Through your practice, you will become comfortable in your own body and your own skin in no time. Plus tighter fitting clothes can be helpful so that the teacher can see your true alignment; it will make it easier for him or her to help you with adjustments.
7. Put your mat in the back of the room.
When I was new to the practice, I found it extra reassuring to have a view of all the other yogis in the room. That way, if I needed a little extra time or guidance during a pose, I could look around at what my neighbors were doing.
8. Bring towels.
Bring a small hand towel with you and a larger towel to place over your mat. Sweat yoga mats can = a slip and slide. Drape the large towel over your mat and it will help you gain traction in poses like downward dog.
9. Accept your feelings.
If you feel emotionally upset during or after a yoga session, bid them welcome! Sometimes releasing tension in the body releases emotions, too.
9. Arrive early to your first class.
That way, you can introduce yourself to the teacher and tell her anything that’s on your mind! They have studied many aspects of the yoga practice and philosophy and serve as great mentors.
10. Please turn your cell phones on silent!
There’s nothing more embarrassing and distracting than your “Baby Got Back” ringtone sounding off. I’m only kidding ;) but no, really- you’ll thank me later.
11. Remember, it's your practice!
One great advantage of practicing yoga is that get to decide how hard you want to work in the class. You determine what you get out of it.
12. Try several teachers and classes.
Please don’t be afraid to test out a huge variety of different types of yoga, different studios, and different teachers! I promise you will find exactly where you need to be and what works for you!
13. Remain a beginner, even after your first class.
I still consider myself a beginner every single day before every single practice there is still so much to learn. You never know how much it can positively impact your life and how much you have to gain until you try.
And as Guruji said, “Practice and all is coming.”