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Things to know before heading to first yoga class

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Yoga is taking the Western world by storm. There are many different styles of yoga classes and it can be difficult to navigate which class is the right fit. Here are a few additional tips and necessary reminders to add from the article published back in December.

  • Research the styles. There are many different types of classes: vinyasa flow, power, gentle, restorative, yin, acro, slow flow, hot yoga and on and on. Be sure to do research on what may be the right style. If looking for something more slow and relaxing, look for descriptions like gentle, meditation, restorative, relaxation, yin, or slow flow. If looking for more of a workout, try one of the powerful flow or hot yoga classes, but consider taking the beginner's classes at first to learn some of the movements.
  • Dress comfortably. Clothing that is fitted, yet comfortable is key. If it is a more "relaxed" meditative class, looser clothing may be alright, but if in a more flowing or hot class, consider clothing that will stay in place and not rise up (or down) when in downward facing dog or clothing that may have some sweat resistant material if heading to a hot class.
  • Bring water, mat and towel. Bring water and a mat to all classes and a towel to any hot classes to help from slipping once the sweat starts dripping. Most studios will offer mat rentals if you do forget.
  • Arrive early and find a peaceful space. If it is one's first visit to a studio, arrive 15 minutes early to have time to fill out a waiver and get a spot in the class. Once there, sit in a comfortable seat and "meditate" or come into child's pose, with the knees wide, big toes touching, and hips back on the heels (if they reach), rest the head on the floor and relax.
  • Don't force the practice. The first yoga class can be overwhelming, just do what the body will allow that day. It is called yoga practice for a reason. It comes in time. Poses get easier with practice. Many yoga injuries are due to people pushing further in the class than the body is ready to perform. Take time to learn and develop. There is no hurry.
  • Keep the practice personal. What others are doing does not matter. Although practicing with other people, the practice is a personal journey. Of course, peeking to see what others are doing when a pose doesn't make sense is normal, but otherwise, try to keep eyes on one's own mat.
  • Stay for savasana. Savasana means corpse pose. It allows the body to rest and soak in the practice. It is also a "rebirth" of the practitioner each time one practices yoga. It is considered the most important pose, so stick around for it.

Also, note that soreness is normal. Once the practice becomes familiar, it will seem easier, but really it is the yogi who is getting stronger. Enjoy it.

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