Here are a few tips to help you navigate your first yoga class. Remember: don’t be intimidated! The yoga community is centered around compassion and non-judgment—you’re in a safe space.
DO find an instructor you like
Just like there are different kinds of yoga you can try, each yoga instructor has a different teaching style. You might find one whose teaching style you like right away, or you might try a few different classes to see what you prefer best.
DON’T take a hot yoga class right out the gate
Look for beginner classes in either Hatha or Vinyasa. Hot yoga is fun, but save the heat for later on once you’ve mastered some of the poses because yes, the heat makes it harder!
DO let the instructor know you’re new
Instructors will offer more support and guidance if they know it’s your first time. They may suggest modifications or offer to stay and provide additional help. Don’t hide in the back if you want to find success.
DON’T bring your cell phone
Nothing kills the vibe of a yoga class more than someone’s ringtone going off—leave your phone in the lockers or cubbies that most studios and gyms have.
DO let the instructor know if you want to be adjusted or not
Before you begin any yoga class, the instructor will likely ask the class to raise their hands if they do not want to be adjusted during the class. Adjustments are used to help you perform your poses with proper form. Most yoga instructors will walk around the class and gently place their hands on you to help you find proper form if you need some adjustment. However, if you’d prefer not to be touched, there is no shame in raising your hand and saying you’d prefer not to be adjusted. It’s whatever you’re comfortable with, and the instructor wants you to enjoy your practice.
DON’T wear an oversized t-shirt or sweats
The minute you find your first downward dog, that big t-shirt will fall over your head, be covering your face and exposing your belly. Yoga should be done in fitted or gently fitted clothing. You can even put your clothes on at home and try out a few poses to be certain.
DON’T walk out during the final relaxation
No matter what your personality is—yes, even if you are “Type A”—it is healthy and important for you to be still for a few moments and to train your body and mind to relax. Think of it as your dessert after a healthy meal. If for not other reason, however, don’t walk out during final savasana because you will annoy the other class members! It’s a no-no.
DO consider buying a package
Drop-in classes at most yoga studios will be pricier than if you buy a package of ten classes at a time or one month unlimited. If you want to go back after your first class, consider buying a package to save money.
DON’T go to class on a full stomach
A small snack an hour beforehand is perfect. 100-200 calories of something that sits well in your stomach like a banana or toast with peanut butter is perfect. A full meal is not. You bend, twist and move in ways that likely won’t work on a full tummy.
DO see if you need to bring your own yoga mat
Call ahead and find out if mats are provided. Sometimes they are, sometimes they are for a cost, and sometimes you have to bring your own. Find out in advance. Don’t forget to bring a small towel for your sweat and a bottle of water.
DON’T be afraid to go to child’s pose if you need
Yoga is challenging—it forces us to sit in discomfort, both physically and mentally as we work through hard poses and our brain’s own belief that “I can’t do this!” Any yoga instructor worth their salt will both encourage you to work through discomfort but also let you know that it’s fine to go into child’s pose—a comforting pose—whenever you need. Yoga is all about your individual journey.
DO try yoga at home!
Taking yoga classes at a studio or gym is great to get started, but once you’ve got your poses down, don’t be afraid to practice yoga at home, too.