I think this is the post that many or most yoga teachers at some point write. What pieces of advice would we give to a new yogi and their first time on the mat. The awesome thing is that as long as you come to the mat with good intentions, there’s no wrong reason. You may come to the mat for physical exertion, mental clarity, or emotional release. Any and all of those are valid and true reasons to unroll your mat and take that first class. But what expectations should you have as you come to class? Hopefully I will be able to address some concerns and further encourage you to start your path.
- Keep an open mind: I don’t think anything can ruin a first class more than to not be open to something new. Yes, with your first class, you may not know the name of a pose or understand the words the teacher is speaking, but if you are willing to try it, that alone is half the battle.
- Be comfortable: Yoga clothes don’t need to be the most expensive items picked meticulously from the specialty store. Wear clothes that allow movement, don’t bind or shift easily, and if they do shift (i.e. revealing your stomach), don’t worry about it. Make any adjustments and rejoin the class.
- Yoga is not the Olympics: Come to yoga out of a place of self improvement. Yoga is not a competition. Yes, someone next to you may be able to perform really cool transitions or are more flexible than you are. Who cares? Yoga is your own practice. And realizing that it’s detrimental to place too much weight on that which you can’t do or that which you cannot do as well, does nothing to help your path.
- Come back: Yogi secret coming up. There are teachers that we don’t enjoy to take from. Next yogi secret is that is OK. Just because your best friend connected with a teacher and their style does not mean that you will as well. Or that you should feel bad if you don’t. Much like flavors in food, we each have preferences for a teacher. Find one that best meets your needs.
There are more ideas I could recommend but those will come along. Most importantly, have fun. Enjoy the class for what it is and continue to work on finding time to get back on the mat.