6 Tips For Beginners In Yoga Class Who Have No Clue What The Instructor's Trying To Tell Them
When you're new to yoga, going to your first class can be intimidating as hell. Even though I'm a certified yoga instructor now, I can vividly remember absolutely despising the first class I ever went to, and that was mainly due to the fact that I had no clue WTF I was doing. TBH, I probably should've looked up some tips for beginners in yoga instead of blindly throwing on some Lululemon leggings and hoping for the best, but I digress.
Walking into your first yoga class feels kind of like losing your only friend at a frat party: You're likely to feel lost and confused AF, and you might find yourself frantically glancing around the room for some sort of guidance.
But trust me, all your feelings of uncertainty and hesitation are mostly in your own head, and once you manage to relax and focus on your breathing, you'll realize that what you signed up for is actually an incredibly rejuvenating experience where there are absolutely no expectations or judgments thrust upon you.
So, whether you've already hit up your first yoga flow and feel bewildered by the experience, or you're planning to take a beginner's class in the near future, here are six tips you should definitely take with you out the door and onto the mat.
1. Try Not To Take Everything Your Teacher Says Literally
It can be freaking exhausting trying to decode all of the yogi lingo being thrown around in your first class. Hopefully your teacher isn't using too much Sanskrit when she's describing the poses, but even if she is, the English translation should be accompanying it, so listen closely.
But on top of the sprinkling of ancient dialect, the alignment cues can be pretty confusing, too. I'm talking phrases like, "tuck in your tailbone," or "soften your ribs." Like, I'm pretty sure there's no way I can physically soften my bones, right?
Basically, try not to take the anatomical cues too literally. They might sound weird and confusing at first, but as you continue to attend class after class, you and your body will start to get the hang of what your teacher's really trying to tell you.
2. Don't Hit Up Chipotle Before Class
Yes, I've done this. No, it was not pretty. Let's just say burrito bowls and downward facing dog do not mix.
If you want to keep your stomach happy, try not to eat a heavy meal of any kind before class, and definitely do what you can to avoid greasy, fried foods specifically.
Try having a light snack about an hour or two before your flow. This will give you all the energy you need to slay those sun salutations without running the risk of contaminating the yoga studio with your low-key toxic burrito farts.
3. Loose-Fitting Shirts Are The Enemy
You probably think that looser fitting clothes leave more to the imagination than a snug ensemble, but believe it or not, it's actually the exact opposite case when it comes to yoga.
Wearing a flowy tank top or a baggy T-shirt will let it all hang out for the world to see by the time you move into downward facing dog. Plus, you're not going to be able to see a damn thing with your shirt all up in your face.
On a similar note, be sure to secure your boobs with a quality sports bra that helps you feel as comfortable as possible, and at the same time, ensures that you're not running the risk of an accidental nip slip.
4. Silence Your Phone Or Leave It In The Car
There's nothing worse than when you're lying in savasana at the end of class, and someone's phone goes off and totally disturbs your one moment of zen.
Oh wait, I lied: what's worse is when you realize it's your phone going off.
Personally, whenever I go to yoga class, I just leave my phone in the car. It honestly feels good to have something in my life that doesn't require my phone to be by my side, and leaving it behind is a great way to stay present and show respect toward your teacher and fellow yogis.
5. Don't Compare Yourself To The Contortionist Next To You
As a beginner, it can be way too tempting to compare yourself to advanced yogis in the room.
Remind yourself that even the bendiest chicks in the room had to start somewhere, and you're totally capable of getting to their level one day. For now, enjoy the journey of learning what your body can do, and more importantly, what makes it feel good.
6. Try Not To Dip Out During Savasana
Savasana is basically like an incredible power nap at the end of your yoga practice. It's when you lie on your back with your eyes closed for about five straight minutes, and you just zone the f*ck out.
On the real, savasana is usually everyone's favorite part of a yoga class, but there are still some yogis who routinely skip out on the experience.
Overall, it's best not to leave during this time, especially because it's very quiet in the room, and gathering your personal belongings will likely distract everyone else while they're meditating and trying to relax.
If you know you absolutely need to skip out on savasana, make sure to tell your instructor before class, and try to set up your mat closer to the door so you can sneak out in silence.