What you need to know going to a yoga class for the first time. What to expect, what not to fear, and what to wear.
So, you’ve decided to try out yoga. You’ve heard all the benefits – a great way to get toned, stay in shape, lose weight, make new friends, merge with the higher consciousness – and you feel you owe it to yourself to give it a go. After attending one or two yoga classes a week regularly for over 6 months now, I can say for certain that you won’t regret it – especially if you push yourself to go a second time. Yoga offers so many benefits its almost impossible to argue against – unless your sick, fatigued, dehydrated, etc. Please check with a licensed health adviser before going to your first beginner’s class.
I put off yoga for years. I had all kinds of fears associated with it. What if I couldn’t do the “poses”? What if I wasn’t spiritual enough? What if I was the only guy in a class full of girls? Wait, how could that last one possibly be a fear? The excuses went on and on, but I finally threw caution (and really.. laziness) to the wind and went to the local yoga studio. I was very quickly addicted to it. I may write an article in the future about all the ways yoga has impacted me, but for now – here are the three things you need to know going into your first yoga class.
First off, you will be surrounded by women. If you’re a dude, this has its benefits and its downsides – you’ll discover both if you start going regularly. If you’re a woman, you will have girls who can stretch in any number of extreme, exotic ways – you either come from a flexibility-promoting background (like cheer leading, gymnastics, etc.) and can do a split without blinking an eye or you don’t and this display of limberness will bum you out and make you green with envy. The first thing to know for either sex: Leave your ego at the door. Yoga is not a race or a contest. If you sit all day long (in cubicle or class) or haven’t exercised in a while and try to mirror (or out-stretch) your yoga mat neighbors – you’re in for a painful morning after. The girl next to you has been coming for years and couldn’t care less about how well you do the poses. She is there to deepen her practice further, keep in shape, or de-stress after a long week at work – not to time how quickly you can swing your flabby backside up into a downward-facing dog. The practice of yoga is really about going inward and becoming “body-conscious” – not of denying the ego, but of re-focusing your awareness to listen to the body. The first few classes will probably test your level of self-consciousness. Stick it out two or three classes and you will be surprised how quickly you’ll want to keep going back. But, remember – leave your ego at the door.