Here are some tips when joining a yoga class:
What to Wear
You don’t need to be outfitted in the latest, high-end yoga brands, just make sure they’re comfortable, light, and breathable. Also remember, yoga is practiced in bare feet.
What to Bring
A mat. As you develop your practice, your mat becomes a sort-of an extension of yourself. If you don’t want to invest in a quality one right away, that’s OK, there are cheaper ones available at Target. If you have yoga blocks and straps, please bring them to class as I have limited numbers available.
A full stomach makes it uncomfortable to do different postures while directing blood supply to the stomach, leaving your muscles with little resource to practice yoga postures. If you need to, eat at least two hours before you come to yoga class. A light snack and glass of water will help. Stay away from heavy carbs though – your stomach will thank you.
Me vs You
Focus on where your hands are that is on your mat ‘Self’. Don’t get over ambitious just because your neighbour can perform any postures, getting overzealous with trying to keep up can end with a crash landing. Silly comparisons with peers are by far one of the biggest yoga mistakes people commit. Remember, it’s a personal practice. We stretch and push ourselves depends on our individual bodies and physical limitations. Yoga is about focusing on your individual body, not your friend’s.
Pushing Too Hard
When it comes to yoga, sometimes less is more. It is okay to push ourselves beyond mild discomfort, but not at the risk of ignoring what our bodies tell us. If we push too hard and ignore our body’s warning signs, we risk hurting ourselves. It’s important to feel internal sensations and respect the body, we should focus on assessing how our body reacts to each pose and respond to our heightened awareness.
Yoga is a practice that must be practiced consistently for optimum results. “Results” shouldn’t be the main goal in practicing, but inconsistency is a big yoga mistake to avoid, because each session builds on the previous one.
Check In and not Check Out aka Be Present
When we do yoga, our focus must be completely on the moves we’re performing. When done mindfully, there is complete coordination between body and mind, which is imperative in deriving maximum benefits from yoga. Without mindfulness, we’re simply stretching muscles without a whole lot of benefit. It’s important to immerse ourselves in the present moment and focus on every single body movement.
What if I Can’t Do a Pose?
Then don’t. Yoga is a personal journey, and every class is a judgment-free zone. If you don’t feel comfortable in a pose, simply chill out in child’s pose or downward dog. When you’re ready to continue, jump back in with the rest of the class.
Yogi Lingo like Savasana, Namaste ....
You’ll likely hear words in class that you won’t understand. Don’t get caught up on those words. Savasana is how you begin and end your practice – laying on your back on your mat with your eyes closed. Namaste translates loosely to, “the light within me honours the light within you.” It’s said aloud collectively at the end of practice, while sitting cross-legged with your palms pressed together at your chest.
Ps: If you get stuck, just take a peak around the room and copy the poses you see others doing.
Chatting in class is a major faux pas. There is also a strict no cellphone policy. What you will leave with though, is calmness and a renewed sense of stillness.
Last but not least!
Ask yourself why do you want to do yoga. Examine your answer to determine whether wellness or fitness is your motivation. Practice this self-inquiry for as many reps as needed to unearth the root of your desire. If your answer stems from self-care, choice, curiosity or experimentation, then practice away. If your answer is some disguise for inadequacy – such as a craving to be loved, to be desired or to be considered sexy – then we need to talk! perhaps yoga is not the solution ;)