One of the coolest parts about being a blogger is having the opportunity to hear from so many of my readers. Whether we’re chatting on Instagram, Facebook, or via email… I love the “community” feel that NTTC has, and I hope you feel it too!
I love to hear from you guys and answer your questions, and today’s question was one of those that was SUPER-FUN to answer. It came from a former co-worker who keeps up with NTTC and who has been working hard to get healthier in 2013.
Here’s what she wrote…
I’ve only been practicing yoga a little over a year, so it wasn’t too long ago that I was a newbie myself. Here’s my suggestions for making your first yoga experience awesome:
1. Don’t Worry about Equipment. Studios will always have mats, blocks, and other props available for your use. Until you’re sure you want to practice on the regular, I wouldn’t worry about getting any of these items. As your practice advances, you’ll have time to find just the right equipment.
2. What to Wear. Yogis wear such a variety of workout clothes that my best advice would be to be comfortable. The only thing I highly recommend is to wear a shirt that is sort of fitted. If you fold over into an inversion-style pose, a loose t-shirt will flop down and you may find yourself extra-exposed. Wearing something sort of fitted on top will help avoid this. The last thing you need is to be exposing yourself in class, or tugging at your top while in downward dog…
3. Choosing a Class – If you’re brand-new to yoga, I always recommend picking a “beginner’s”, “Level 1” or “gentle” class to get started. These cater to beginners and the instructors will take good care of you. Regardless of what you choose, mention to the instructor that it’s your first class and they’ll help you with extra descriptions of poses.
Another tip: You’ll be tempted to pick a spot in the back, but make sure that you can SEE the instructor clearly. You’ll want to be able to see her postures.
4. Finding a Class – I’ve mentioned this app before, but check out OmFinder. It will use your GPS location to find all available classes in your area. LOVE this app… I use it when I’m home and when I’m on the road and can always find a class!
5. Why do I need to Breathe? During your class, you will hear a lot of talk about breathing. Yoga is ALL about the breathing… focus on your breath and try to stop making grocery lists and all the other things you might normally run through.
I took a class where an instructor encouraged us to think “let” on the inhale, and “go” on the exhale. I always do this when my mind is to busy… and my goal is to really “LET” “GO” afterall…
6. Do what you can. Don’t expect to be super bendy in the beginning, unless you are just naturally gifted (I am not, btw.) Also…don’t be self conscious. Over time I’ve realized, no one’s looking at you, they are trying to balance, stretch further, and that takes all their focus.
Your instructor will offer modifications to make each pose more difficult/less difficult… adjust as much as you need to… but know that it’s a PRACTICE, which means just that… you get to practice and improve every time you’re on the mat.
7. Obvious Tip, But Necessary – Don’t eat RIGHT before you go to yoga. You’re going to be bending and moving in ways that your body is not accustomed to. And, maybe choose a sandwich for lunch instead of Mexican food…. yoga can get fairly musical otherwise. Just saying… it happens, and I’ve heard it many a-times. Don’t think NTTC didn’t warn you.
8. ENJOY the Peace – I’d like to say that I take yoga for it’s physical benefits, but I’d be lying to you. The physical part is secondary to me. Yes, I’ve built flexibility and my muscles are stronger for all that I do on my mat.
Where I see the benefit is in my stress levels and in that mental break I take several hours a week. There are few moments in life where I truly disconnect from my phone, from social media, from all that I need to be doing… and I find this on my mat. Seek this peace during your practice, and you too will adore it as I do.
Do you practice yoga? What other tips do you have for a first-time practice?