Yoga Guide: What you should know before your first yoga class

I always feel happy for people who tell me that they’ve just embarked on their yoga journey, or any other fitness regime for that matter. When you push yourself, you’ll be amazed by what your body is capable of. Also, the post-workout high guarantees a good day ahead (for me at least). Here, I’ve compiled a list of things you should know before you attend your first yoga class. I’m no trained expert, nor am I a yoga instructor (YET! I intend to go for my YTT next year so if anyone has any recommendations, I’d love if you could comment or email me), I’m merely speaking through experience :)

1) Let the instructor know that it’s your first lesson
This is not to allow the instructor to pick on you, but to help him control the pace of the class, pay closer attention to you and help you with alignment. Better than being a lost sheep in class!

2) Pick a good spot
A good spot is one that allows you to watch and follow the more experienced yogis in front of you, and one that is easy for the instructor to keep an eye on you or assist you If need be. I’d say pick a mat that is in the back row but in the center.

3) Familiarise yourself with some of the common postures
What I didn’t know before my first yoga class was that instructors do not do the sequence with the class. Most of the time they dictate, and demonstrate only when many of the students are doing the posture wrongly. I feel that it is helpful to know some of the basic, more common postures so that the class would be easier to follow.

Following the sequence of a flow, L-R: Standing backbend, forward fold, plank, knees-chest-chin (beginner), chaturanga (intermediate), cobra (beginner), upward-facing dog (intermediate), downward-facing dog (THE classic yoga pose), child’s pose.
The warrior series + wide-legged forward fold. L-R: warrior 1, warrior 2, warrior 3, wide-legged forward fold.

4) Rest in child’s pose if you have to
Do not over exert yourself. The child’s pose is a great recovery pose that you can rest in until you’re ready to return to your practice. Instructors would much prefer this to you leaving the studio to take a breather.

5) Learn to be aware of your breath
The breath is very important in yoga. Make a conscious effort to flow with your breath – one breath with each movement. Breathing is done solely through the nostrils. Expand your belly with each inhale and contract your belly, pulling it towards the spine with each exhale. This technique helps you calm down (I also use this when I’m out of the studio and feeling anxious). Breathing through your mouth will make you pant, and breathing into your chest will speed up your heart rate and make you stressed.

6) Wear the right clothing
It is best to wear tight, light clothing so you don’t unintentionally flash your fellow yogis. Avoid FBTs and your old PE attire. Invest in comfortable yoga apparel so that you won’t be fiddling with your clothes in between poses – it is distracting to yourself and your fellow yogis, especially if the class is in a balancing pose! Vivre Active Wear does yoga apparel at a wallet-friendly price, perfect for new yogis who want to stock up on pretty, fancy workout clothes. I’d wear the left one for a hatha or flow class, and the right one for hot yoga because wearing too much clothing in 38-40 degrees makes me feel suffocated. I’d also pick long pants over shorts if I were to go for a more intense class with plenty of arm balances because wearing pants provides more friction.

Gotta love Vivre’s attention to detail – strappy bras make me happy! In addition to wallet-friendly prices,Vivre Active Wear is offering 10% off till 15 Jan with the promo code ColletteVivre10.I hope this post is helpful for new yogis! If there’s anything else yoga-related that you’d like to know, feel free to email me at [email protected] because I’d really love to help or give you my two cents worth :)

All texts and photos are extracted from Collette Mile’s Blog