Everyone’s a beginner at something at some stage of their life, so if you’ve never stepped foot on a yoga mat before and are wondering what it will be like, here’s just a few pointers to bear in mind for your first class….
Lots of people are concerned about what to wear to a yoga class. The best advice is to wear something that you feel comfortable in and can move easily in, whether that’s leggings, jogging bottoms or shorts. It’s also a good idea to wear layers so you can take off/put on as you warm up and cool down.
Yoga is generally done barefoot. There are many reasons for this, not least is that it’s easier to balance if there’s nothing between your foot and the mat as it allows you to engage Pada Bandha (foot lock) – which is the connection between your foot and the ground…that’s the short explanation.
Of course you are always breathing – breath is life, so if you’re not, there is a problem! However in a yoga class you will be asked to be consciously aware of your breath, and to begin to synchronise inhalation and exhalation with movement. You will also be asked to breathe through the nose, rather than the mouth, as much as possible.
There may even be pranayama practice in the class – which will be solely concentrating on the breath rather than any postural work. You may hear people breathing deeply and noisily during the class – which might seem odd at first, but it’s nothing to worry about, they are just practising Ujayi breathing, which involves restricting the throat while breathing through the nose.
Most classes will finish with a period of relaxation, often referred to as Savasana (the position you lie in during relaxation). How long this lasts for will vary from class to class but it is an important part of the yoga practice – some would say the best part! Some people like to take blankets along with them to class to snuggle under during relaxation, which is completely your choice.
If you’re thinking of attending your first class then it is a good idea to contact the teacher first just to check it is suitable for beginners; most teachers offer various modifications to each pose in order to accommodate all abilities in one class. Another thing to check is whether you need your own mat. If you’re just starting on your yoga journey you may not want to invest in a mat straight away, and chances are the teacher will have spares that you can use.
Hope you enjoy your first class!