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  Home » Newsletter » Are You New to Yoga? Here’s What to Expect, April 2013

Are You New to Yoga? Here’s What to Expect

Are You New to Yoga? Here’s What to ExpectYoga is known for its calming and stress-reducing benefits. However, if you’re new to yoga and have never taken a class before, not knowing what to expect can have you feeling a bit nervous. Relax! We’re here to guide you every step of the way so you get the most out of every class.

For our beginners, we suggest taking our Gentle Yoga class. This class is designed to give you the time and support to understand the proper alignment of yoga postures and breathing techniques. It's also perfect for people with joint or back pain.

While most people are familiar with the basic principles of yoga, many aren’t sure how they should prepare and what a typical class entails. To give you some peace of mind before your first class, here are some tips on what you can expect as well as some common yoga misconceptions.

What to wear

Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes. You’ll be bending and stretching a lot, so wearing clothes that are constricting should be avoided as they will hinder your movements. Remember, this isn’t a yoga fashion show; you don’t need to buy designer yoga outfits.

What to bring

Bring a yoga mat, a towel and water. If you tend to get cold, bring a blanket to use during the relaxation sequence. Leave your music and ear buds behind, however, as you will need to listen to your instructor throughout the entire class.

Sequence of the class

Most yoga instructors begin class with a warm up of some kind. This can include simple poses, as well as meditation and reflection. Next, he or she will lead the class in a series of poses.

If you’re concerned about not being able to perform some of the poses, don’t worry. Most poses have varying degrees of difficulty and can be easily modified for beginners. Often, the instructor will be available to show examples of modified poses and to help you get into proper position.

The class usually ends with a period of relaxation to unwind and release any lingering tension.

Misconceptions about yoga:

Myth: To practice yoga you have to be: flexible, thin, physically fit and young.

Reality: There are no rules, no expectations, and no judgments in yoga. Everyone can benefit from practicing yoga — regardless of their level of fitness, age and flexibility. With practice, yoga poses (asanas) actually help you to become more flexible and physically stronger. Poses work by safely stretching your muscles and increasing the range of motion in joints. Yoga stretches not only your muscles but all of the soft tissues of your body. That includes ligaments, tendons, and the fascia sheath that surrounds your muscles. No matter your level of yoga, you most likely will see benefits in a very short period of time. In one study, participants had up to 35% improvement in flexibility after only eight weeks of yoga.

Myth: I won’t be able to keep up with the others in class.

Reality: Yoga is non-competitive. You may think many people are "better than you" at yoga, but don’t let these negative thoughts deter you. It’s important not to compare yourself to the person next to you. Some people are naturally more flexible. So be forgiving with your body and know that flexibility comes with repetition.

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