If you’re new to yoga, making your way into a class can feel a little daunting. You should know that Yoga for Life’s “sweet spot” is welcoming yoga newbies to practice. Our instructors are skilled in offering options for various levels of practice. Here are a few things for beginning students to know and consider:
- Beginners are encouraged to start with beginner-friendly classes. For full comfort and enjoyment, you may want to try All Levels Yoga, Chair Yoga, Curvy Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Meditation, Restorative Yoga or Yoga I. Yoga for Life also offers two FREE weekly Yoga for Cancer classes for those on the path of cancer treatment/recovery and their caregivers.
- If you are injured or have physical limitations, yoga may be a perfect tool to assist in returning you to health and vitality. If your injury or condition prevents you from moving easily to the floor and back to standing, consider participating in our Chair Yoga or Meditation classes.
- Yoga for Life is fully accessible to disabled students and offers plenty of surface lot parking adjacent to the building. In the extremely unlikely circumstance where the parking lot is full, plenty of street parking is also available.
- Please introduce yourself to the teacher before class begins. Mention any health concerns you might have and let her know this is your first class.
- Our teachers are experienced professionals, but you are the expert on you. Listen to your body! You should not feel sharp, shooting, burning, pinching or numbing sensations while practicing yoga. If you do, release the pose immediately and signal to the instructor so he can help you find support or otherwise adjust your body.
If you are new to Yoga for Life and want to commit to exploring yoga without a huge financial commitment, consider purchasing a PUMP (Promotional Unlimited Monthly Pass). For $70 – which is less than the cost of four Drop In classes – you can attend up to one class a day for 30 days! The PUMP supports you in trying all of the different styles of yoga we offer. All Yoga for Life teachers are compassionate, skilled and professional, but their classes are very different from each other. With the PUMP, you can try everything and meet the teachers that are most closely aligned with your skill level, personality and personal goals.
Preparing to Practice
To cultivate the best possible experience in every class, please follow the following guidelines:
- Do not eat (or eat lightly) during the 2-hour period before class and avoid caffeinated beverages. Hydration is important, so drink plenty of water before and after class.
- Arrive 5-10 minutes before class begins to allow ample time to check in and prepare for class. We strive to begin and end all classes on time. (Arrive 10-15 minutes before your first class at Yoga for Life so we can welcome you and show you our space. You will also be asked to complete a brief New Student Information Form and Waiver before class.)
- If you own a yoga mat, bring it with you to class. It’s nice to practice in your own space. If you do not already own a mat, don’t buy one until you know what will best support your practice. We have a mat you can borrow and provide recommended props for each class – blanket, block, bolster, strap, etc. – at no extra cost.
- Wear comfortable, stretchy clothing to class – something neither too tight, nor too loose. Tight clothing can be uncomfortable and baggy clothing can be distracting in certain postures. Leggings or workout shorts work perfectly, along with a fitted top.
- Yoga is best practiced barefoot. Bare feet allow us to connect more securely with the ground and prevent slipping. You may bring socks into the practice studio with you in case your feet become cold during relaxation at the conclusion of class.
- Ask questions before/after class to better understand the practice. Yoga is an amazing teacher, but we all have different questions. We want to answer yours.
- Practice regularly to get the best results. One yoga class each week will feel good, but attending 2-3 classes each week will likely create noticeable and immediate improvements in strength, flexibility and balance. With regular practice, mindfulness and movement practices may help your body heal old injuries and also prevent new injuries. Yoga practice awakens the natural healing powers of your body.
The practice of yoga begins from the moment you enter Yoga for Life. To create the best experience for yourself and others, please follow these guidelines:
- You are not required to pre-register for class, but you are welcome to do so if you wish. If you register for a class and find that you are unable to attend, please cancel your reservation.
- Remove your shoes before entering the practice studio. Cubbies are available in the hall for you to store your belongings. Turn your cell phone off or to vibrate mode. Do not take phones into the practice studio.
- Do not bring food into the practice studios. Water bottles are permitted and encouraged.
- Avoid wearing perfume, cologne, essential oils or other scented products to class. While enjoyable to the wearer, scents are often magnified by movement and can actually be toxic to those with allergies or other conditions. Be mindful also of smells, such as smoke or body odor, as these may adversely impact the experience of other students.
- Please speak quietly in hallways and common areas. Yoga for Life has two practice studios and six practitioner offices, so other classes or sessions are often taking place when you arrive for or leave class. Cultivating a practice of being mindful of the experiences of others is one of the best ways to ensure that your own classes or sessions will not be disrupted.
Yoga Question & Answer
New students often ask similar questions. The questions and answers below may assist you in feeling more comfortable – before, during and after yoga class:
Do I have to be flexible to do yoga? Absolutely not! Believing that flexibility is a prerequisite to practicing yoga is one of the most common misconceptions that prevents people from trying yoga. Yoga is not about how flexible you are. Yoga is instead about stretching and strengthening on a regular basis, as an invitation for your body to function at its optimal levels. Aches, pain and stiffness are likely to diminish drastically with a regular yoga practice. Flexibility, stamina, strength and balance will become natural parts of your life.
What if I have an injury or limiting condition? If you are injured, it is VERY important to be cleared by a reputable health care professional before beginning a new exercise program. Assuming you are cleared for exercise, you should advise the teacher about your injury or condition before class so that she can be alert to your situation and offer available modifications. Please understand that yoga teachers are not qualified to diagnose or treat medical conditions and that your teacher is responsible for safely managing all of the students in her class. If you need specialized attention or would benefit from individualized guidance in creating a supportive protocol or ongoing modifications, please contact us about the possibility of scheduling private instruction sessions.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If a posture or sequence offered in any yoga class hurts, don’t do it! In practicing yoga, there is a clear difference between experiencing discomfort (or sensation) and experiencing pain. ALWAYS listen to and respect your body’s messages!
What should I expect in my first yoga class? Although individual classes will differ, a typical class begins with centering and breathwork in a sitting/kneeling posture. Finding a comfortable sitting/kneeling posture sometimes poses its own challenges, but it’s well worth the effort to try different props – folded blanket, bolster, blocks – to support the body in creating a lengthened spine for deep and unobstructed breathing. Flowing warm-ups usually follow and then some combination of strengthening, stretching and balancing postures will be offered. Classes end in savasana – quiet, lying relaxation. During this important conclusion of yoga class, your practice settles into the body and calms the mind. Class may begin and end with the healing sound, energy and vibration of a shared Om.
What does it mean if a teacher “assists” me? In addition to demonstrating poses and offering verbal cues, your teacher may move around the room offering instruction and assists. Such movement allows the teacher to monitor the energy of the class and to better ensure that all students are safe and happy. Hands-on assists are designed to help you experience a posture in a deeper or more aligned manner. Receiving an assist does not mean you are doing the posture incorrectly. The only goal of yoga assists is to enhance your yoga practice, so you are welcome to let the teacher know if you would prefer not to be assisted or if an assist that is offered does not feel good in your body. It’s all about YOU!