Recently, we shared a post explaining why yoga is a great way for swimmers to cross-train. From enhanced body awareness and mobility to decreased anxiety, there is a lot to be gained from regular time on the mat. However, hopping into your first yoga class can be intimidating (especially if you’re not familiar with the practice).
So to help ease your mind and prepare you to flow, we’ve created our list of must-know tips for first time yogis. If you’re interested, check it out below.
BRING A MAT (AND MAYBE A TOWEL)
If you’re taking a class in studio, the space will likely offer mats for rent. However, not every business operates the same. So to be safe, try to bring your own. If you don’t have one, a deck mat will do the trick. Once you’ve taken a class or two you can decide for yourself whether you want to invest in a quality yoga mat. The prices on mats vary, so be sure to consider comfort, grip and thickness.
A hand or medium sized towel is also important to bring with you to class. This is especially essential for warm or hot classes to prevent slipping on your mat.
HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!
The physical practice of yoga is designed to lengthen and strengthen the muscles. With that said, it also works to flush out the body. This can be dehydrating, so to prevent dizziness be sure to have a water bottle nearby.
WEAR SOMETHING FITTED AND COMFORTABLE
Loose garments can often get in the way when transitioning from pose to pose. To ensure that you don’t slip or feel uncomfortable, opt for apparel that is a bit more fitted to the body.
TURN OFF YOUR PHONE
While the postures in yoga are physical, the practice overall does as much for the mind as it does for the body. Therefore, distractions like a vibrating phone or forgotten alarm can be frustrating for students. To avoid interruptions, consider leaving your cell outside of the room.
DITCH YOUR SOCKS
Wearing socks while practicing yoga will make it hard to grip onto your mat. This can easily lead to injury. As a result, most teachers suggest taking them off before you begin.
PROPS ARE YOUR FRIEND
Props like blocks and straps are used in yoga classes to help students more safely and comfortably explore various postures. For beginners, blocks are especially beneficial in understanding where your body should be in each pose. Don’t be afraid to ask your teacher how to utilize props, as this will ensure you get the most out of your practice.
CHILD’S POSE IS HOMEBASE
Balasana (also known as child’s pose) is a resting posture used in yoga for coming back to the breath and slowing down the heart rate. This pose is accessible to you at any point in the practice, and you don’t need to wait for a teacher to tell you to go there. If you need a moment to rest, this is where you should head. Plus, it’s a great hip opener to play around with at home!
TRUST YOUR TEACHER
Trying something new can be intimidating. However, just like practicing with a coach, listening up for proper instruction can make all the difference. Testing out a bunch of classes is also helpful in determining which teachers you feel most comfortable with.
ALWAYS COME BACK TO YOUR BREATH
Quieting your mind for an hour is easier said than done. So, let go of the belief that you have to be totally “zen” while taking a yoga class. Instead, practical goals like bringing your attention back to your breath will help to keep you in the moment, without creating unnecessary expectations.