10 Things to Know Before Your First Yoga Class

You’re going to your first yoga class.  Hurray!  You’re going to love it.  [Read my post about my first yoga class here].  I wasn’t sure what to expect in my first yoga class, but I made it through.  I’ve put a list together to help you make it through your first yoga class:

  1. You do yoga barefoot.  This may seem like common sense to some, but when I was going to yoga for the first time, I googled “what to expect in your first yoga class” and I was actually surprised to read yoga was done barefoot (and was SO thankful that I actually googled that, so that I knew ahead of time!) Most yoga studios will require you to take your shoes off almost immediately when you enter the studio.  There’s most likely a shoe cubby and you’ll see everyone’s shoes tucked away, so just follow suit and take your shoes off.  Socks are OK to walk around the yoga studio and into the studio rooms, but the actual practice of yoga is done barefoot.
  2. Don’t be late to class.  Some yoga studios are incredibly strict about this and you will actually not be allowed in, if you’ve arrived after the class has started.  I would recommend arriving about 10 minutes early.  That gives you enough time to roll out your mat and grab any props that you’re using.  Some studios offer green or herbal teas, and you can grab a cup before the class starts.
  3. Introduce yourself to the teacher.  If you’re a new yogi and this is your first yoga class, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to the teacher.  Let them know that this is your first class, that way they know to watch you a little bit closer just to make sure you’re getting into the poses (or asanas) properly and to help avoid injury.
  4. Don’t compare yourself with others.  No one shows off in a yoga class.  Yoga is an individual practice despite the fact it’s done in a group setting.  So just focus on yourself.  There will be people in different stages of their yoga practice.  Some people will be able to get into a handstand no problem, while some people still struggle with that.  So just focus on yourself, don’t compare yourself with others and just do your best.
  5. No matter what your fitness level, you will likely be shaking.  This is true especially if you’re not used to putting your body in certain positions.  If you’ve done more weight training or strength training you might not be used to twisting and contorting your body in certain ways and it might be a little bit hard.  But don’t worry, everyone shakes.  I still shake in certain poses, especially when I’m trying to go as deep into the pose as I can.
  6. Classes are quiet.  There is minimal noise.  You’ll notice when you walk into the studio room some people might already be in the savasana pose (lying on their backs on the mat), or they might be working through some sun salutations to get warmed up, but it’s a quiet environment.  There’s minimal talking and once the class begins no one is talking aside from the instructor.  A yoga class is unlike a typical bootcamp class where people laugh or joke around when something is difficult to do.  (You can ask my hubs.  I shushed him a couple times during his first yoga class. :P)  Also, try to unroll your mat quietly.  One of the things I hate is when people whip out their yoga mat and put it on the ground; place your mat on the ground and gently roll it out.  The yoga class is quiet so do your best to be as quiet as possible.
  7. No leaving early.  Even if the class is too much for you, you really regret going, or if you feel you’re not ready for it, you don’t leave early.  If you can’t follow along with the class, and there’s no shame in that, just sit quietly on your mat, get into child’s pose or lie in savasana until the end of class.  It’s very distracting to the other students if you leave early.  Yoga involves a lot of balance and mind over matter, and if there’s people rolling up their mats or trying to walk out of the room, it can be very distracting.  Yoga always ends in a pose called savasana (or corpse pose) where you simply lie down on your back on your mat.  This is an incredibly important pose to get into.  It relaxes the body and lets your body and your mind take in everything you’ve just done.  It’s a time for mediation.  It’s not a time for packing up.  The last thing you want when in savasana if to be disturbed by someone leaving early.
  8. Leave everything in the locker in the change rooms.  This specifically includes cell phones.  No one’s taking selfies in a yoga studio, no one’s posting to IG stories.  Leave your cellphone in your locker.  Leave your keys in your locker.  The only things that should be coming with you to your yoga class is yourself, your yoga mat and a yoga towel, if needed.  Everything else should be left in your locker!
  9. Props are your friend!  Grab a couple of yoga blocks, they look like bricks and are usually made of cork.  Grab a couple and place them on your mat to use throughout the class.  There’s no shame in using blocks, and they can help you with some of the more challenging balance poses, for example: half moon.   I have been practicing yoga for about 6 years now and just last year I was able to get into half moon without the use of a block.  So grab some props, they will help you out, especially if it’s your first class.  Just remember to tidy up after yourself.  After the class ends, make sure you put away any props you used throughout the class.
  10. Your mat is your space.  My biggest pet peeve in a yoga class is when people walk on other people’s mats (when people walk on my mat it drives me nuts!!!)  You can walk around the mats and over the mats, but never, ever walk on a mat that isn’t yours.  You don’t touch or move someone else’s yoga mat either.  But also be polite and shift your mat over if you need to make room for someone.

Other things to know:

  • It’s a good idea to use the washrooms before class.  There’s a lot of scrunching and twisting and that might make you have to pee.
  • Yes, sometimes people fart in class.  It’s accidental and is typically from exertion (some of those poses are tough!)  Be mature about it and just continue on.

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