So You’re New to Yoga?
You’ve never set foot in a yoga class…and you aren’t sure what to expect? Well, I thought I’d give you the low-down before you get there. Here are the bare essentials that you need to know:
1. Try not to eat within 2 hrs of class. I seriously hear a lot of people worried about embarrassing bodily functions. If you don’t eat before class you’ll be fine.
2. Yoga is done barefoot on a yoga mat. (see my post about my own embarrassment of my first yoga class) (see a recent review on yoga mats)
My favorite mats are: Jade Harmony mats made out of natural rubber. Absolutely no slippage. If you get sweaty (I do…) …Trust me, it’s worth the extra beans if you are going to make this a part of your life. Manduka makes a nice rubber mat (the eKO series) that runs a close second. The Manduka is pricey in my opinion, and it’s not totally slip proof like the Jade mat. I have a Manduka eKO Super Lite travel mat that is awesome because it folds up nicely to put in a suitcase and only weighs 2lbs. Expect these mats to be heavier and last a lot longer. They also provide more cushion on your joints.
You can buy a cheap yoga mat at Wal-Mart for $10 and something similar at Target for about $15. Be sure to wipe it down with soap and water and get all of the soap off…at least a whole 24 hrs before you are going to use it. If you don’t…you will be slipping and sliding all over the place if your hands and feet even think about sweating. Some of them even have a slimy oil on them from the manufacturing process.
3. You need not wear expensive high-tech spandex. Wear something that you are comfortable in and something that will cover you in all directions. Don’t wear a loose fitting T-shirt that will end up over your head in down dog. That can be a nuisance.
4. Listen to the instructions given on how to move into the positions. It’s a lot like “Simon Says”. So, you don’t need to know the names of the poses or what they are supposed to look like. It’s that easy.
5. Don’t worry about what you look like. It’s more important to know how you feel and how the poses feel. Yoga enhances proprioception (spatial body awareness), so if you are thinking about the external appearance, you are missing out on one of the many benefits of yoga.
6. Keep an open mind. You are probably capable of more than you know.
7. Fake it ’til you make it. Some of the breathing practices take a little time to figure out and may not come that easily. Some of the poses may seem inaccessible, but you have to try them in order to really find out. Not only that, but you will have to work at some poses before they actually happen for you. This is a normal fact of life, and of yoga.
8. Your connection to your breath throughout the practice is more important that achieving the pose.
9. Enjoy your savasana (corpse pose) …the final relaxation is key. Oddly enough, just laying there in stillness is one of the most challenging poses in yoga for many people. (Not me….I am a natural at that one! …so is my husband, he is usually the guy on the left snoring.)
10. Drink plenty of water after class. You may have just finished a class that didn’t seem that challenging…but you could be really sore the next day. Yoga is funny like that. It can sneak up on you when you least expect it.
11. Regular practice is the only way to improve. It’s like any other physical exercise…the more you do it, the easier it gets!