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Things to Know Before Practising Yoga for the First Time

yoga things to know

You’ve taken the leap and signed up for your first yoga class. You’re excited to get started, but also feeling a little apprehensive. Don’t panic, that’s totally normal! After your first class, the nerves will begin to melt away; however, until then we are here to help. In this article, we go through what you need to know before practising yoga for the first time.

What Equipment Will You Need?

Before your first session, you’ll need to pick up some equipment. The most important thing to get your hands on is a comfortable yoga mat. While some studios provide mats, others require you to bring your own. If you’re unsure of whether your studio offers communal mats, it’s better to pick one up just to be safe. Even if you don’t end up using it during class, it’s good to have one for home practice.

You may prefer to take your own mat, even if the studio does provide them. This way, you’ll know that your mat is comfortable and suited to your needs. Additionally, using your own mat is much more hygienic, particularly in the winter months. At this time of year, a host of unpleasant bugs are doing the rounds. If a communal yoga mat has been used by someone that’s under the weather, it may become contaminated during certain asanas. If you then use it, you’re at risk of picking up the previous users’ germs.

In addition to your mat, you’ll need some good quality yoga clothes. Depending on what you feel most comfortable in, pick up a flexible pair of shorts or yoga pants. Flexible material will prevent you from being restricted during asana practice. On top, you’ll need a breathable t-shirt, vest top, or sweater. Breathable material will allow your body to oxygenate efficiently, allowing you to get the most from each session. In addition to the above, yogini’s will also need a supportive yoga bra.

The final thing you’ll need is some basic props. The nature of your yoga class will determine what props you’ll need. If the session is restorative, you’ll definitely need a soft yoga blanket and a pillow. These will be used to support your body during the asanas. Other necessary props may include a bolster, ball, and strap. However, it’s worth checking with your instructor before purchasing these as some teachers prefer not to use them.

What are the Three Areas of Yoga?

In yoga, there are 3 main areas: asana, pranayama, and meditation. Most classes will incorporate all 3 of these into each session; however, the focus is often placed on asana. Below, we explore these areas in more detail.

  • Asana: Asanas are the physical postures used in yoga. Originally, asanas were seated positions used for meditation. Over time, a number of asana types were invented including reclining, standing, inverted, twisting, and balancing. In the Yoga Sutras, the word “asana” is defined as “to be seated in a position that is steady but relaxed”.
  • Pranayama: When translated from Sanskrit, pranayama means “extension of the prana (breath or life force)” or “breath control”. The word is created from two Sanskrit words: prana, which means life force, and ayama, which means to restrain or control the prana. Essentially, pranayama can be described as the breathing techniques used within a yoga session.
  • Meditation: During meditation, you use a technique – such as mindfulness or focussing the mind on a certain object, thought, or activity – to achieve a mentally clear state. Many people meditate to reduce stress, anxiety, depression and pain, or to increase peace, perception, self-concept and well-being. Meditation is often used at the end of the yoga class to clear the mind before heading home.

yoga things to know

Remember That:

Results Take Time

While yoga does have some immediate benefits, most of them will take time. Don’t expect to see changes after your first session, particularly physical ones! Changing your body will take time, patience, and regular practice. Providing that you stick with it, though, you’ll get there in the end! If you want to speed up the process, consider practising at home in addition to your weekly class. Before doing so, make sure you’ve got suitable equipment and clothing.

Everyone Was New Once

Joining a new class can feel somewhat daunting. Walking into a room full of experienced yogis would make anyone feel a little intimidated! However, it’s important to remember that everyone was new once. The other practitioners will understand that you’re just beginning, and won’t pass judgement if you’re unsure of anything. Keep in mind that the other yogis may not be as experienced as you think. While some practitioners will be experts, others may have only recently started themselves. Throughout your first class, keep your eyes open for practitioners that look less experienced. At the start of your next session, position your mat close to theirs for some moral support! If your studio offers it, try using a beginner’s class before moving onto the standard sessions. This way, you’ll be surrounded by other yogis of a similar ability.

In Summary

After reading this article, you hopefully feel ready for your first yoga class. If there is anything you’re unsure of, try not to panic. The best thing to do is speak to your instructor before the class starts. To make sure there’s enough time, try to get to your session at least 15 minutes early. This way, you can introduce yourself and have a quick chat with your teacher before getting down to business. Providing that you take your yoga mat and some comfy yoga pants, you’ll have everything you need to practice yoga for the first time.

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