Are you finally ready to wear those lovely leggings to an actual yoga class? Congrats! You’re about to embark on a meditative and healthy adventure. But what exactly should you expect when stepping on your mat for the first time?
We asked yoga expert Dina Ivas for her top tips to help new yogis feel more at ease.
1) Bring a towel
Regardless if you are taking a heated yoga class or not, chances are you WILL sweat, whether from actual physical exertion or the anxiety of the unknown — and a slippery mat does not a happy yogi make. Be sure to have something to pat it (and yourself) down with, just in case the studio or gym does not have towels available for your use.
2) Wear moisture-wicking clothing that gives you the freedom to move
We’ve established that sweat will happen, so it’s best to wear clothing that is breathable and won’t weigh you down. Dina suggests you ditch cotton fabric and instead choose a legging that pulls perspiration away from the skin and helps it evaporate quickly. She also advocates for styles with a high-rise waistband so your focus can be on the yoga itself, and not whether your bum is exposed in downward dog!
3) Avoid eating anything heavy less than an hour before
This is not a hard, fast rule as we are all different, but in general, it’s a good idea to go into your first yoga class having digested whatever you’ve eaten that day. And in the spirit of community, steer clear of anything that makes you feel gassy…for obvious reasons.
4) Invest in a quality mat
This tip is truly a game-changer! Yes, a good yoga mat doesn’t come cheap, but it’s SO worth it. Not only will it last you a very long time, but there is no price tag you can put on comfort. When you are new to yoga, it takes a few classes to build up enough strength in your wrists to support your body weight; a quality mat will be anti-slip and provide cushioning to prevent your wrists from aching like crazy. So if you foresee yoga being a regular part of your life, it’s a worthwhile investment.
5) Review basic yoga poses online
Because the level of detailed instruction will vary depending on where and with whom you take class, it’s a good idea to have some working knowledge of the fundamental yoga poses before stepping onto the mat. Even better if you pull up a YouTube video on “Yoga for Beginners” or “Basic Yoga Poses” and try out some of the shapes.
6) Inform the teacher of any injuries or sensitivities
Not all teachers will always ask before class if anyone has anything going on in their body that they should be aware of before the practice, so it’s important that you tell them if you are working with an injury (new or old), have a condition like vertigo, etc. A conscientious teacher will be able to offer you some helpful tips or modifications, and may also be more mindful of how/if they offer you hands on assists during class. It’s also a good idea to let your teacher know it’s your very first class so they can keep a caring and watchful eye over you.
7) Be aware that you may be touched
As mentioned in the tip above, your yoga teacher may put their hands-on you to either help guide you more safely into a pose or take you into a pose deeper. If that’s not something you’re comfortable with telling your teacher BEFORE class begins as they may not always remember to ask students prior to that opening “OHM.”
8) Arrive early
This is always a good idea. On your first visit to a yoga studio, gym, etc., you will most likely have to set up an account and fill out a waiver. This takes a few minutes. Also, depending on what day and time you are taking class, there may be a long line at the desk for check-in. Remember, you are going to yoga to DESTRESS, so best not to feel rushed. Also, if you do arrive early, you may have the opportunity to ask the front desk attendant, or even the teacher, a few questions before class, which will surely help put you at ease.
9) Grab props
If you are lucky enough to practice in a space that has yoga accessories — like blocks, straps, blankets, bolsters, etc. — take them ALL! That’s not to say be a hoarder, but in general, Ivas recommends two blocks, a blanket, and a strap for your first class. If straps or blankets aren’t available, the towel you so wisely have in tow will make a great backup prop when you need to pad up under your knees or close the circuit in a shoulder opener. You may also want to pull up some videos on how to use props in yoga before your first class — that way you’ll know what to do with all the gear you grabbed.
10) Set up your mat in the middle of the room
While it’s tempting as a new yogi to head to the back, that’s actually one of the most uncomfortable places to start out. Why? You will often be in poses like downward dog where you are facing the back of the room, so if you can’t see around you, you may have a hard time following along. On that note, Ivas often tells new students to do their best to listen with their ears, not their eyes. She recounts, “I was a new yogi once too, and while it was very tempting to scan the room and compare myself to others, the poses truly started to make sense when I felt them in my own body.”
Remember, yoga is a practice. It’s not about nailing a pose or having “perfect” form. It’s truly all about breathing deep, letting go, and feeling good. It’s normal for your mind to wander in class, so in addition to the amazing tips above, try taking CBD before stepping on the mat to enhance. Asé Pure Naturals offers natural, holistic, vegan options, cruelty-free, non-GMO CBD products, all made in the USA. Take a few minutes to explore our inventory, and reach out with any questions about our selection. For more yoga-related questions, drop Dina an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.