I have both taught and attended yoga classes for quiet a few years now and I began to wonder if I could have forgotten what it feels like to be a first timer. I decided to post the question on my Facebook page to gather a few first timer’s fears, originally I had collected them word for word but as you can imagine they weren’t all suitable for public reading. Here is an edited collection of those comments and my responses, hope you enjoy reading them and can maybe identify with some of them.
Are mats provided?Yes, most of the time, but if I were you I would invest in a mat once you have been to a couple of classes.
How many are in a class?In Yarm 12-14, at Everyone Active it’s up to 25, and in the community centre around 14-16.
How long are the classes?45 – 90 minutes depending on the class and centre
How much does it cost?Good question, yoga prices vary from town to town and teacher to teacher and in different studios. My classes start at £4.80 in the leisure centre. Or at Saltburn Community Centre it is £36 for 6 classes, whereas in Yarm at The Health Hub Clinic you would pay £48 for 6. Always ask about having a free taster session if you are unsure if it’s for you 😉
Will the class be full of beginners?In a beginner’s class, yes in
the other classes a general mixture.
What type of class am I joining? Yoga has many different styles, I teach three different intensities, try a couple of different ones to see what suits you best.
Do I need to be physically fit?No, yoga will help you to get fitter, start with a gentle style like Hatha and see how you feel.
Does age matter?You can yoga at any age, in my classes I have people from 16 up to 92 just be flexible in your mind and everything else will follow.
Can a fat bloke who’s not very bendy, likes beer and used to play rugby, do it?OMG yes of course. It is suitable men, in my classes more and more men are starting to attend, it isn’t just bendy women. There are classes specifically geared to men and classes with almost 50/50 male and female.
I have back pain – neck pain – poor flexibility – I’m pregnant: is your class still right for me?Some classes will still be right for you and others not, I can help you find the right class for you.
What do I wear on my feet?No shoes in yoga, it is a lovely feeling of everyone being the same barefooted in yoga.
What do I wear?Something you are comfortable in, a top that is either close to your body or one you can tuck in.
Do I have to take part in meditations?The practice of yoga is very personal to the individual, you don’t have to do anything that doesn’t sit well with you, just observe if it’s not for you.
Will I have to pretend to be all spiritual and say I feel stuff that I don’t or swear breathing does things it doesn’t? Of course, not, being genuine and honest is also something valued in yoga, be honest and be yourself.
Will I be corrected if I do something wrong, will you tell me what to avoid? Yes I will, just arrive in plenty of time or call me before the class so we can have a chat. If you have any problems or physical limitations I can take you through some alternative exercises before the class starts.
Will some attractive lady in a leotard draw attention to me in front of the whole class when my leg won’t go somewhere and start pushing it to help? No leotards I’m afraid, but I might try and help you get that leg a little further however, you always have the option to just say ‘please don’t adjust me’. You don’t have to be bendy, everyone is equal in yoga, some people are just flexible, come and find your own groove, there will be different modifications offered to try and make sure that there is a pose that will be suitable for you.
Hate to say it but wind and laughing were worries too?People do fart and it’s ok, yoga is moving everything around in your body and sometimes this can lead to a little trump, if that’s something that worries you it would be best to not eat anything at least 2 hours prior to a class, and yes please laugh it’s good to laugh!
“I might fall over! That was my worry when I started but I have discovered it doesn’t matter if you do (I’ve wobbled plenty). If you are worried what people will think, please don’t be. Honestly everyone else is concentrating on what they are doing and trying not falling over, so no one will notice if you do!” Sarah Lock, Redcar
“I was concerned if it was competitive, but it totally isn’t and all the people in the classes are so supportive of others”
My Husbands biggest reservation is that he doesn’t know the moves. So, he’d like the first class that he goes to be more about theory rather than trying to pick up the moves as he goes along. A beginner’s class is perfect for him then as it will explain everything in plenty of time and with smaller numbers so that he can pick things up and feel comfortable to try other classes.
What are the benefits of yoga? Numerous but here are the top physical ones: increased flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone, improved respiration, energy and vitality, maintaining a balanced metabolism, weight reduction, cardio health, improved athletic performance, protection from injury. The mental benefits include: relieves stress, aids problems sleeping, helps alleviate headaches, improves concentration, increases mood. The breathing and meditation side of yoga has also been known to create mental clarity, calmness, increase body awareness.
Is there a class etiquette?Mm this is a tricky one as yes there is, but in some environments, it goes out the window a little bit, here is a brief guide:
Remove your shoes and leave them at the entrance to the studio.
Turn off your mobile.
Arrive 5-10 minutes early.
Be aware of the space you take, try to stagger where possible so that everyone has a clear view.
Don’t stink out the room.
Don’t chat to the person next to you throughout the class.
Respect the teachers sequencing (don’t go rogue and do your own thang).
Don’t try to show off and impress anyone.
Put your equipment away after the class and clean your mat.
Don’t skip relaxation.
If you would still not sure it’s for you – here’s a few yogis from class, check us out, throwing shapes by the transporter bridge.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, hope to see you in class sometime.