As a beginner who is trying on a new activity, it’s normal for you to have mixed feelings of nervousness and excitement. That said yoga doesn’t need to be nerve-wrecking for you. You can ease into it if you get oriented and prepared for it.
you will learn where to start as a beginner, what to expect in yoga and how to approach your first class among many other things. Let’s get started then.
What To Do Before Your First Yoga Class:
The next step after knowing the yoga class to start with, is learning how to approach a yoga class for the first time and knowing what you need to do before then. Below is a list of things that you need to do before your first yoga class:
1. Set a goal
One of the secret weapons that you should have when going into a yoga class is a goal. A goal is simply what you are aiming to achieve when you practice yoga. As you saw above, everyone who goes into yoga does it for a reason. Yours can be to be fit.
Goals offer you positive stress, which is what you need to succeed in strengthening your body and live a stress free life with yoga. Therefore, before going into a yoga class, you should define your reason for doing yoga and come up with an actionable goal.
2. Know what to wear
The basic principle when it comes to what to wear in yoga is, always wear what is comfortable for you. However, some guidelines can help you choose the right clothes to wear when you are starting yoga. Here they are:
- You should wear something that is not too loose. Loose clothes suffocate you during a downward dog pose.
- It is a good idea for you to wear layers on your top half during yoga. This is because it can help you stay warm in savasana and gives you an option of shedding them off when the heat is too much.
- High waist trousers and leggings are highly recommended for yoga. This is because they remove the fear of you exposing your behind when doing yoga, which heightens your concentration.
Basically a t-shirt and an elastic-waist shorts work perfectly for men. For women a tank top and yoga or leggings pants amazingly works. The last thing to note is yoga is done bare foot so take your socks off when you get into a yoga class.
3. Know what to eat before yoga
Every expert in yoga agrees with one thing; you should not eat any heavy food 2 hours before doing yoga. If you do, you and the people around you may pay the price and trust me it won’t be pretty.
On a more serious note, doing forward bends and twist on a yoga mat with a full stomach can make you nauseating and uncomfortable and you don’t want that.
However, you cannot go to a yoga class on an empty stomach, as you won’t last long as yoga needs a lot of energy. Therefore, what you should do is to take a snack like a handful of nuts and yogurt or fruits like bananas and dates, which will provide you with the energy you need without making you full.
4. Familiarize yourself with commonly used yoga terms
In order to practice yoga efficiently, you need to learn the commonly used yoga terms; you need to learn the Sanskrit, which is the yoga language. Yoga is normally taught in Sanskrit with a little bit of English. Therefore, if you don’t know the yoga language you can be confused the whole time you are in a yoga class. Below are some of the mostly used Sanskrit and there meanings.
- Asana: a pose or a posture
- Tadasana: mountain pose
- Savasana: corpse poses. It’s a final resting pose in a yoga class.
- Prayama: controlled breathing.
- Bandha: tightening of your muscles
- Utkatasana: chair pose
- Vinyasa: a series of poses
5. How to communicate in class
Yoga sessions are very strict when it comes to communication. They don’t allow you to talk when a session is in progress. Why, you may wonder? This is because you will distract the class by interfering with other students’ concentration. So how are you supposed to communicate in yoga?
The best time for you to communicate with your yoga teacher is before or after a class. For instance, if you are pregnant or you are a beginner, you can approach the teacher before a session and tell them that. They will then find you the necessary props that will make the yoga practice comfortable for you. That is common practice.
Once the yoga session starts, you need to keep quiet and pay attention. However, what if you have something pressing to ask in the middle of a yoga session? What should you do then? If something is important, you can raise your hand and then the teacher will come to you.
6. Know what to bring when you go to a yoga room
The only items that you are allowed to bring in a yoga room are usually a bottle of water, a mat and maybe a small towel to wipe your sweat with. As a beginner, you should avoid carrying your phone into a yoga room.. This is because a yoga room is a place where you disconnect yourself from the outside world and a cell phone is a part of your outside world.
How To Prevent Yoga Injuries:
It is important to do the following to prevent injuries:
One of the best ways that you can use to avoid injuries in yoga is by doing warm-ups before a yoga routine. Many people who get injuries from yoga get those injuries because they go straight into a full yoga routine. Why is this bad?
Almost every yoga routine comprises of yoga poses that make you do some deep stretches. If you are not prepared for them, the stretches can trigger your muscles protective reflexes and cause you to suffer from pulls and strains.
To avoid such injuries, you need to prepare your body for strenuous workouts and the only way to do that is by starting your yoga session with a set of warm-up poses. Warming up releases stress from your muscles and makes them flexible and ready for intense stretches. Therefore, make going to a yoga class 10-15 minutes early so that you can do some warm-up exercises your daily habit.
2. Use Props
Most people get yoga injuries because they don’t usually get into the right postures when doing yoga. This is most common with beginners like you who are less flexible and unable to correctly do some yoga poses.
Props are great for avoiding injuries because they help you get into right positions. For example, if you perform a pose like bridge the wrong way, you will surely hurt your back. However if you use a prop by placing let’s say a block under your butt when performing a bridge, the prop will help you perform the pose correctly and that will automatically help you avoid a back injury that you might have had.
3. Have some private lessons
As you may know by now, yoga poses are all about alignment and angles. One of the reasons why you may be injured while doing yoga is because you perform a yoga pose while on wrong alignment and angle. When that happens, your muscles are usually stressed and end up getting injured. A good example of that is the common scenario of people who perform a downward dog without their lower back being lengthened. Normally this is caused by having their legs and torso meeting in obtuse. This scenario usually results in a back injury.
One of the ways you can avoid such injuries is by arranging some private sessions with a good yoga teacher who can take you through different poses teaching you how to perform them the right way.
4. Listen to your body
This might come as a surprise to you but listening to your body actually helps you avoid injuries. Let me break it down for you. When you are in a yoga class, you usually take your cues from what you see the yoga teacher doing. For instance, when your yoga teacher folds his/her body to illustrate a pose you automatically follow his/her footsteps and do the same.
However, sometimes what you see from the outside is not always right for your body especially if you are a beginner. You can try to copy the teacher and do a headstand but if you are not ready for it, you will definitely end up with one or more injuries. Therefore, the best thing to do to avoid injuries is simply listening to your body. Yoga usually helps us to be more aware of our bodies and ourselves. Use that to find out if a pose is right for you or not.
5. Stop competing
Your level of success in yoga is not measured by how great you are at doing all the poses that your teacher does. It is also not measured by the rate at which you outdo your classmates rather it is measured by how you can personally grow.
When you lose sight of that and start trying to keep up with everyone around you the only thing that you will gain are injuries because you will push your body beyond its limit. Therefore, to avoid these types of injuries, you need to stop competing and just focus on your personal growth.
Now you are ready to start practicing yoga. But before you do, take a look at the chapter below to learn what you are supposed to eat when practicing yoga.