Hendricks Regional Health Blog

What to Expect at Your First Yoga Class

Posted by: Patti Carrington   |   Wednesday, September 10, 2014   |   Latest Articles   |   Back to Blog

So, you are ready to try yoga for the first time . . . it’s time to get your yoga pants (and what’s in them) off the couch, into class, and onto the mat.  Here’s what to expect . . . and how to be ready.

So, what do I wear to yoga class?  Keep it simple.  You want to wear clothes that wick away sweat – the practice of yoga does generate heat.  Baggy shirts are fine for guys, but no, no, no for women.  Women should wear a close-fitting top so that your top doesn’t come down over your head when you “invert” into Downward-Facing Dog, Dolphin Pose, Forward Fold, etc.  Sometimes, I catch myself trying to pull my top back down over my belly because I don’t want my stomach to show – not cool and causes me to lose focus.  Wear quick-dry capri or full-length fitted yoga pants – it will help you and your instructor to check your form and alignment.  It’s also distracting to have to stop and hoist up falling britches.

What do I need for yoga class?  If you are new to yoga and haven't bought a mat yet, Lori Coffey, HRH Yoga Instructor does have mats for you to borrow for the class.  I suggest buying your own mat after you have tried a few yoga classes.  Mats come in all kinds of colors and materials, from natural rubber to synthetic, as well as different levels of thickness.  Use a soft cloth or sponge with gentle soap and water to clean and care for your mat.  Don’t rub.  Let air-dry.

Lori also has basic props (think “tools” or extenders), such as blocks, which are used to help with reach and alignment, blankets, eye pillows, bolsters, and straps, which can help – especially if you are new to yoga.  Eventually, you’ll probably want to have your own props.  HRH does provide clean towels and washcloths.  You will want to bring some water.

What time should I arrive for my classes?  Arrive at least 15 minutes before your first yoga class to get a spot where you feel most comfortable.  If this is your first class, try to get there at least 20 minutes ahead of time so that you can meet your instructor.

Ok, I am outside the door . . . now what?  Take off your shoes and socks before you walk into the room.  (Yoga = barefoot) We have cubbies for your shoes, right inside the yoga room.  If you are not sure, look for the instructor and just watch what everyone else is doing.  I suggest finding a place in the front so that you can see the instructor – and the instructor can see you, in order to more readily provide guidance and support.

What does my instructor need to know about me?  Before class starts, please introduce yourself to the instructor.  Tell the instructor if you have any concerns, limitations, or injuries - especially a recent one.  You may need modifications.

Remember to “breathe.”  It's common for new students to hold their breath during yoga poses they find challenging.  Breathing “into it” or deep breathing can help you relax and let your body self-adjust a little more naturally and a little farther.  In the beginning, don't worry about matching the instructor's breathing instructions exactly.  Just do not hold your breath.

What if I need to leave early?  Yoga classes end with “Savasana” or (sorry) Corpse pose.  In this pose, you lie flat on your back, close your eyes and relax deeply. It’s not mindful of others for you to walk out of a class when the class is in Corpse pose.  If you must leave, do it before.

How does the class end?  At the end of class, your instructor bows her head as if in prayer, clasps her hands together in front of her heart and says “Namaste”.  You'll notice the class says it back as well. This Sanskrit word means "I honor you" and is normally said at the closing of class.

I borrowed this from Lori’s newletter because it’s so good – and I love what it says and means.

“My soul honors your soul.
 I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides.
I honor the light, love, truth, beauty and peace within you because it is also within me.
In sharing these things, these gifts we are united, we are the same, we are one.”


Editor's Note: Register for a yoga class at Hendricks Regional Health online at hendricks.org/events or by calling (317) 718-8160.

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