New to Yoga & Meditation: Tips to Get You Started
Here are a few tips and suggestions intended to enhance your experience of practicing yoga and meditation. We are happy to answer any additional questions you may have, so feel free to contact us.
You don’t need to be flexible, strong, young, or super fit to practice yoga – that’s why we need to practice! The beauty of yoga is that it is infinitely adaptable, and we’re here to prove that anyone (anyone!) can do it, even if your practice is simply the yoga of breathing. Of course, if you are flexible, strong, young, or super fit, you’re welcome to join us regular people, too.
Do your best to arrive a few minutes early so that you can check in and transition to a relaxed mode before class. If you do arrive a little late, please try to enter quietly without disrupting others. Depending on the class, you may need to wait inside near the door until an opening meditation has concluded before finding your spot in the room and unrolling your mat. If you are more than 5-7 minutes late, you may not be able to join that session.
Please remove your shoes when you come in, since we practice in bare feet. (Exceptions are, of course, made for anyone with conditions that preclude going barefoot.) We have cubbies for storing shoes and personal items.
Cell phones can be a real disruption in class, so please silence your phone completely and leave it with your belongings in a storage cubby in the lobby. Better yet, leave your phone in the car and enjoy a brief digital detox!
Plan to stay for the entire class, including the relaxation (called Savasana) at the end of the practice. (And, don’t plan on checking your emails and texts during relaxation. That doesn’t count as relaxation.) If you need to leave early, please let the teacher know in advance, and position your mat near the door so that you can slip out quietly.
Wear comfortable clothes that you can move and stretch in. Keep in mind that you’ll be bending forwards, backwards, sideways, twisting, and possibly going upside down, and choose clothes that won’t reveal more than you’d like to share.
We have mats you can use until you decide to purchase your own. Eventually, you’ll want to have your own personal mat, and you may even find yourself practicing at home. You can use the studio’s blocks, bolsters, straps, and other props indefinitely. And, yes, we clean all mats and blankets regularly!
Avoid wearing heavy perfumes, colognes, or lotions. As we engage in lots of deep breathing, those scents can become quite intense, and many students have chemical sensitivities.
Try to avoid coming to class with a full stomach, since practicing just after eating can be uncomfortable. If you have a condition that requires you to eat frequent snacks, just try to digest a little beforehand.
Feel free to talk with your teacher and ask questions. We want you to feel comfortable and get the most from your yoga practice. You can always wave the teacher over if you need extra assistance or guidance during class.
If you have a health issue or injury, always notify the teacher before class. Your teacher will hold this information as confidential, but it is important to our ability to help you practice safely and to receive the most benefit from yoga.
Not all poses are appropriate for everyone. Our teachers are pro-active about helping you modify or find an alternative pose when needed. Don’t be shy about getting the teacher’s attention when you need to practice something in a different way. Keep in mind, even the most advanced students can benefit from using yoga props.
Many of our teachers use touch and hands-on adjustments to help students feel proper alignment in their bodies. It’s OK if you don’t want to be touched – just let the teacher know, and they will understand.
You don’t have to be able to sit on the floor in Lotus Pose to meditate. We have a variety of props and cushions to make sitting comfortable and sustainable. Chairs are also available, and we encourage you to use them for meditation if it would help you sit with ease.
Don’t be intimidated to try meditation. You don’t need to be calm or thought-free. Your mind may wander many times during one sitting session, but each time you notice…that’s a moment of mindfulness!
Let go of any need to compete with others. We are all built differently, we are all inflexible somewhere, and we all have our challenges. Remember that you are practicing yoga for your health and well-being, not your ego!
Don’t take yourself too seriously…there’s enough of that going around outside the yoga studio. This is a space where you can be playful and explore.
Some classes include mantras or the chanting of OM. Mantras are part of the yoga tradition, expressing universal, peaceful principles. You can always ask the teacher what the mantras mean (if they haven’t explained already). And, if you don’t feel comfortable joining in, that’s OK, too.
Lastly, most classes end with the gesture of bringing the palms together and saying “Namaste.” One translation of this is, “the light within me honors the light within you.” It’s a statement of gratitude, respect, and unity.