Taking a yoga class can be the first step in improving your physical and mental health. As long as you choose wisely and attend a yoga class from a well-trained instructor, your first yoga class should be about helping you understand what yoga practice brings to you.
Most of us are so competitive that we feel as if we should know everything about everything. Please leave this attitude at home. You can look at magazines, watch videos on yoga, and you may have even tried to do some of the poses on your own. This is an excellent start. But, each person brings their own unique body and flexibility to yoga and on any given day that could be different for the same individual.
By sharing that you are new to yoga to your instructor, you give them every opportunity to watch you carefully so that your approach to the poses doesn’t put you at risk for injury. And yes, you can definitely be injured in yoga. Most common injuries include neck, back, knee, and shoulder injuries. If you have any problems be sure to share that with your instructor. A good instructor will ask you if you have any issues, and if you do, they will show you various modifications that will allow you to move through the poses with the class, but with careful attention to what your body needs on that day.
While it’s OK to look at other people to see how they’re doing on a pose, remember they bring their own set of assets and limitations to their yoga practice. What that means is that what they’re doing might not be the best approach for you.
Yoga is truly a individual exercise. And while each time you go to yoga, you can expect to improve, which you will. But you can also expect to do very well one day and the next time you go to yoga to not do as well. That’s just part of yoga practice. It isn’t so much a goal oriented exercise as it becomes a way of life, focusing on breath, easing into a pose, and being in the moment all during your yoga session.
Most studios do have mats, blocks, straps, and blankets if you don’t want to purchase your own equipment right away. Wear comfortable clothing that allows you full freedom of movement. You’ll be doing a lot of bending, so a shirt that stays in place is helpful. Do shower before going and do not wear any perfume or other fragrance. Most yoga studios prefer to use essential oils as part of the yoga experience, but you can opt out of that portion.
The idea of yoga is to help you become strong, flexible, and calm. If your first experience with yoga doesn’t make you feel like you want to go back, try a different studio. There are many types of yoga, and one of them will likely work for you.