How To Be A Yoga Pro At Your First Class

1.  You can go alone. You don’t need a buddy to go to yoga class and sometimes bringing someone you know makes staying focused on your practice more difficult. While it’s great to be part of a group when you first begin, being a bit anonymous is a plus.

2.  If you don’t like the first class you take or the first instructor, don’t make the mistake of thinking that’s how all yoga classes run. There are classes that range from “Holy Hotter Than Heck” to “Completely Chill” and everything in between. Be sure to read the class descriptions, ask for suggestions from the staff, and keep YOUR fitness level in mind.

3.  Wear clothing that is at least slightly form fitting. Other than the near naked person in class wearing speedos or boy shorts and a bra, the second most distracting occurrence during yoga is having your shirt fall over your head when you rest in down dog. If you have to constantly adjust your clothing, you won’t be able to get into the rhythm of your breath.

4.  You don’t have to be flexible to attend a yoga class. Did you skip kindergarten because you couldn’t read? Enough said.

5.  Chanting isn’t in every class but when it is, just go for it. Chanting is not about conjuring Hindu gods but rather a practice, in part, to improve your breathing. Some chants are several lines long and require you to truly master deep breathing. Other chants are meant to calm the mind, soothe your body, and bring unity to the class. If you feel uncomfortable, simply hum.

6.  Leave your cell phone in a locker or in your car. Take this opportunity to disconnect from the crazy media world for an hour. I think I may implement a rule in my class of “whoever’s cell phone rings, vibrates, or lights up during class has to lead the chanting!” Silence is golden.

7.  Um, everybody farts. You will too. You won’t be the first to have done it in yoga class and you won’t be the last. Faghetaboutit.

8.  Not everyone enjoys Chanel #5 and that mixed with 20 other choices of fragrance can be down right nauseating while deep breathing. Skip perfumes when attending class.

9.  It’s okay to laugh, fall over, fall down, and sweat buckets (or not), but try not to distract others in the class with chatting, loud exclamations, or even personal pep talks.

10.  While yoga looks peaceful and serene in all the pictures, there will be moments (notice I wrote “moments” and not “forever”) that will be uncomfortable. Yoga encourages you to find your edges and it’s at those edges where you will build your mindset.

11.  Don’t know your chaturanga from your urdhva danurasana? Yup, sometimes the teacher will use Sanskrit words for the postures (some won’t) but usually there’s a pretty good description going on of what is expected. It’s okay to look around to figure things out but I encourage you instead to first find a Beginner’s Course. Take it more than once! Learn the basic poses and their names and how to perform them safely before you move on to a higher level class.

12.  Another option that many prefer is private lessons where you learn at your own pace with an instructor that builds a practice just for you (this is traditional yoga and how all yogis initially trained). I can help you there if you’re curious. Drop me an email at elyssa@getfitwithelyssa.com.

I hope you give yoga a try. It’s a great addition to any fitness program you are working – that includes you Crossfitters! But, done on it’s own, yoga will help you find balance, strength, flexibility and tone your muscles as well as give you an hour of peace.

Namaste,

Elyssa

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