Previously I’ve mentioned some good yoga mats already for beginners, but then it hit me that maybe it’s also good to explain what you can expect from your first yoga class. It might be that some of you here might already have the idea to go to a yoga class and you might even have bought your first yoga mat already, but taking that first step to the yoga mat can be hard and intimidating sometime.
Even as a teacher sometimes it was hard for me to go to my first class in a new studio. The yoga world is growing and sometimes it might be even a little bit superficial, but please don’t let that stop you from going. The only reason why you should be going to your first yoga class is only and just for yourself.
So as I mentioned above here, there are a few reasons why you could be starting off with yoga. It might be that you’re in a job that’s quite stressful and you need some relieve, it might be that you’re having some issues with your body like joint pains, back pains, etc, or it might just be because you see that it’s popular and you would like to give it a try. Those are all good reasons to go to a class.
You just have to set it straight with yourself and see what the reason is that you want to go, just to make sure that what you are expecting is in line with what you will be getting. There are numerous yoga studios out there and quite frankly, they’re not gonna fit you all. With the growth of yoga also came a lot of new yoga styles and a bunch of new yoga teachers. So before you head into your first yoga class it would be good to check out the best studio/teacher that is fitting for you.
What are the different kind of yoga styles and what would be the best one for you? That’s not always an easy answer as your mood, your body, your general flow, also changes.
I would always suggest going to a yoga studio where they have different teachers teaching in different styles, that way you could experience a bit for yourself what would be the style that would fit you best. After a while you’ll find your favorite style and probably get hooked on that one :).
The softer styles you have within the whole yoga spectrum are good for people who have a high paced life and need some time to just sit still and relax. The yoga styles that would be suiting for you are for example yin and hatha. Yin and hatha aren’t always (but can be) putting a lot of movement on the body and will make sure that your body can replenish after a very busy day.
If you are looking for the same relaxation but you also would like to give your body a little workout, then Iyengar yoga might be more suiting for you. For people who are burned out, are going towards a burn-out, then there is one more style that migth be really fitting for you, which is Restorative yoga. This one is in particular also perfect for people who are having a lot of pain in their body.
For people who are more looking for a workout and relaxation session, then Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Bikram will do. Expect some good sweat from this yoga class as they are quite vigorous and fast-paced. They’re quite nice for people who are looking for their own boundaries and want a bit of a challenge. I always recommend it to people who also have mainly a sitting job as that quite often makes your body a bit unaware of it’s own limits. Going into a flowing yoga class might help you to create a good blood flow and getting a better posture.
If you are more looking for the whole spiritual experience, of course they’re all good, but then there are a few styles that are going to give you a better view on the whole philosophy of yoga as well. These styles include Kundalini yoga and Jivamukti yoga.
I’m not gonna explain all of these styles seperately as I think there will be also some information on the websites of the studios you’ll be looking into.
In the search for the studio that might be best fitting with you, it might be good in the beginning not to stick with one studio. These days competition is hard, there are a lot of yoga studios and normally they all have a free trial, or they give a discount on your first classes. You’d really want to go to a studio that you really like and where you really feel comfortable. If there’s a lack in one of those two, then don’t be shy to move on to another one. As a yoga teacher myself it’s hard to see someone leave your classes, but after a while you learn that you can’t please everyone, that’s just life.
Some good things to also have a look at is what you really want. If you are someone who is rather shy and doesn’t want to be in a big group, then maybe it’s best to start in a smaller yoga studio where they have smaller groups going on. This way it’s also nice to get some extra personal attention, especially the first time you go when they are throwing Sanskrit names at you that you’ve never heard about. Smaller yoga studios are good to give you more guidance and give you that little extra individual support that you might need.
If you’re not afraid to perform in a crowd, it’s nice to go to a larger studio. They’re often less expensive as they’re hosting larger groups, and it’s nice to be part of a bigger community as well. To meet some new people, share experiences, go for a tea. You’ll find that the yoga community in general is quite a soft one too with people really looking for deep relaxation. Most people are there for that purpose, so share with them, open up with them and they might come up with ideas for you as well.
If you’re more of a nature person, then you’re also quite lucky. As you only need a mat doing yoga, and because mats are quite easy to transport these days, made that a lot of teachers also offer classes in the park or at the beach. That way you don’t have to worry that you’re sweating as the open air will carry on your stench.
Also, if you’re not into going to a studio at all and you’d rather don’t want to participate in group, or the class’ schedule isn’t just fitting for you, then you can always decide to do online classes. There are very good programs these days to find online, where you can just be in your own pace, choosing the style you want, the teacher you want, etc.
There are a lot of things to think about before you go to your first yoga class. I’ve just given a few things you might want to think about before you go, just to make sure that you’ll find that class that you will enjoy so much! What to expect during the yoga class? Well, that’s up to you. Every person has their own expectations going on and I feel that when you can just go with an open mind, already trying out the style or teacher that fits you best, then that’s the best guideline you can have for a very good class. I hope you’ll enjoy your first class, feel free to leave a comment or question below. And as always:
This Post Has 18 Comments
In the last few years, I have let myself get out of shape. I am not anywhere nearly as flexible as I used to be. So, I’ve been thinking about starting yoga again.
I did not realize that there was so many types of classes. In one way, I like the idea of outdoor classes because you wouldn’t have to see yourself in the mirror. But then again, it is helpful to check your body position in the mirror. I don’t mind the people all that much.
After reading your post, I think I may do some studio hopping at first. That will allow me to figure out if I am really wanting a restorative type of yoga or one that is a bit more of a workout. Thanks.
Hi Sondra! Thank you for your reply! First of all I’d like to say that I’m not so fond of yoga studios that have mirrors in them. Just because of the reason they can be a big distraction and put the focus outside of yourself again instead of inside. I feel that when you have a good yoga teacher standing at the front of the studio he/she will be aware of you body position or alignment as they call it in yoga. The teacher will correct your poses and it’s more about the feeling it gives you, more than how your position looks like. After a while you’ll know what I’m talking about, the more aware you become of your body, the more you’ll feel the right way to go into a position! So if you don’t like to look at yourself in the mirror while doing yoga, then please don’t :), there should be plenty of studios that don’t have mirrors in them!
I honestly did not know there was so much to consider before going to a yoga class. I like that you explained that there are many different types and that each is better suited to different types of people with different types of lifestyles or habits.
I really never realized that there are that many differences between yoga studios. The only terms I’ve heard before now were yoga and hot yoga (which I believe is quite self explanatory).
I think I will need to look into this further before deciding whether yoga is for me or not.
I also took a look at a few of your articles on mats, and that also adds an interesting decision that needs to be made.
Thank you for all the wonderful information.
Hi Tyler! Thank you for your comment and I love to give people this kind of information! The hype is still growing but people are just jumping into it without considering there is so much more than just yoga or hot yoga ;). I feel there is something for everyone, so check out the different styles and see if it’s something for you!
Excellent article on choosing a studio or class! I’m looking for online options as my schedule doesn’t really allow me to set aside regular anything really. So if you start doing yoga in YouTube, definitely let us know! Your site is easy enough for us uninformed people to follow. I keep saying soon, and it always seems something comes up, like everything in life.
As an aside, have you seen the goat yoga craze? I still think it’s crazy weird, but I have 5 foster cats and two of my own cats, and one evil foster kitten so I’ll probably be embracing a form of yoga cat ladies understand. BTW, in case you’re wondering about goat yoga, goats are cute and all, and funny, but there are reasons for the diaper. They pretty much poo all the time. It’s pellet-looking rabbit-like poo, but they just do it EVERY freaking where, and it’s still POO! I had a huge laugh the first time I saw that on TV. 🙂
Keep up the awesome articles!
Thank you for your comment! Unfortunately I won’t be giving any yoga classes on youtube myself soon as I don’t have the proper equipement yet to make videos ;). But if I ever decide to start a youtube channel I’ll let you know!
And yes I’ve heard about the goat yoga craze! It’s really funny to see. Do you know there is also cat yoga at the moment?! Maybe something for you and your cats :)! I’m more into beer yoga 😉 (yes, that’s also a type of yoga at the moment haha!)
The idea of Yoga is familiar to me. It is something that I have been interested in because Yoga has become very popular. However, I have no experience with Yoga.
You educated me so much in this relatively short article. I had no idea how many styles of Yoga exist, And that they can be applied to achieve different kinds of results. Very enlightening indeed!
Great suggestions on how to select a Yoga studio. It was reassuring that you mentioned one can studio hop to find a place one is comfortable in. Knowing the tradeoffs between small and large studios was also helpful. Online classes too!
The only concern I had was the font size. It was too small for me. I had to go close to the monitor to read it. Have you checked to see how it reads on a smart phone or tablet?
Other than that, I found your article very helpgful and engaging. Keep up the good work. I wish you much success in life.
Thank you for your comment! I have not checked my page on a mobile device yet! Thank you for mentioning this! I will check it out ASAP and see what I can do about the font size!
Hi😊 I was really pumped when I read your post. I have been wanted to get into yoga as I am a dental assistant and lean over all the time which after a while gets sore and tight( and I am afraif of getting a hunched back as I get older) that I need to start stretching and exercising more. Thank you for writing this post.
Hi Clarissa! There are a few jobs that might do that to your posture ;). Even if it’s not for your future hunchback, it yoga might also help you with sore muscles and tightness! Thank you for your comment.
The only yoga I’m familiar with is Bikram, but I have heard of Ashtanga and might give it a real go in the near future. I think taking advantage of free trials at several studios is a good idea too.
I have done light yoga but never at a studio, gym etc. . ., so I’ll keep the advice in mind. Also, I won’t go into it (if I go to a studio) with any expectations.
That’s great to hear Nate! Hope you’ll find the right class/studio for you! I’d do recommend that when you want to do Ashtanga, to go to a few classes first before you start it off at home. That style is based on the sun salutations and it’s good to master them under the guidance of a teacher before you start doing them on your own.
Is ok to start yoga when I’m over 60 (nearly 64)? My wife used to go to yoga, and I know she liked it. Sometimes she does some at home. I have done a little yoga recently when I hurt my back. It did help me. I think maybe my wife would attend classes again if I was to join her. What do you think? Is it safe for someone my age to start yoga?
Hi Paul! Yoga is for every age! I don’t know if you are aware, but there is a yoga teacher that turned 100 years old last year in August and she is still teaching! So yoga is really for all ages. I used to teach a group where a lot of people over 60 were coming to, they were amazing. You do have to be aware though that you have your physical limitations, as I could read with your back, so I wouldn’t go into a high paced class and go more into a slow paced class like Hatha yoga. When it comes down to your back, whenever you feel any pain in your spine, please don’t go further than you are comfortable with!
OMG… i never knew there was so much to consider before yoga not to mention the fact that this could do me a lot of good if i am dealing with back pain. I guess it is because i was never really interested in it prior to this.
I have been dealing with lower back pain for a while now. How is yoga going to help someone like me differently in comparison to other forms of excise? Or will it be better to combine both at the same time?
Thanks for sharing this. Very educating.
Of course yoga is not a replacement of your M.D., so if you need physiotherapy you should keep doing that. However, yoga is based on putting your body back in alignment, to put the body back into the shape that it was build for. Yoga makes you more aware of your body as the poses you’ll be getting into are making you aware of your movements, which also makes you aware of your limits. I do know some people who got rid of their lower back pain through yoga, but they had teachers around them showing them some poses to do specifically for their problems, not knowing what’s going on with you personally I can’t suggest anything myself at the moment.
Nice that you have explained different types of yoga. I’m 64 years old and have just semi retired (working part time now close to home). I have the time to get into a yoga class but am a bit shy about it. I noticed in some of your other blogs that you recommend some good online videos. Very nice blog. Thank you.
Thank you for your comment Suzanne :). If you do feel like you wanna go to a class, please don’t be shy about it, I know the first class is always a bit intimidating. A part of the yoga philosophy is about being non-judgemental, so normally when you go to a class, people will not judge you at all, or at least be aware of it. And if you really don’t like, there are some good videos out there! Take care