November 14 2017
After a lifetime spent waving at friends on the shore, this marathoner is finally learning to swim as an adult.
Being a beginner? It can be terrifying. This can be especially true when it comes to going to a new fitness class. You’re worried that you won’t be able to keep up or that everyone will know it is your first class.
In those times, it is important to remember that everyone was a beginner once. Yoga can bring its own set of worries—that you aren’t flexible enough or you don’t know how to meditate or that you won’t be able to hold the poses—but it important to know that it is a very approachable workout.
“The thing about yoga—at least at CorePower—is that it is accessible to anyone,” shares Estevan Valdes, a teacher at CorePower Yoga in Studio City and Hollywood, and barre teacher at The Main Barre in downtown Los Angeles. “The biggest indicator as to whether you should move into a pose or not is to listen to your body.”
To help calm any beginner-jitters, Valdes shares three things to know going into your first yoga class that will make it a success.
“The studio, specifically, is sacred,” explains Valdes. “I believe that the mat space and yoga room is a reflection of what your outside life is like. Keep it simple—just a mat, towel and water.”
Because the studio is a sacred space, it is important to enter quietly and don’t talk once there, as other students are meditating and clearing their minds. Additionally, remove your shoes before entering the studio and leave your cell phone outside.
“There should be options and availability for lockers or cubbies,” adds Valdes. “If not, you may have to secure your belongings safely in your car.”
Additionally, Valdes says you should not wear a lot of perfume, cologne or essential oils, especially because you will sweat (no matter what type of class you are taking).
It sounds funny, but one of the tips Valdes shared? Wear underwear. “I’ve seen it too many times—especially in downward dog.”
Additionally, make sure you’ve eaten, so that you can go to the bathroom before class. This is because you will be doing twisting moves, and ‘things’ move around. And if you are in a hot class and need to leave in the middle to use the restroom? It can be a shock to your body to run out into a cold hallway.
“If you’re taking a hot class, I’d say to eat 2 hours before and if it is another style, an hour-and-a-half is good,” explains Valdes. “This gives you time to digest, adjust and make sure you use the facilities before class.”
In addition to eating, make sure you are hydrated and bring a water bottle to class with you. A tip? Bring one that has a cap that won’t leak or spill in the studio.
Valdes recommends that, if the instructor is available, you as questions before class. Let them know it is your first class—or that you are new to yoga—and if you have any injuries so they can help give modifications.
“When choosing a class, it is important to be honest and start with a Level 1 class,” shares Valdes. “Most places base their advanced curriculum on what you’ve learned in lower-level classes and go in sequence.”
Make sure you can stay the whole time—classes can often range from 60-90 minutes—and also take advantage of any props available, such as blocks. Valdes notes that they help bring the earth closer to you and find leverage so you don’t have to force your body into poses.