Always wanted to try a yoga class? We’re breaking down what you can expect in your first yoga class.
Yoga is over 5,000 years old and can burn calories and tone muscles, yet is most commonly known for its ability to lengthen muscles and decompress joints to gain a greater range of motion in your physical body. It also offers a sense of relaxation through breathing techniques, meditation, and slow controlled movements.
After a participant’s first yoga class, it’s reported that they feel straighter, even taller, and slept better. Yoga has helped people balance their weight, overcome fears, conquer unwanted habits, and develop better concentration. All of which will help you perform your daily tasks.
There are many different styles of yoga and numerous asanas or poses they all share. Our qualified instructors are trained to use this variety to help tailor their classes to suit individual needs.
It’s important to understand you do not need to be flexible to practice yoga. Unfortunately this misconception keeps many people from trying. Jobs today keep us sitting for long periods of time, compressing the spine and back and creating irregularities in the body. Yoga helps to alleviate any pain or tenderness while decompressing the spine, along with elongating your muscles and relieving any pressure or tension built up.
How to Prepare for Class
- Bring a yoga mat and water bottle
- Make sure to wear comfortable clothing that allows you to move and stretch easily. Stay away from anything too baggy, as you may find yourself upside down at some point. Although shoes and socks are not worn in class, it may be best to have socks and a sweater available for the final resting posture (shavasana)
- It’s recommended to come on an empty stomach and try to refrain from eating two hours before the class
- Drink plenty of water before and after class
Common Words You’ll Hear
Asana: posture or pose – a static physical position
Practitioner: someone who practices yoga (yogi if male, yogini if female)
Pranayama: breathing techniques or practices
Balasana: child’s pose – body faces the floor, with your shins down, chest and stomach resting on your thighs, and your arms stretching forward
Shavasana: corpse pose – lay down on your back, legs and arms extended, palms up and slightly away from the body, feet apart and lie completely still
Many health conditions have been improved through regular yoga practice. In fact, some doctors now prescribe yoga as a form of physical therapy. Yoga heals and strengthens the body and its systems, and is especially beneficial to the immune system.
Some specific health conditions that can be successfully improved with yoga include:
- High blood pressure
- Type II diabetes
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Shoulder, knee and back injuries
If you have any health concerns, injuries, are pregnant, it’s recommended to consult your doctor prior to attending any yoga class. As well, please inform the instructor prior to class.
“The therapeutic effects can benefit anyone, regardless of age, beliefs, disposition, and physical capabilities, with results ranging from the positive to the truly remarkable.” – BKS Iyengar, Yoga the Path to Holistic Health
Article written by: Emma Pavich RYT, RCYT, YYT, A.H.E., yoga instructor at World Health Calgary.