Feelings of uncertainty are completely normal if you are about to start yoga classes for the first time. Experienced yogis look so amazing when they execute complex postures and transitions, and you might be wondering whether it is possible for you to get to that point.
The short answer is: of course it is!
And if you know what to expect as you ease into a yoga practice, you can minimise your anxiety, relax your body and mind, and get the most out of your new yoga practice.
Regardless of the type of yoga you are about to try, here are some things you can expect.
You might feel a little confused
Feeling lost and confused is perfectly normal when trying something new. Your instructor will lead you through a series of exercises and poses that might be unfamiliar to you, and it could be tricky to keep up at times. Nobody expects you to pick it up flawlessly straight away, so try to feel at ease - even excited - about the fact that there is a lot to learn.
Further, if you feel uncomfortable or awkward when trying out some of the postures, don’t let it stress you out! You will be moving your body in ways that you might not have moved before - and that would make anyone feel strange. We recommend that you try to enjoy being in a beginner’s mindset and allow yourself to observe and notice new sensations and possibilities.
You will learn new poses
Whether you are trying out gentle yoga or a full ashtanga class (if ashtanga vinyasa yoga is your entry point, we salute you), go into it expecting to learn a series of new poses, techniques, and postures. Some classes will take you through a lot of poses quickly, which is sometimes called “flow”. Others will have you holding poses for longer.
Make sure to listen to your body through each pose. If something hurts or makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t try to push through it. You know your body better than anyone, so don’t be afraid to explore what variations work better for you.
You will learn to pay attention
Believe it or not, the physical postures - aka asanas - are just one of eight crucial tenets of yoga practice [internal link: Yoga for Beginners: 8 Principles You Should Know Before Starting]. So, not only will you be moving your body, but you will also learn a different way to pay attention to it as well as your instructor.
Noticing what is happening in your body and your surroundings without judgement is a critical part of the practice. Your instructor might even lead you into some quiet meditation or chanting, which can enhance your experience as you go through the asanas.
Breath is everything
We all breathe to stay alive, but most of us do it unconsciously. Directing your attention to your breath and working with it as you move through each posture enhances your practice in ways that will amaze you.
Science has proven that breathwork can change our heart rate and nervous system, and in yoga, breath is associated with the body’s energy. When you notice your breath and synchronise your movements with it, you will learn to attune your awareness to the present moment and fully relax into it.
You might need to make some adjustments
When trying out new poses, it is super common to hold your body in a way that might feel easier, but actually hold you back from the benefits and goodness of the asana. Some common examples of this include crunching your neck, leaning forward or sticking your butt out.
Your instructor will likely come around and offer adjustments to guide you into a better pose, which could involve them putting their hands on you. If the prospect of physical contact makes you uncomfortable, let your teacher know before the class starts.
Many yoga classes have props readily available, such as yoga blocks, straps, and blankets, and they are there to help you get into poses in ways that work for your body. Don’t be afraid to use them - it’s not cheating at all!
You might feel sore the next day
As with any physical activity where you activate muscles that you don’t always use, you might get up the day after your class with achy muscles. The initial soreness is normal and safe, something you can think of as an awakening of otherwise dormant muscles. Over time, you will get stronger and more flexible.
Starting a yoga practice creates space for so many benefits, including better flexibility, balance, and strength, as well as increased body awareness and a sense of calm. Regardless of how fit you are or how much you know about mindfulness, yoga is accessible to anyone.
Here at Eartha, we are here to promote a healthy, holistic online platform. We hope that our guide about what to expect for your first yoga class has helped you feel more prepared for your new yoga journey. Get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org today if you want to learn more!