When you are doing something for the first time, or when something is new to you, being intimidated is a normal feeling. It is understandable to feel anxious — the important thing is, you are finding ways to overcome your anxiety.
Yoga has gained so much popularity these days and many have heard of its benefits. However, not everyone has mustered up the courage to finally sign up for a yoga class. If you are one of those people and you have not yet tried your first yoga session, now is the time to consider doing it. But perhaps there are several questions going on in your brain.
“What if it’s too difficult?”
“What if I get injured?”
“What if I will make a fool of myself in front of others?”
“What if I couldn’t do the poses properly?”
And the list of your what-ifs goes on and on…
Now, before you torture yourself with such worries that should never be your concern in the first place, always remember that everyone in a yoga class, including the yoga teacher, has begun their practice as a first-timer sometime in their past. Mind you, there will even be yoga students in the class who are newbies too!
To help you prepare for that first personal and actual yoga experience, we have narrowed down seven useful must-knows for every first-time yoga student, which will surely come in handy.
Here are seven things you should know before going to your first yoga class:
1. It’s OK If You are Not Physically Flexible or Strong
Flexibility and strength are two of the many things that you will gain from a consistent and regular yoga practice. They are definitely not a pre-requisite! So don’t make a fuss if you cannot do a full split or even a half split. To be honest, no one really cares whether or not you can stand on your head right away or you can do a full-circle backbend.
2. No One is Really Looking at Your Armpits or Toenails
One of the most common (and absurd) excuses why some of people are putting off yoga is because, according to them, they have dark underarms. Others are hesitant because they have not gotten a pedicure yet.
It’s sweet that you are concerned about how your armpits and toenails would affect the class — but to tell you honestly, no one will ever get distracted by dark and hairy underarms or chipped-off toenail polish. Just make sure that you practice proper hygiene because having smelly pits or feet is another story.
3. It’s OK to Stop and Rest if You are Tired
Yoga is not a marathon. It is not a competition. Yoga is a journey towards yourself — as deep as it may sound, it’s just as simple as that. It is your body. You know your limits.
If you get tired and you think you need a break, just feel free to stop and rest. Don’t be shy. Get back up again to join the flow whenever you are ready. And never think you will make a fool of yourself here, because as a matter of fact, no one would mind.
4. It’s Rude to Talk with Your practice-Mates During a Class
Whether it’s yoga-related or not, talking with your classmate while the yoga class is ongoing is actually rude. It can cause distraction to others, more than your armpits could. And more so, it shows disrespect to the teacher. If you have concern about a certain yoga pose, don’t hesitate to discreetly get the attention of your teacher for assistance.
5. It’s rude to use your phone during a class
Just like chatting with you mat-mates, it’s also considered rude to use your phone or take phone calls during a class. Ideally, mobile devices should be switched off while you are doing your yoga practice to keep the solemnity of the practice for you and for everyone else.
However, if you really need to take that phone call, try to excuse yourself discreetly and get out of the practice room before you answer your phone. Keep your voice soft especially if you are still inside the vicinity where people inside the practice room may still hear you.
6. Your Teacher Would Be Happy to Help
It is understandable for first-timers to not want the attention and pretend they are invisible. But if you have questions, do not be embarrassed to ask the teacher. Yoga teachers love to assist their students more than anything else.
But they want their students to ask for help, because well, they are not mind-readers. If you think your questions can wait until after the class, that’s still OK. Just don’t be shy to ask.
7. Stay Until the Class is Finished
And I mean, really finished. Do not walk out, even if you think it is too difficult for you. If you think it’s too difficult, ask the teacher for help (see number 5) or take a rest (see number 3) — but never, ever roll your mat in the middle of the practice and leave — unless you really intend to all-out rude. This also means that you have to stay until after Savasana (corpse pose).
Yoga is a life-long journey.
Yoga is not just a first-try or one-time adventure. You have to keep on coming back, try different kinds of classes, and/or join different teachers to finally see and understand why you should make it a part of your lifestyle. Only with constant practice will you enjoy the many benefits of yoga and find its true bliss.
May you have a meaningful yoga journey.
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