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How to Get Up the Nerve to Go to Your First Yoga Class

How to Get Up the Nerve to Go to Your First Yoga Class
From Lifehacker - September 15, 2017

If youve never done yoga, it looks intimidating. People are flexible, fit, trendily dressedwait, I might be thinking of Lululemon ads rather than actual yoga classes. It turns out you can have a great experience at a yoga class even when youre brand new, and we asked yoga instructors how.

Get out those Trapper Keepers and sharpen your No. 2 pencilsits Back-to-School Week! Going far beyond the classroom, were bringing you genius tricks and ideas on how to start routines, brush up on old skills or learn something new this fall.

You dont need to be great at yoga to start trying to do yoga. Makes sense when you say it like that, right? There will be a learning curve, and thats okay.

I always encourage the beginners to set the intention of have some fun and dont take yourself too seriously at the beginning of class. Bringing a friend along always helps, everything is better when shared, right! Everyone is in the same boat, so there is no need to be embarrassed. There is a saying that goes something like this - saying youre not flexible enough for yoga is like saying youre too dirty to take a bath. Megan, YogaLife

Try It Out at Home

An easy way to know what youre getting into is to check out yoga videos online. There are some great yoga sessions on our list of the best YouTube workout channels, for example.

By watching, and by reading up as needed (the Yoga 101 section on Yoga Journal is great) you can become more familiar with the terms instructors use, and common poses and how to do them. For example:

Several of the yoga instructors we talked to suggested trying videos at home first, but one, Chris Lucas, points out that you can hurt yourself if you dont know what youre doing. He runs a video coaching service, so he would say that, but its a good point: if anything hurts or feels wrong, stop. You can ask an instructor about it when you see one in person.

Find a Beginner-Friendly Class

Yoga classes are everywhere: yoga studios, of course, but gyms also hold yoga classes and its not hard to find community events like a yoga in the park day. But if you want the most welcoming experience, take the time to do your homework rather than tagging along with whatever your yoga expert friend wants to do.

Thats because even if classes say theyre for all levels, or no experience necessary, that doesnt mean theyre beginner friendly. (Some are, but it depends.) I went to an all levels yoga class at a brewery once, thinking wed do some half-assed yoga and then all go get a beer, but the instructor quickly talked us through a 75-minute flow of moves that she only described with their Sanskrit names. By the end I really felt like I deserved that beer. But if I hadnt been practicing yoga for years, I would have been lost.

Take an actual beginner or basic class- not open level. Beginner classes go over the fundamentals of yoga and the basic poses that eventually lead into more complex movements. - Rebecca Weible, YoYoga

Call up the yoga studio (or email the instructor) and ask whether theyd recommend their class for a total beginner. If youre still feeling nervous, and have a few bucks to spare, ask about a private session. With one-on-one coaching, you can ask all the embarrassing questions you want, and youll leave with a better understanding of what you should actually be doing when you come to class.

Jodi Gonzales of ArtYogaWellness suggests looking for a Hatha yoga class; these tend to be gentle and beginner-friendly. She also points out that hospitals and clinics sometimes offer adaptive yoga that is good for people with disabilities or health concerns.

If you do have yoga-practicing friends, ask where they go and what they like about their studio or instructor. This isnt really to suss out the level, but more to get the vibe of the place. Some instructors are very serious, and others are more laid-back. Some like to walk around the room and reposition your body if youre not quite getting the right posture; others will stay on their mat and leave you alone. If you dont have a friend to give insider info, its fine to ask the instructor these questions, too.

Go to your first class with a friend, call the studio ahead of time, and ask the questions that have kept you from trying a class in the past. Fear of the unknown is the first hurdle to jump over so the more you understand ahead of time, the less intimidated youll feel in the moment. Dr. Jodi Ashbrook

Prepare and Go

Enjoy the Class

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