Here are some quick tips:
- Be a little early. Try to arrive a little early, set up your mat, and take a moment to center yourself, preparing your mind for an hour that's all about you.
- You're late and class has just started. It happens. No worries; just enter the class quietly. Avoid being a distraction because the other participants are trying to focus on being present and preparing for the class. They don't want to turn their thoughts to you. The goal is to not be disruptive when you're late. The teacher will know you're there, so no need to speak. Scope out a space to put your mat and gently unroll it. Take a couple of breaths to help center yourself and join in.
- You're really late (more than 5 minutes). When you are late for a class, you miss the opportunity to center yourself and you miss the important warm-up. If you are 5 minutes late, enter the class quietly without causing a distraction and take a couple of minutes to breathe. Don't just jump in to the asana (pose or stretch) that the class is doing. Honor your body by giving yourself some time to ease in to your yoga experience. No need to feel stressed over being late.
- Uh-oh! You're super late (more than 10 min). Unfortunately, you'll need to skip the class if you are more than ten minutes late. At this point, you've missed the centering, the warm-up, and the stretching progression that the instructor has carefully planned. Jumping in this late may cause more harm than good.
- Use the props! Runners need good, sturdy sneakers. Hockey players need protective gear and supportive skates. Yogis need props. Blocks help bring the floor closer and bring your body into safer alignment. Straps can assist in a variety of stretches that may not otherwise be an option. A small folded blanket or beach towel provides cushioning and slight elevation for our hips, lower back, and neck. Walls, chairs, ballet barre can all be used to modify sun salutations, downward dog, balances, and many, many other poses. Kneeling pads (like the ones used for gardening) can add some good cushioning for achy knees. Even your yoga mat is a prop that provides both grip and cushion. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned yogi, props are essential. By all means utilize wrist and knee supports that may have been prescribed to you.
- No pain, no gain is NOT a yogic philosophy. Practicing yoga provides an opportunity for a personal awareness and appreciation of your body. It is not necessary to go in to your deepest stretch every time. It is definitely not necessary to feel pain! Discomfort is possible for tight muscles, but yoga shouldn't hurt. If you experience pain in a pose, you may be either using poor form, have an injury, or are pushing too hard to achieve something that your body isn't willing or able to do. Always honor your body. Tune in to how you're feeling in the moment.
- Focus on y-o-u. Yoga's a personal experience. That's the beauty of it! It's all about y-o-u! Don't over-think it and don't compare yourself to others. Breathe throughout and honor your body.
- Do drink water. Your body needs water. If your mouth is dry or you're feeling thirsty, you could already be somewhat dehydrated. Water is essential to life. Drink up before, during, and after exercising.
- Full Belly + Yoga = Discomfort. Try to eat 2 hours before a class to give yourself time to digest. If that isn't possible, eat only a light meal (up to an hour before).
- Hunger + Yoga = Shakiness. On the other hand, DO fuel your body with something before you exercise. If it's been several hours since your last meal, perhaps have a banana, apple, handful of nuts, boiled egg. before class.
- Have a good view. Make sure you have a good view of the instructor and that you're not blocking someone else's view when you are setting up your mat.
- Talk with your instructor. If you have questions about yoga, certain poses, perhaps have some aches or pains, talk with your instructor. We know about anatomy have been trained to know which stretches (asanas) may help. Always let your instructor know if you have a recent injury, illness, or recent surgery. I'm always happy to hear from you either in person or via email. My goal is to provide you with a safe and effective experience, so the more you share the better.
- To go or not to go to yoga class? That is the question. Have a headache? Yoga can often help alleviate it. Have sore muscles? Ah, a little bit of the hair o'the dog will help. Feel stressed? Get on your mat. Irritable? Definitely do yoga. Have a bad cold or bug? Stay home, get better.
- Turn off or silence your phone. 'Nuff said about that. :)
I'm hoping to see you on your yoga mat soon! Click the blue buttons below for more yoga info and class information.