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Beginner Yoga Classes | What to expect

Written by YogiClaire

Congratulations, you’re going to try yoga! Your beginner yoga class is an opportunity to tune into your amazing body, mind, and spirit in a judgment-free zone. If you’re new to yoga, let’s put your mind at ease in terms of what to expect.

Before Your Yoga Class

Wear clothing that allows you to move around comfortably. Yoga pants are not mandatory but the benefit of wearing them is so your teacher can more easily see alignment within your body. And layers are a good idea if you’re someone who gets hot or cold easily.

Plan to arrive early (10-15 minutes) to put valuables away and get yourself “set up.”

Leave your phone in the car or turn it off, you should not have it with you while on your yoga mat.

You will remove your shoes upon entering any yoga studio. In a gym setting, you can enter with shoes and remove them at your yoga mat.

Socks are not recommended except perhaps for the last 10 minutes of class when you’ll be in a final resting posture (more on that in minute).

If you have any injuries or limitations in your body, you should let the teacher know before class so they can help you modify the postures to make sure it feels good in your body.

What to Bring to Your Beginner Yoga Class

You really don’t need much but here are a few suggestions:

· An open mind

· Water bottle

· Yoga mat, although most yoga studios have mats you can borrow

· Eye pillow or eye mask for the Savasana at the end (more on that in a minute)

· Towel, if you’re attending a hot yoga class

What You’ll Do in a Yoga Class

A well-planned yoga class will have you moving in all directions. This includes up, down, side to side, forward and backward, the range of motion will depend solely on what your body, not what the person next to you is doing.

If you have trouble moving from seated positions on the floor to standing, you should consider taking a chair yoga class or a gentle yoga class.

Teachers usually play some ambient music to create a soothing environment, music selections can vary greatly by teacher.

The start of class includes a centering practice at the beginning to help you focus inwardly and be in the present moment. Most teachers start class on time, so if you’re running late, don’t be surprised if the doors are closed and some studios will lock them for comfort of the students and protection of personal items inside the studio.

Your yoga teacher will give many verbal cues that involve working your left and right sides individually and simultaneously, so plant yourself in a spot where you can see and hear clearly. Your yoga teacher will also do most, if not all, of the yoga postures with you.

For the last 10 minutes of class, you’ll lay on your back in “Corpse” pose— in Sanskrit, it’s called Savasana or Shavasana. Some teachers may come around and manually adjust your shoulders with a gentle opener push on the shoulders. If you are adverse to touch, please let your teacher know upfront.

To signal the end of class, your teacher will have you roll back up to a seated position for a moment of reflection. And your teacher will say “Namaste”, which means, "the divine in me bows to the divine in you." It’s customary for students to return the “Namaste” greeting with closed eyes closed and a small bow of the head.

A Word About Sanskrit

You’ll hear your teacher use some Sanskrit language to identify the yoga pose names. Usually the name of a posture is given in at least English, like “Downward Facing Dog.” Often teachers will often use the Sanskrit name for postures, like Adho Mukha Svansasana for “Downward Facing Dog.”

Yoga teachers use Sanskrit in class for two reasons:

1) hearing Sanskrit spoken creates vibrational benefits in the body even if you don’t understand the language and

2) to keep the yoga tradition of Sanskrit alive.

About Yoga Props

In a yoga studio, there are usually yoga props to help keep your body comfortable and safe in yoga positions. Common yoga props include bolsters, mediation cushions, yoga blocks, blankets, straps, knee and wrist cushions. In gym settings, yoga props are much less common. Many studios clean their props throughout the year, but if you would like to bring your own blanket with you, many students do that for an extra layer of comfort.

Your teacher will advise on which props to use for that particular class, however, if you know you have tender knees, wrists, a picky neck, then plan on using props to support these areas. An extra blanket is a versatile prop to support different areas of the body.

Enjoy your yoga journey. And remember that yoga is like ice cream—it comes in many flavors and they’re all good! Check out our yoga class schedule here.

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The Yoga Institute
The Yoga Institute
Mar 05, 2020

Confusion solved on what to take with us on our first day of Yoga class.

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