1. Start with a beginner or gentle class
A beginner’s class is often best for those just starting out. You’ll learn the basic poses, alignment and breathing fundamentals at a gentle pace. Start slow and work your way into more vigorous classes. We recommend contacting us and asking for class recommendations appropriate to your level, fitness history and potential limitations or injuries you may have.
2. Invest in well-fitting clothing and a good mat
A yoga class involves a lot of movement! Be prepared and feel comfortable by wearing form fitting and breathable clothing that will move with you and keep you covered. As well, invest in a good mat to keep your footing firm.
3. Arrive Early
Aim to arrive around 15 minutes before class starts. This will allow you to get settled in the space while feeling relaxed and ready for your practice. Don’t add stress to your new practice by running late and bringing anxious energy to the class. It’s normal to feel nervous, so allow time for your body and mind to relax prior to class. At Joy & Vitality, we’ll help make your first classes a smooth and stress-free experience at our studio.
4. Introduce Yourself
It’s important to introduce yourself and also to let your teacher know you’re new to yoga. Your teacher will want to care for you as best they can, so if they know where you’re at they’ll be able to do so. They can help you with pose modifications, make sure your posture and alignment is good and ensure you have an enjoyable experience in class.
5. Pick a Spot Wisely
Don’t try to hide in the back row! Take a look at the studio layout and find a stop where you’ll best see and hear the teacher (and they’ll be able to see and help you too).
6. Set your Intention
Most yoga classes begin with a moment to center yourself and focus on your breath. The teacher may also set an intention for the class. You can use this time to focus yourself on an intention for the time. Maybe you’ll focus on deep breathing throughout the class or be conscious of your thoughts, keeping them positive and full of gratitude. Use this time to focus your mind and body in class and get everything you can from your practice.
7. Listen to Your Body
This is something you’ll learn to do better with time, so begin listening to how you feel and concentrating on the parts of your body being worked, stretched and strengthened. There shouldn’t be any pain involved in your practice, so make sure you back off or modify your pose if you do feel pain or discomfort. Allow new sensations and feelings excite you and never force or push yourself beyond your limits. A good indicator of where you’re at is to pay attention to your breathing – if it’s getting unsteady or you’re suddenly holding your breath, it’s likely time to back off and allow yourself to relax and return to the practice.
8. Eyes on Your Own Mat
There is no competition in yoga – it’s sole focus is progress, never perfection. Practice this by letting all comparison go and instead become inspired by the talents you see around you. Keep your focus on your own mat and your own practice. This will keep you from getting overwhelmed and pushing yourself further than you’re ready for. Everyone was a beginner once… embrace and enjoy it!
9. Don’t Rush Out
The final rest post at the end of class can be the most challenging posture because we lie still with our thoughts. Start where you are and give yourself space not to stop your thoughts but instead release them. Keep returning to your breath, your mat and how good you feel in this moment. Don’t rush out and disturb the rest of the class – this is an important part of the practice you should embrace fully.
10. Keep Practicing
Give yourself some time to allow the impact of yoga to grow in your life. Take different classes and try new styles, finding the right fit for you and your intentions. Give yourself time and diligence to reap the beautiful benefits of this practice.
Find Joy & Vitality Centre’s full yoga schedule here to try different classes and styles. Click here to get in touch with us for class recommendations and let us help you begin a wonderful new journey into your yoga practice.