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5 Things to Know Before Your First Yoga Class

After months of hearing how great it is from your friends, you finally made the commitment. You’re doing it: your very first yoga class.

Group classes can feel intimidating at first, so here are some tips on how to prepare for that initial visit to the Savasanakingdom to make it a more enjoyable experience.

1. Pick the right class.

Classes labeled “beginners” are helpful because they will generally explain the poses. You can take an all-levels class, but chances are the instructor won’t take the time to explain how to get into every pose—they might call out Warrior 2 and assume you know the pose.

Be aware of your own comfort level. If you like things to be broken down and explained, choose a beginners class. What you don’t want to do is stumble into a level 2 or 3 class. It will be challenging for you and challenging for the instructor. Be OK with starting small and working your way up.

2. Props are your friends.

Blocks and straps are great tools for the starter yogi. It can take months of practice to touch your toes, so a block helps to bring the ground closer to you. Grab two blocks and a strap when you take your first class, and listen to the teacher’s cues as to when to put them to use.

3. Talk to the teacher.

Introduce yourself to the teacher and let them know it’s your first class. That way they can be aware and make sure you’re not at risk for injury. Keep in mind that in group classes, there are other students in the room, so the teacher can’t have their eye on you at all times. Listen to your body cues, and if something is hurting you, back off. A good rule is that sensation is good, pain is not. Alternatively, if you can financially afford it, taking a few private lessons one-on-one with a yoga teacher can help you nail the correct form more quickly.

4. Bring the right gear.

Most people are shocked by how sweaty they get from their first yoga class. Studios have specific insights on their website letting you know what to expect from their classes, but a safe bet is to bring a mat and towel or rent one from the studio, and wear sweat-wicking clothing that allows you to move freely. It’s also a smart move to bring a top layer, like a long-sleeved shirt, that you can put on during the final relaxation pose.

5. Come with an open mind.

There might be some weird stuff that happens (Chanting? Lion’s breath? Mula bandha?!) and it’s all part of the experience. Yoga increases health, flexibility, and the mind/body connection, along with lowering stress and balancing your hormones. This ancient practice has lots of modern day applications, and as long as you are open and receptive to it, you’ll get your own key to the Savasana kingdom. Namaste!

Amy Dannheim
A creative leader in the Miami yoga community, Amy Dannheim is passionate about yoga, plant-based recipes and healthy living. With her degree in journalism from the University of Florida, Amy is a yoga writer and blogger as well as the co-host for Radio 1Om8, a weekly live yoga radio show. After years of working with lululemon, Amy established herself as the go-to person for yoga consulting in Miami, with her finger on the pulse of the yoga community. When she’s not strategizing or cooking, Amy teaches dynamic vinyasa yoga classes that are layered with hip-hop and spirituality, drawing inspiration from her frequent travels. Amy sits on the Green Monkey Yoga teacher training faculty and leads regular workshops and innovative events throughout South Florida. Amy is also a VitaCoco and Funky Yoga ambassador and has appeared on the pages of Wall Street Journal, on lululemon.com and shape.com. She lives in Miami Beach with her husband and fellow yogi, Mike, where they run their bike centric community & clothing company Purdy Ave. Follow her blog at www.miamyyoga.com or find her adventures on Instagram @miamy.