Chances are that someone you know – a friend, coworker, or maybe just someone you follow on Instagram – is a devotee of the ancient practice of yoga, says Daniele Jarman of Sarasota. And if so, they have probably also raved to you about how calm and centered it makes them feel, how strong their core has gotten, and how it has changed their relationship with their own body. It sounds pretty amazing, so you’ve decided to check out a class for yourself. What should you know before you go?
Yoga teacher Danielle Jarman of Sarasota has a few words of wisdom for anyone who wants to experience the many benefits of yoga, but who might be a bit apprehensive or intimidated.
Choose the Right Kind of Class
You won’t have a very good time if you opt for a difficult or demanding class right off the bat, Daniele Jarman of Sarasota explains. As intriguing as that Bikram class sounds, stick to an introductory session. Yoga classes advertised as relaxing or restorative are also usually beginner-friendly. If in doubt, call the school or the instructor and ask them what they’d recommend based on your yoga experience and fitness level. You’re much more likely to reap benefits if you’re not struggling to keep up.
Wear the Right Kind of Clothing
No, this isn’t an excuse to go shopping for a new Lululemon outfit. (Although it can be, if you want to!) Danielle Jarman of Sarasota says that while pricey athleisure wear might look good in those IG snaps you’ll take once you’ve achieved that post-yoga glow, they are certainly not necessary. Instead, you can wear anything that is comfortable and easy to move in.
Most folks opt for either loose-fitting pants or snug-fitting leggings; just steer clear of anything with a very wide leg that could trip you up, such as palazzo pants. On top, try an athletic tank or fitted t-shirt. Again, baggy shirts can get in the way, especially as you tackle inverted poses like downward-facing dog.
It is customary to practice yoga in bare feet. Socks can be too slippery, and don’t allow your toes to grip the mat properly. However, for some restorative classes that are low to the mat, socks might not be necessary. Ask the instructor if you are unsure.
Bring the Right Kind of Stuff
The only thing you really need to bring is a water bottle – and an open mind. If you don’t have your own mat, no worries. Almost every studio has loaners, Daniele Jarman of Sarasota explains. The same goes for blankets, bolsters, straps, and blocks. As you get more involved in your yoga practice, you can invest in your own gear, but when you’re just starting out, using the studio’s stuff will suffice.
Have the Right Kind of Attitude
Danielle Jarman of Sarasota says that you’ll have the best experience at a yoga class if you relax and remember that this activity is supposed to be enjoyable. It’s absolutely not about impressing anyone else or mastering the poses on your very first try. After all, they call it “practicing” yoga for a reason! Don’t be too concerned about contorting your body into the shape of every pose; rather, focus on the sensation in your body.
Never do any pose that causes pain; always feel free to modify a pose to your ability or comfort level. Should you need help, catch the instructor’s eye or raise your hand. Daniele Jarman of Sarasota will be happy to adjust your body or give you suggestions for how to perform a pose in a way that honors its intention but also feels good in your body.
Above all, yoga should feel good – both while you are doing it, and afterward! Expect to get hooked on this form of exercise that nourishes not just your body but also your heart and soul.