Perhaps you’ve been meaning to do it for a while, but now you’ve finally taken the plunge and booked your first ever yoga class. Congratulations! And welcome to yoga
Here’s a few things that might be worth knowing before you turn up to your first practice…
Yoga is practiced barefoot so please remove your shoes. Please remove leave them as soon as you enter the space, If you feel the cold, then you can keep your socks on until the teacher asks you to take them off – normally as soon as you move to a standing pose. Practicing barefoot helps connect us to the earth and walking barefoot on the grass and sand is known as a way to combat depression and help you feel reconnected with yourself. Also our feet are incredibly important, having a large number of pressure points that connect to all of our organs. So enjoy taking your shoes off and going barefoot.
Sports leggings or shorts and vests work really well as they allow the teacher to see your alignment. Ladies – avoid baggy tops that may fall down (up) when you go upside down, and steer clear of normal fashion leggings as sometimes they can be a bit see-through when you bend over. And gents just make sure that your shorts are not too baggy! The most important thing is that you can move freely without having to adjust your outfit every time, and of course that you are comfortable.
Arrive on time
Due to the nature of our building, it’s vital that you arrive a few minutes before the class starts. If it’s your first class then come even earlier so you can be shown to the studio and tell the teacher anything important about that may affect your session. Many yoga practices start with a silent meditation and coming in after that has begun will distract the rest of the class.
Mats and props
Blooming Bamboo is a fully equipped studio with plenty of mats, blocks, bricks, bolsters and blankets for everyone. Of course you are welcome to bring your own if you prefer. We appreciate your help putting the props and mats away exactly as you found them.
Where should you put your mat?
It’s quite important to listen to the instructions during your yoga practice, but sometimes you miss what the teacher said or you didn’t quite understand what they wanted you to do. So it’s really important that you can see what’s going on. That said, putting your mat at the front of the class isn’t a great idea as the teacher probably won’t be demonstrating every single pose. A lot of the most respected yoga teachers don’t demonstrate a single posture. I’d always recommend newbies to go somewhere in the middle… so that whichever way you end up facing, you have someone in front of you. That way when you get lost (and it’s likely to happen at some point in the practice), you have someone to follow.
Your personal property is your responsibility. If you must bring things into the studio with you, make sure that they are away from the practice area as much as possible. The teacher will probably walk around a lot during class so make sure you don’t leave any eye glasses or drinking cups anywhere that they could be stood on or knocked over.
Mobiles off please
It’s common sense, but mobiles should be turned off or silenced without any vibrate. Having a phone go off during practice is disruptive for the whole class and perhaps a little bit embarrassing for you also – especially if you have a whacky ring tone. Phones are not allowed next to you during practice unless you are on call, in which case advise the teacher before you begin.
Some classes have a lot of chanting but most will start and finish with at least one ‘Om’. As a new student you don’t need to join in with any of these if you feel uncomfortable. As your practice progresses you will naturally feel inclined to join in and enjoy the internal and external vibrations of sound.
Blah blah blah asana
Yoga is an ancient Indian practice and many classes are taught in Sanskrit – ancient Indian language. However most teachers who use the Sanskrit names also follow it by saying the English version. The one thing you can know is that most of the postures end in the phrase ‘Asana’ which translates as pose or posture. You don’t need to know any of these names, but eventually some of them may start to stick in your mind and if you’re in doubt about the name of a posture feel free to ask the teacher.
The teacher is likely to say ‘Namaste’ at the beginning and end of the class. The sentiment of Namaste is ‘I honour you and I bow to you’ which I think is really lovely. Feel free to say it back to your teacher and fellow students.
Respect your fellow students space
Sometimes you might be in a really busy class where you only have a couple of inches either side of your mat. This can be tough I know, especially when you’re a new student. But it’s really not that bad! You only need the space on your mat to practice on, and if you stagger your mat so it’s slightly forward or behind the student next to you, when you come to open your arms wide you’ll have enough room.
Go at your own pace
Everybody is different, and everyone has different levels of fitness, flexibility and stamina. It is so important that you listen to your body (you will hear your teacher say that a lot) and that you don’t force yourself into any version of a posture that you’re not ready for. You will also hear your teacher say that ‘yoga is not a competition’ so don’t look around the room judging other people’s practice and then comparing your own! What your neighbour is doing on their mat has no relation to your own practice. So try to keep focused on yourself, your body and your breath. You will be doing great!
If things get a bit much for you, you should take a break by resting in Child’s Pose (Balasana). This is a wonderful restorative pose where you can regain control of your breath, slow down your heart rate and then join in again once you feel ready to. Even experienced practitioners take rest in Child’s Pose.
Why so serious?
Yoga can be a very deep and spiritual experience, but it can also be fun. Don’t be afraid to laugh if you find something funny – whether it’s something the teacher says, something they ask you to do that seems virtual impossible or falling out of handstand. Laugh! It’s fine. Yoga should be fun and the only way you’re going to keep coming back to practice is if you enjoy it.
Savasana – final relaxation
At the end of every class is a final relaxation called Savasana, Corpse Pose. This is the bit you’ve probably been waiting for, and boy have you earned it! Congratulations! This is such an important part of the practice… it’s where all the magic of the practice happens. So don’t even think about running off before the class has ended.
You probably feel totally zenned out after your first practice – that’s normal. It’s also normal to ache. You will likely have used parts of your body you didn’t even know existed. Make sure you drink lots of water to flush out the toxins that you’ve released during practice, and get some rest. And don’t leave it too long till you come back for your second class
Workshops & Courses
First Birthday Celebration
Sunday 14th October - 2-3:30pm
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Yin Yoga Extended Practice
Friday 26th October - 6:30-9pm
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Mindfulness for kids COURSE
Starts Saturday 27th October - various times
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Friday 9th November - 7-8:30pm
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Healing Yoga for Women Survivors of Sexual Trauma
Saturday 10th November - 1-4pm
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Winter Solstice & Gongs
Thursday 20th December - 7:30-9pm
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