New to Yoga?

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. Positively Possible Yoga, Dynamic Gentle Yoga and Restorative Blend are Yoga for Life’s most popular options for a successful start. Deep Stretch Yoga moves at a slow pace with longer holdings, which can be challenging for tight muscles or injured joints. Breath/Body/Mind and All Levels Yoga are designed for individuals with some level yoga experience, but gentle suggestions for new students are always included. Strength on the Mat is an alternative to yoga, emphasizing alignment, joint stability, balance and strength.
  • If you are injured or have physical limitations, yoga may be a perfect tool to assist in returning you to health and vitality. It is VERY important, however, to be cleared by a reputable health care professional before beginning any new exercise program.To appropriately address your health issues, you should also email karen@yogaforlifecharlotte.com before attending your first class. Please also allow time to introduce yourself to your teacher before class. Mention any health concerns you might have and let her know about any physical issues.
  • 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 she can help you find support.

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 minutes before class begins to allow ample time to check in and prepare for class. Before your first Yoga for Life class, you will be asked to complete a brief New Student Information Form and Waiver.
  • 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.

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 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 consult 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 appropriate suggestions and 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 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, supine 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.