Five Tips for your first Yoga class

Annie Clarke of Mind Body Bowl is an experienced yogi and Lulu Lemon Ambassador. She has practiced with some of the best teachers, qualified in India and dedicated her life to the art of yoga.  Even after all these achievements she still remembers her first class! It can be hard to take the plunge, which is why we make our classes small so that you get much needed attention from your teacher. If you are thinking of coming to visit, but you are still a little unsure, Annie shares five of her top tips for your first yoga class.

Getting yourself to a yoga class for the first time can be a little nerve wracking! Whether or not you can touch your toes, it is hard to know what to expect and I know that a lot of new students are worried that they wont be any good. The most wonderful thing about yoga is that it doesn't matter who you are, what you do, whether you are bendy, strong or neither, it really doesn't matter in any way, shape or form!

But no matter what reassuring words you may have been given from friends, teachers or loved ones, it can still be pretty daunting. So I thought I would put together a few tips that you might find helpful when going to your first yoga class!

1. Be prepared

Check on the studio's website before you arrive to find out what you might need to bring. Some studios recommend that you bring your own mat (although most should have some to borrow so you don't have to splash out before you've even tried your first class), a bottle of water, a towel etc. And try to get to the studio a little bit early if you can to allow yourself to get signed up and settled in without feeling rushed or flustered. It is much easier to come prepared to help you feel relaxed when you arrive. 

2. Let the teacher know you are new

It may seem embarrassing to point out what might already seem obvious but it is so helpful for both you and your teacher if you tell them it is your first class, or one of your first few classes. They will be more likely to help you grasp the foundations by explaining certain things more thoroughly to make sure you stay safe in class.

3. Take it slow

When you are in a room full of yogis, it is tempting to try to keep up throughout the class and make sure you're not the one left panting on the mat while everyone flows around you. Don't be scared to take it at YOUR pace, get to grips with the more basic poses first and try not to push further than you want to go. You are still doing yourself a world of good by showing up so keep yourself (and those around you) safe and stay within your own limitations and abilities.

4. Don't take it too seriously 

There is a tendency to approach yoga with a serious and pressured attitude. Let it all go. No matter how stressed you may be feeling, or determined you are to nail a certain pose or sequence, being on the mat is about letting whatever happens happen and being ok with that. Some days you will do so much more than you knew you were capable of. Other days your body might need a little less push and a little more laughter. Have fun with your practice.

5. Ask questions

Don't be scared to hang around after class to ask questions. Teachers are still learning too and most of us were beginners not so long ago ourselves. Play, learn and grow. That is what it is all about!

For many of us it can be difficult to leave behind feelings of self-consciousness or competition that we have developed over many years of various activities and social situations. But really, yoga is about letting go of all that, finding a focus on yourself and giving you a sense of presence. The truth is that no one in a yoga class will be looking at you, unless they are a beginner too and probably just as clueless as you may feel - everyone has to start somewhere, so embrace the discomfort of it all, hop on a mat and begin to learn about something truly special...YOU!

Check out more from Annie on her website for videos, recipes and more top tips.