Top 5 Things to Know Before Your First Yoga Class

beginner beginner yoga class descriptions first class newbie what to know Apr 13, 2021

As a yoga studio owners for over 7 years, we often hear the same questions come from our newbies who are looking to start a yoga practice. You know… the basics.

  • What do we wear?
  • What class do I start with?
  • Is there anything I should know before I come to class? 

Simple questions that help us go from nervous to that feeling of confidence.

Here were will review those questions so that you can walk into your first class with confidence that you are prepared and ready to flow on your mat. Let’s go!

 What class should I start with?

For most beginners, this is the first question. They pick up a schedule, see many options and a lot of new terms that they haven’t seen before or in a long time. Here is a break down of most class titles to give you a level of confidence that you are joining the right class for where you are today. 

  • Gentle:

    •  Beginner friendly class that offers a slower pace with more detailed instruction. It is great for someone who hasn’t been very active recently or someone who is looking for a slower paced class.

  • Level 1:

    •  Beginner friendly class that great for someone new to yoga who is looking to build a yoga practice or an experienced yogi who is looking for a foundational class. Expect more movement than a gentle practice. By more movement, we mean that you will go from standing to floor poses multiple times throughout class. This builds strength and endurance. 

  • Level 2:

    •  NOT beginner friendly. A Level 2 class builds on the knowledge base and strength that you have built in your Level 1 classes. Students are lead through more advanced versions of yoga poses and sequences.

  • Vinyasa:

    •  Vinyasa is a fancy yoga word for ‘flow’. In a Vinyasa class, the student will move from pose to pose linking movement to breath. Gentle, Level 1 and Level 2 classes are all “Vinyasa” Yoga meaning that you will move from each pose in a fluid sequence holding each pose from 1 to 5 breaths. 

  • Restorative:

    •  Beginner friendly class that utilizes props such as bolsters, straps, blankets and sandbags to position the body into poses that lengthen your body through the use of gravity. It is deeply restoring, hence the name. Each pose is held for 5-10 mins in a calm, relaxing setting. While some restorative classes open with a gentle, slow-paced flow to open the body, the majority of class will be in a resting position without a flow from pose to pose. Take this class if you are looking to deeply relax and restore your body.

Make sure to arrive at least 10 minutes prior to class. This allows for ease in the transition from your everyday life into your yoga class.

With this being your first class, let the teacher know at the prior to starting class so that they can address any questions you might have. He/she will likely give you some tips that will help you feel more comfortable with the poses the teacher is about to lead you through.

Want to learn more on class descriptions? Check out our video on YouTube for a detail of each class type. 

 What do I wear?

Choose something that you can move in that is also comfy at the same time.

Yoga pants come in all forms: tight like leggings, loose like sweatpants or in between like joggers. Really, any pant that you can move in all directions in… is a yoga pant. 

For a top, choose something that is close fitting. That can be a T-shirt, tank top or even a sports bra. If you are cold natured, start in layers so that you can peel them off as your body temperature begins to heat up during class. I often start with a long sleeve shirt on top of a tank top. Its nice to have the long sleeve option for the beginning prior getting into the flow of class and then at the end when we cool down and lay in our final pose to rest.  

Remember: The only thing that matters about what you wear to yoga class is that you both feel comfortable in it and that you can move in it. Everything else … let it be. 

What should I bring?

The Yoga essentials are a mat and a water bottle

When picking out a yoga mat, look for a yoga mat that is thin, with a bit of grip in a color that either makes you happy or relaxed. Whatever feeling you are looking to achieve.

We picked out two options if you do not already own a yoga mat.

The Ewedoos Mat is budget friendly under $25, comes in great colors and is grippy while not being too thick. The mat we sell in the studio is the Jade Mat. We love Jade Mats as they have a great grip to them so that when you get a little sweaty, your foot/hand stays where it's supposed to be. Bonus, they come in many colors and are eco-friendly company.

Caution if you plan to use your thicker Pilates Mat. Many beginner students come in for their first class with a Pilates mat because they think the extra cushion will be helpful. We steer students away from the Pilates mat as they extra cushion tends to be slippery and makes it more difficult for your balance in poses. 

Lastly, we can’t say enough for the importance of hydration. Grab a water bottle for mid-class sips and after class rehydration.  

What do I do when I step into class?

First thing you will want to do is to take a deep breath and smile. YOU MADE IT!

The hardest part of yoga is getting yourself there! 

After that smile, let your teacher know that it is your first class and ask any questions that are on your mind. The teacher will point you in the direction of where to roll out your mat and what props to grab from the prop wall. Some classes will use many props and others no props at all, so its always good to ask. I also suggest looking at your teacher’s mat to see what props he/she has pulled out. That is also a good indication about what props you will need. 

From there, have a seat on your mat and relax because the fun is just about to begin!

 The Most Important Guidance to Consider 

The best time to start is now.

I remember my first class very well. I was intimidated by everything. I was nervous that I wouldn’t know what to do, about where to place my mat and if I looked like a beginner. 

What I didn’t know is that everyone in that room was rooting for me to win. The people that surrounded me were there to feel better in their own body, not to judge mine. That THIS space – it was a safe space for me to just be. 

The most important part of your yoga practice is just that – it is a practice. Stepping on your mat is the first step to a beautiful journey of self discovery, feeling comfortable in your body and more relaxed in your mind. Everyone is rooting for you. 

One thing we know for certain is that no one walks out of a yoga session saying they wish they never came. Now that you have read this, you will also walk into your Yoga class feeling confident and ready for the experience! 

Want to learn more about yoga as a beginner? Join us for our Yoga for Beginner’s Course. Sign up today with this link!

Are you a visual learner?

If so, checkout all of our tips for taking your first class on YouTube. 

Want to learn more about yoga?

Join us for our Yoga for Beginner’s Course. Sign up today with the link below!

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