If you’re new to the practice of yoga, here are some things you should know that might help you ease into your new found wellness habit!
#1: “You can wear whatever you want” is a lie!
When you ask people what you should wear, you’re often given vague answers but here’s a tip we don’t always get to say: Wear a slightly form fitting top so that it doesn’t slide down to smother you when you’re in down dog. AND GIRLS AND BOYS, your yoga bottoms (leggings or stretchy shorts) have to be made out of a thick fabric. I cannot emphasize how important this is. FABRIC MUST NOT BE SEE THROUGH. (Another tip: Girls, bend over in front of a mirror to check. Guys, wear stretchy shorts underneath your loose ones) Trust me, you wouldn’t want the world or your teacher to see your… uhm… stuff.
#2: Sweating is normal.
And yes, there’s a slight chance you will be sweating more than you ever thought possible, depending on the type of yoga class you’re doing. You’re working muscles you didn’t even know you had! If you know you’ve got active sweat glands, bring a non slip yoga towel. Most studios with boutiques should sell or check if the studio can rent out a towel to you.
#3: Farting happens to the best of us.
Those twists, side bends, backbends and inversions will most likely trigger a small pass of gas at one point in your yoga journey. It. Is. Fine. We’re used to it…sorta. It is definitely normal.
#4: No one (except your teacher) is watching you. We promise.
If they even, so much as glance at you, they’re probably looking for affirmation that they’re not the only one struggling. But really, more often than not, everyone is too busy keeping that knee bent in Warrior 2 to notice anything else.
#5: Do everything necessary to your practice before the class starts.
Tie your hair. Fix your towel. Wash your feet. Get a pedicure. Haha! Okay maybe not necessarily a pedicure, but nice clean feet would be highly appreciated! Oh and keep your phones in your bag outside of the yoga room. No phones in the room is important to your practice because if you came to yoga class that day, everything outside of your mat for the next hour or hour and a half comes second.
#6: Clean up after yourself.
Just a gentle reminder that we have to fix our practice space. So wipe your mats, set aside your blocks and roll up those belts. It’s a good practice for you and it helps the cleaning lady too!
#7: Grunting and groaning does happen.
This makes for quite an entertaining class when everyone starts grunting while holding Warrior 3 too long and everyone laughs about it. But when it’s just you, maybe try not to be overly enthusiastic about it. Laugh or look imploringly at your teacher.
#8: Sometimes, it can sound as if your yoga teachers speak alien.
We don’t realize it but I guess we do. This is a common thing that happens to students during their first few classes. You’re not the only one thinking, “I put my what to my where?”, “And broaden which non-moving body part?”, “Ha? Press and pull my feet apart but don’t move it?”, “Focus on my root chakra?” IT. IS. ALIEN. Haha! Kidding. You’ll get used to it. A little focus and patience with yourself makes all the difference. Yoga is a listening exercise too and like all unfamiliar things, it takes a couple of tries and you’ll be an alien too.
Although yoga can be a serious practice know that there are times when you don’t have to be. After all, it is only yoga. Besides, frowning and furrowing your eyebrows adds to the tension. When your teacher asks you how you are in the middle of class, he or she actually expects a response. At this point even a grunt would be greatly appreciated. They just want to see if you’re still in there.
#10: When people say, “I can’t do yoga! I can barely touch my toes! I’m not flexible” I would like to respond to that with the photo below:
Andi Banez is the resident yoga instructor of a small island East of the Philippines. She’s an avid reader and enjoys meeting and learning about people. Lately, she’s developed a liking to reading tarot cards. Follow her: @andibanez | https://journeysaretwowaystreets.wordpress.com