Always a beginner…
When I first started yoga there were things that I didn’t know – like don’t walk across the studio with shoes on!! (q: lots of guilt as I had just done something terribly bad to something sacred) Initially I found yoga hard, not necessarily the postures as that’s not what it’s all about, but going to that quiet place inside; switching off just for an hour or so.
Here’s a few questions that might be going through your mind…
The first question is – what kind of yoga class should I go to???
If you are new to yoga go with Hatha beginners – most styles of yoga are types of ‘Hatha’ but they use the postures (asana) in different ways or the pace is a bit different. Hatha yoga classes involve time at the beginning for ‘settling’ where you lie or sit still and focus on your body, mind and breath and at the end of the class you will rest in savasana (corpse pose – lying on your back looking like guess what – a corpse).
If you would like to know more on other yoga styles click here.
I have arrived – now what?
I used to turn up to class like on the dot and sometimes (don’t judge me now) between lunch breaks, finding a car parking spot, getting changed it was really hard to arrive on the mat in good time. Even more so to be in a state of serene calmness (sometimes my heart was racing as I had been dashing!) – I now add on a cheeky 10 mins to the beginning of the class so that whilst the teacher is doing her thing I either sit / or lie there allowing my heart to slow and focus on what my body is saying and what my mood is. Moral of the story: leave time for you to chill out before class – it will be a better class.
What do I wear?
This may seem like a trivial question – but comfort comfort comfort. I used to have proper gym stuff for yoga but I get cold pretty easily and so I bring big fluffy socks for the end of the relaxation and a jumper – sometimes even a nice cosy scarf in winter. Anything goes. Just make sure that you are not flashing anything and wear stuff that is supportive. (At BCY they provide all the equipment and you can have it all – eye pillows, multiple blankets etc plus the studios are always really nice and warm)
Yoga Props – errm do I need them?
I remember looking at yoga belts being like what do I do with that??? The teacher will talk you through postures that require a prop or it could be that your body needs one to make a posture more comfortable. One yoga eureka moment I had was when I got introduced to blocks and bricks as I am pretty short limbed and my hamstrings are tight – there are poses now that feel far more balanced and aligned, like my body actually thanked me for the assistance! You’ll get to know over time which ones suit your body or if you need them.
This doesn’t feel great…
I am the one who starts at the back of a new class – mainly as I don’t like being on display. When I started yoga, like a good little student I would do exactly as the teacher was telling me, even if I was struggling I didn’t want to say it in front of people. However as time went on, I took the modifications given by the teacher, I even stopped sometimes when my blood pressure was low and went to Childs pose (this is advised and totally do it if you need to). This is another beautiful eureka yoga moment as once you start listening to your body – you feel more connected to it – more in control. Do what feels good and always say something to the teacher if it doesn’t feel right.
Shhhh in Savasana!
When the relaxation stage came at the end – I remember getting sometimes more worked up as I needed to sneeze or my tummy was rumbling or even worse I needed a wee and didn’t want to interrupt! It’s being comfortable in your body and in class that you just do what you need to do – whether that is scratch your nose or rub your feet. The slowing of the mind is something that comes with time (or when you are really knackered) and it becomes almost addictive – a dreamy restful state that you have provided for yourself.
I hope you enjoy your classes and have those sweet yoga eureka moments of your own!
Written by Amanda King
*Try and eat something light before yoga – not a full meal.
*You can bring water but have little sips when you need.
*Let the teacher know if you have an injury or any conditions they need to be made aware of.
*Try a couple of classes in the same time as you might find the teacher style a bit different.
*Don’t take your phone in and if your bag is in the same space put it on flight mode!