Returning to yoga after a long absence or trying out classes for your very first time can be intimidating. But after overcoming the inevitable mental obstacles, the preparation for that initial class is actually pretty easy. Pre-game to get glowing with the ancient discipline, using these simple tips.
Before your first session, check out your studio’s offerings online and reach out with any questions about what is a good match for your capabilities. Beginners classes are a mainstay at most places.
Don’t worry about investing in fancy yoga gear. Old Navy has a great selection of workout clothes if starting fresh with pretty things to wear helps to motivate you (no shame, it works for me). But most anything soft and flexible will work. Bottoms can be basics like yoga or stretch pants, or comfy shorts. A comfortable tank, tee shirt, even a sports bra, is acceptable on top. Don’t wear anything that will cause you or others embarrassment if you’re inverted. Being comfortable with your body is wonderful but accidentally flashing strangers might not be. The same frugality can be applied to your equipment. See if your studio rents what you’ll need, most carry mats, and comparison shop online if you do need to invest in a few key items.
Scope out the parking situation in advance. Those cutie-pie hipster neighborhoods where yoga studios tend to thrive can have heinous street parking if they don’t have spaces allotted to their patrons. Pro tip: take your bike or walk if you can for a great warm-up.
Always arrive about fifteen minutes early, especially your first time, when preliminary paperwork will take a few moments. But as a general rule, you’re not going to want to come crashing in, disrupting a class that’s already in progress. Arriving super stressed because you barely made it in the nick of time is also a non-starter. (Another reason why checking out the parking is a good call.) You’ll be grateful you allowed yourself a few extra minutes to decompress, and perhaps even set up your mat depending on their class schedule. Maybe even peddle out your feet in a downward dog or two. Call to postpone or reschedule if you’re going to be too late.
Remember, most studios have a no shoes policy for both sanitary reasons and relaxation. Ditch those kicks once you get in the door. Stow your belongings in whatever storage units or lockers provided. Don’t clutter up practice space, or its adjacent areas, with your gym bag, shoes, phone, etc.
Speaking of phones: it never ceases to amaze me the places folks need a gentle reminder to turn off, and stay off of, their phones. From supposedly sophisticated audiences at concert halls and live stage performances, to the common sense movie theater situation, nothing is more jarring than a ringtone ringing loud and clear. The yoga studio is no exception. Don’t walk in chatting on it, hang up first. If you see you’re receiving a call and it must be answered, pick it up outside. But, just to be clear, you’re supposed to put your phone on silent or airplane mode and leave it alone. Leave it alone. Leave. It. Namaste. — Casandra Armour