Advice

4 Tips for Confidently Trying a New Yoga Class

I’m a bit of a scatterbrain when it comes to yoga, always trying different methods. Kundalini, Vinyasa, Bikram– I’m up for anything once. This does not mean I’m a yoga pro, however. I’ve tried many, but mastered none.

As I’m semi-new to this whole yoga thing and have the flexibility of a tire, I have a tendency to become a bit intimidated when it comes to trying a new class.

I make my way to the studio all proud and prepared, but the moment I walk through those doors and see the Lululemon-clad yogis pre-stretching their already limber bodies I feel a tsunami wave of self-doubt.

What am I doing here? I’m not a yogi. I can’t even touch my toes.

For all of my interest and dedication to meditation, healthy living, and spiritual growth, my confidence goes out the window the moment I’m immersed in a new yoga environment.

Everyone just looks so professional, so experienced, so into it. I feel like a little imposter who’s playing a wannabe role in this Zen master lifestyle.

I doubt, or at least hope, I’m not the only one who feels this way. So to help put you at ease I’ve hand-picked 4 tips that have helped me and will, hopefully, help you confidently try a new yoga class.

  1. Prep with YouTube

Okay, YouTube is like my bible. I go there for all my yoga needs. If I know I’m going to be trying out a new method, I first YouTube it to familiarize myself with the various poses, structure, and terms. Often I find myself completing a practice set in my living room just so I don’t look like a total newbie when the teacher says, “Downward dog.”

  1. Go with a friend.

If it’s an option, try a new class with a friend. It makes the process much more relaxing if you have a partner in crime. If they’ve practiced the method or have taken that particular class before then even better. They can prep you and show you how things are done, where to check in, where to leave your purse, what to bring, the best spot in the room. Seriously, if I didn’t have a friend introduce me to Bikram yoga I don’t think I would have ever worked up the courage. Thanks Julia!

  1. Pick a spot in the back.

Today’s not the day to play teacher’s pet. Select a spot in the back so you can conveniently take cues from the other students. You don’t want to be constantly twisting your head backwards to see if you’re doing each pose correctly or be self-conscious about others watching and silently judging you.

It’s also a matter of politeness. If you think you’ll have trouble holding certain positions resulting in flailed arms and wobbling legs then you don’t want to be a distraction to those around you.

  1. Tell the teacher you’re new.

Often times the teacher will ask if there are any new students at the start of each class. This is a chance to raise your hand and proudly make your inexperience known.

This may seem counterintuitive as you want to fit in and look like a pro but by immediately acknowledging that you’re a first timer you take all the pressure off. Not only will your teacher be more patient and understanding, but all those pretzel twisting yogis will be less judgmental when you fall out of tree pose for the 13th time.

 

Do you have any helpful tips for other first-timers out there? Please share in the comments below! Bad Yogis unite!

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1 Comment

  1. Amanda

    Amanda

    March 14, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    Good points! I would make a small adjustment to #3, though…. If you’re in the back, the teacher will have a hard time seeing you and offering corrections, and you might have a harder time seeing the teacher! But I agree with taking cues from those around you for those times when the teacher is walking around and explaining, and for that reason I suggest that new students find a place in the middle. That way, the teacher will have an easier time seeing you, and no matter which way you’re facing, you will have other students to watch, too. I know it can be intimidating to go to that first class! Even a new-to-you class, after you’ve been doing yoga a long time, can be nerve-racking.

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