When I went to my first yoga class I was incredibly nervous. A friend and co-worker was teaching it, but I had never step foot in a yoga studio before. I had no idea what the proper yoga etiquette was, and I was sure I was going to do something that would make everyone know I had no idea what I was doing.
Luckily it ended up being an awesome class and I realized I had nothing to be nervous about. I thought I’d share a few tips that I’ve learned to make it a little less nerve-wracking for others who are new to yoga.
Check out the studio before your first class. Get a feel for what the studio is like. Go up to the front desk and ask about what kind of yoga they offer. What classes would be appropriate for beginners? Does the studio feel welcoming? Ask to see the change rooms. Knowing the lay of the land will make your first class much less intimidating.
Take off your shoes. There’s most likely a place to put your shoes as soon as you come in the door, since you don’t want people with dirty shoes walking through the studio. Yoga is done barefoot – no shoes or socks. I have cold feet, so I tend to leave my socks on until I get onto my mat and then take them off, but most people leave them in the change room.
Arrive Early. If it’s your first time to a yoga studio, arrive about 20 minutes early. At most studios you’ll have to sign a waiver before your first class. You’ll also have time to ask any questions and let the teacher know about any injuries that may affect your practice. Find out if you’ll need any props for class.
Set yourself up in the practice room. I know as someone who’s going to a yoga class for the first time, you automatically want to go to a corner in the back of the room. I did that too for awhile. But I think for someone new, the ideal place to put your mat is the middle of the room. This is because you’ll have a better view of the teacher if they’re only one row away rather then four. You’ll be able to hear what the teacher is saying better as well. Some poses require you to turn towards the left, right, or back of the room. If you’re in the corner and you’re facing the wall you won’t be able to see the teacher as easily.
Get your props. Grab any props that you’ll need before the class starts. Some classes won’t use any (ashtanga), while others will use lots of them, like in a restorative class. If I’m not sure I’ll need something I’ll usually grab it anyways just in case. Be mindful that as it gets closer to class time it could get a bit crowded in the room, so try to keep your props close by and not spread out so that there’s room for everyone.
Relax. While I know it feels like everyone is staring at you because you’re new, I guarantee that’s not actually happening. Yoga is all about being present and in the moment. While it may take some time and practice to focus on yourself and your own mat, it will come. Others are most likely focussed on their own practice and in the zone and wouldn’t even realize if you were doing a totally different posture.
What’s one thing you wish you’d known before your first yoga class?