Your first yoga class - what to expect

Doing anything for the first time can be daunting, especially if you’re surrounded by people who all seem to know what they’re doing!

A yoga class in particular can be intimidating when practicing for the first time (Why is he standing on his head? I can’t stand on my head! What’s that weird raspy breathing they’re all doing? What’s a drishti?! Etc.)

So here is a summary of what to expect in a yoga class. Obviously all teachers and therefore classes are different, but this will just give you a general idea;

  • Classes usually begin with a few minutes of relaxation either sitting or lying down and will often include a breathing exercise

  • This will usually be followed by some gentle warm up postures

  • More fluid yoga postures, movements and stretches will follow; perhaps a series of sun salutations and some forward and backward bending

  • The class will then incorporate some cool down poses like inversions and twists

  • Finally you can expect the class to finish with some lovely relaxation and/or meditation, usually in a pose called Savasana or Corpse pose.


Class Etiquette

  • No mobile phones!

  • Be mindful of your fellow students. Most people go to yoga classes with the intention of relaxing and being free from disruption. If you are there with a friend, save the chatting for after the class. If you really need to leave the class early, do so quietly and with minimum fuss.

  • Teachers will usually ask if you have any injuries or are pregnant before the practice; you can also let the teacher know prior to the class


What to bring

  • Your mat if your yoga school or gym does not provide them

  • A towel – especially if it’s a hot yoga class!

  • Water

  • Once you’ve been to a few classes you might want to invest in some props (a strap and a block) as these can be really beneficial in assisting with the postures


Finally just remember to relax, try to quieten your mind and focus on your breath. Most of all enjoy your yoga class – it’s an opportunity for you to dedicate some precious time to yourself.

Claire Hocken