What is Yoga? How to prepare your body and mind for your first classes

If you’re planning to attend your first Ashtanga yoga class in the near future, you may be wondering what you need to know or do before you begin.

While we welcome those with no prior experience to our Beginners Drop-in class, being prepared will help you get the most benefits out of your first session – and keep you coming back for more.

Yoga is all about encouraging calmness, so if you’re worried or nervous about your first class, here are some helpful hints for preparing your mind and body.

  1. Plan your meals

While you may not necessarily have to change your whole diet in the lead up to your North Sydney yoga class, it is a good idea to avoid eating before heading in.

A full stomach can feel uncomfortable during some poses, so eating a light meal at least one hour beforehand, is recommended. On the other hand, yoga is a physically demanding activity, so don’t forgo eating altogether as you may need your strength.

  1. Arrive early

Many of the benefits of yoga rely on achieving a centred mind. This can be difficult to achieve if you have been stressing about being late or finding parking. A good rule of thumb is to arrive about 10 minutes before class begins, so you can sit and get your bearings, sinking comfortably into the atmosphere of the yoga studio.

  1. Wear comfortable clothing

Choosing the right outfit can be important to participating in a yoga class. Yoga requires a certain level of flexibility, so tight and restrictive clothing will quickly become a burden. Similarly, you should protect your focus and lessen the chance of distraction by avoiding loose clothes that will move around and expose too much skin. Try longer sleeveless tops and form-fitting pants for comfort and security.

  1. Don’t be afraid to be a beginner

Yoga is an incredibly contemplative activity, with classes encouraging internal reflection, calmness, concentration and relaxation. Most people in the room are there for their own enjoyment and benefits, so will pay little head to your form.

If you have any nerves about doing poses wrong or embarrassing yourself, you need to remember that everyone in the room was a beginner at some point – even the instructor. Ridding yourself of these fears is important to help you reach the right state of mind to really benefit from your session.

Don’t be scared to get things wrong. You might think you aren’t flexible or fit enough, but you shouldn’t be worried about such things – you’re coming to Yoga to improve your body, mind and soul, so you don’t need to be in tip-top shape before you begin your first class! If you centre your mind, try your best and listen to the teacher, you will soon see your form and focus improving.