Most yoga classes follow a similar script, although the details change based on the type of yoga you’re doing and the level of instruction. From the moment you step foot in the studio to the end of your first class, this is what you can expect.
- Check in at the reception desk. Show up a little early so you have time to get set up and find your space. Also, if it’s your first time, you may have to fill out paperwork before participating.
- Enter the studio and find your space. Take your shoes off before you enter. Lay your mat down so it’s facing the same direction as the other students’ mats. Ask the instructor if you’ll need any additional props for the class. Tell the instructor if it’s your first timequietly on your mat until the class starts. If you want, do a few of your own warm-up stretches before class begins.
- Follow the class flow. Classes typically start with basic breathing exercises and slower, more methodical poses to help you get warm. Some instructors may lead you in a series of “oms,” chants, or guided meditation before starting physical poses. Classes then build in speed and intensity, before gradually slowing back down again and doing deeper stretches. Many classes wrap up with seated, then lying poses, finishing with savasana, or “corpse pose,” an important relaxation period where your body takes in everything it’s learned before you transition back to everyday life.
- Classes often end with more deep breathing. Since yoga is about the breath as much as the physical practice, these final breathing exercises are a helpful reminder to stay focused on the breath as you go throughout the rest of your day. Don’t be caught off guard if your instructor leads you in a chant. You don’t have to participate if you don’t feel comfortable.
- Ask questions after class. Most instructors stick around to answer any questions you might have. This is a great time to get more information on specific poses or to simply develop a relationship with your instructor.
After class wraps up, take some time to think about the experience. Assess what you liked or didn’t like, and think about whether the speed and instruction were appropriate for your ability level. Armed with this information, you can decide whether to continue attending the same class in the future or to switch it up and try something different.
Yoga is a very personal practice. What’s safe and effective for one person may not be safe or effective for another. While most yoga poses are completely safe, it’s important to listen to your body and set your own limits as you go.
For instance, if you have low back issues, you may need to ask your teacher for modifications to basic poses like the standing forward fold or plow pose. And if you’re starting a home-based yoga practice, it’s particularly important to brush up on poses that are riskiest for beginners so you don’t try something you’re not ready for.
Just because poses like handstands and crows are popular to show off on Instagram, that doesn’t mean you’re ready to try them. Many yoga poses require substantial strength and balance that takes time to develop. Start by developing a basic practice and give yourself time to work up from there.
If you struggle through longer practices, don’t be embarrassed. Many new yogis are surprised by how challenging yoga can be.
Take breaks in child’s pose whenever you need to, and if you’d like, practice beginner yoga poses designed to help build strength when you have a few minutes on your own. Before you know it, you’ll be able to make it through a whole class like a champ.
There are a lot of myths surrounding the practice of yoga. But that’s just it—they’re myths, not reality. Believe it or not, yoga isn’t just for girls. You don’t have to be flexible to do yoga.
Yoga isn’t a religion. Yoga isn’t “too hard” or “too easy.” Yoga isn’t just for vegetarian hippies. Yoga is for everyone at every level, and yoga can fit into every lifestyle.
If you’re open to trying the practice, you just might discover how inclusive and uplifting yoga can be. Find more information at https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-get-started-with-yoga-4165462