You’ve been thinking it’s time to try Yoga. You’re not alone. Yoga is a hugely popular form of exercise. But there are many misconceptions, so the best thing to do is try it for yourself and see if you like it. Getting to grips with the “philosophical” side of Yoga can be daunting but it’s basically about self-care, beginning with the physical body as you start to notice your postural habits and then gradually you move inwards and start to observe your thinking habits. But what most “new Yogis” want to know is the basics: what to wear, what to do and what to expect.
Here are some things we think you should know before your first Yoga class –
Don’t eat before practising but do drink plenty of water. Leave all belongings in the changing rooms and just bring your mat with you into the studio – due to Covid-19 we aren’t supplying mats for the time being but we do have some for sale at reception. There are chevron marks on the studio floor to guide you where to place your mat for social distancing and as a beginner we recommend you go somewhere to the centre back of the room – this way you should be able to see what others are doing for most of the practice, whether you’re doing postures to the left or the right. Make sure you arrive in plenty of time for your first class so you can meet the teacher and ask any questions you may have, late entries are not permitted so you want to be sure to arrive in good time.
Don’t worry about the jargon
The Sanskrit language is an important element of Yoga, as it honours what has gone before us in terms of teaching and practice. As a beginner try to focus on the instructions that the teacher gives for each pose and don’t worry about learning all the different names. New Yogis often copy what others in the room are doing and that’s fine to begin with, but as much as you can try to listen to what the teacher is saying so that you can interpret it into your own bodily experience. Most importantly, always keep the breath flowing by breathing in and out through your nose. If you find the teacher instructing to inhale into one movement and exhale into the next, think of that as something to work towards rather than something you have to master in your first class. You will soon become familiar with the common Yoga transitions, as well as the names of the postures.
If at first you don’t succeed…
Some people really enjoy their first Yoga class and some people walk out with zero interest in coming back. Don’t think just because you didn’t enjoy your first class that Yoga isn’t for you. We highly recommend you try at least three classes before making up your mind about whether you wish to continue practising. Don’t be afraid to take a rest when you need to, find fun in falling out of balancing postures, and have flexibility of mind when it comes to how bendy you would like to be. Try different classes (one class may be relaxing, another super challenging) and practising at different times of the day or week to test the waters as to how you can incorporate Yoga into your weekly (or daily) routine.
Hot Yoga Benefits
Hot Yoga is said to boost the “oxygenation” of your cells, as the dilation of the capillaries means blood flow is increased and blood pressure is decreased. An increase in blood flow through the muscles accelerates your flexibility, allowing the body to stretch safely, whilst also promoting much-needed relaxation when the muscles are not engaged. Heat brings sweat and therefore a detoxing effect as fat is burned more effectively by boosting metabolism. You get a low-impact cardio workout as the heart rate is increased without pressure going through your joints and ligaments. But really the greatest gift of the heat is enhanced immunity (with evidence backed by science) as elevated body temperature increases T-cell functioning – a T-cell is a type of lymphocyte developed in the thymus gland that plays a central role in the immune response.
To wear and not to wear
It’s best to wear clothing that is comfortable and stretchy, form-fitting sportswear is ideal. You will be stretching and moving your body – non-restrictive clothing will allow you to move, bend and stretch comfortably. For the sake of your fellow Yogis we recommend that you refrain from wearing heavily scented body lotions, perfumes and sprays – if you are a heavy sweater, a light or unscented deodorant should work fine.
Although talking and communing with one another is encouraged, we keep our conversations outside of the Yoga room so that the space can be available for quiet relaxation or meditation by students before and after class. Our Yoga practice is as much about community as it is about ourselves, so please also respect one another as we navigate through social distancing and these post-lockdown times of heightened anxieties.