Entering a yoga class for the first time can be a bit intimidating for some people because you are stepping outside of the place that makes you feel safe — your comfort zone! However, introducing yourself to a fun new type of training that brings you out of your comfort zone is an excellent way to progress your fitness, and yoga offers up a plethora of mind and body benefits, including increasing your flexibility, strengthening your core muscles, and alleviating stress. With all that considered, it might be time for you to take a step outside your comfort zone and into your first yoga class![i]
The first thing you’ll want to do is find a yoga class that suits your schedule. Just click the link below to find an ideal LA Fitness yoga class that works for you!
You may also consider bringing a friend along to share your exciting new experience. Having a familiar face by your side when you are branching outside of your comfort zone and trying something new may help you feel more relaxed — which is important for yoga!
In terms of what to bring in your gym bag, make sure you pack a water bottle and a towel! Even though yoga doesn’t involve fast-paced movements, it can cause you to sweat quite a bit so it’s important to drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated. Also, make sure to use your towel to stay dry so you feel comfortable and avoid slipping!
Lastly, you may want to consider showing up a few minutes early according to LA Fitness yoga instructor Jennifer Le, who recommends, “Come early and introduce yourself to the instructor so he/she can be aware of any injuries and advise you where you should modify.” The following three tips are also provided by Jennifer Le:
3 Tips for Your First Class
Listen to Your Instructor
“It is a natural tendency to look around at other students to see if you’re doing it correctly, but just LISTEN to the instructor’s cues and directions. You know your own body more than you think you do. Plus, listening rather than looking around will prevent any neck injuries when you’re in certain postures.”
Sit Front and Center
“Sit in the middle or front row of the room. Trust me. You’re probably thinking, ‘Absolutely not! I don’t know what I’m doing!’ But that’s why you should sit closer up front! In yoga, we’re often in different poses that might require you look in different directions and sometimes it helps you see someone next to you or behind you.”
Take Your Level
“Throughout the class, if your instructor says ‘Listen to your body’ – it simply means to take your level into account! If you’re new to yoga, perform modifications suggested by your instructor. It doesn’t mean you’re ‘weak’; you just have to build your strength.”
A Common Pose and Layers
The types of poses you do in a class can vary based on the day you go or the instructor, but there are several basic poses that you will encounter in most yoga classes. One of those poses is the chaturanga dandasana, or yoga pushup. Here are a few examples of different layers, or modifications, for the chaturanga dandasana based on three different levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced.
Use an easier layer if you can’t perform this pose without following the two tips for the chaturanga dandasana pose below:
Tip: Don’t allow your lower back to droop and keep your core engaged.
Tip: Do not let your shoulders go lower than your elbows! This may cause damage to your rotator cuff.
That’s it! You’re officially ready to step outside your comfort zone and take your first yoga class. Lastly, remember two things: “BREATHE and HAVE FUN!” Namaste!