Going to a Yoga class for the first time? No problem! Follow these simple but important rules.
If you have never been to a group yoga class before, it can be intimidating. We see yogis on social media balancing on their heads, or in one arm, or looking like a pretzel because they are so flexible, and that can be very intimidating for someone who is new to the practice.
The truth is, most yoga classes are not like that at all and most yogis go to class for themselves. There is no being good or bad at yoga. It is a practice and you practice whatever you are comfortable with following good alignment cues. That being said, there are a few rules that should be followed when going to a group yoga class. Follow them, and you will be just fine.
Choose a class that is right for you
When checking your studio’s schedule, make sure that you are signing up for a class that is appropriate for your level. If you have never practiced before a Level I, or beginner class is probably a good way to go. These classes are usually focused on proper alignment and cover the basics and fundamentals of yoga.
Get to class early
If it's your first time at a studio, you will probably have to sign a form and check in with the front desk. Arriving early also allows you to calmly walk into the studio, find a space, unroll your eco-friendly cork mat, and collect any props necessary for the class such as straps, blocks etc. This time also allows you to get into the right mindset.
Do not bring your shoes into the shala
Most yoga studios require you to take your shoes off at a designated area prior to coming into the shala where classes are held. If you go to a yoga class at your local gym, take your shoes off prior to entering the yoga studio. There are cultural and spiritual reasons for this, but yoga is also practiced on the floor, so bringing your shoes into the space where you are practicing will make it unclean.
Do not bring your phone into the class
Or make sure your phone is on silent to avoid disrupting the class and you. This is your time to disconnect from the world and connect to yourself!
Bring your own yoga mat or a towel if you don't have one
Most yoga studios and gyms will offer yoga mat rentals if you don't have your own. If this is the case, bring a towel to use as a liner it you are using a communal yoga mat. You are going to have your face down on that mat and chances are it has not been properly disinfected since the last yogi sweat all over it. We strongly recommend bringing your own yoga mat for hygiene purposes and to avoid the rental fees. The other advantage of having your own yoga mat, is that you get to choose what you practice on. An eco-friendly natural yoga mat like Shakti Warrior mats are 100% chemical free, allergen free, they wont smell and are anti slip. Plus your mat is your sacred space, choose wisely!
Avoid perfumes or strong scents
These can be distracting or unpleasant to some of the other yogis in the class. Skip the perfume, but never the shower prior to class.
Stay for the entire class
Plan to stay for the full class, if you know you have to leave early, find space near the exit so you do not have to step over fellow yogis on your way out, or on their mat. When you are ready to leave, do so before Savasana or corpse pose. This last pose is the final period of relaxation at the end of the class and it is very important, so make sure you do not distract anyone by leaving during this time.
Clean up after the class.
Make sure you wipe down all the props and put them back where you found them so they are ready for the next class.
Be kind, respectful and leave all judgment at the door
Finally, yoga class is meant to be a safe space where we go to work on ourselves and the attention should be inward. Yoga is also a practice that can stir emotions as well as internal gases and bodily fluids, so if you experience any of these simply accept it and move through it. Don’t judge yourself or others, be respectful and compassionate.
So there you have it, follow these simple rules and get ready to unroll your yoga mat!
-- by Viviana Wilches
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