September 5 | Beginner Yogi | The Practice |
All you really need for yoga class is yourself! Everything else is available in the studio for use, rent or purchase. Bring a mat, towel and water if you can, but don’t worry if you forget or don’t yet have a mat or towel. We offer Manduka mats and yoga towels at all of our studios so you can rent whatever you need. We have water bottles available for purchase, or you can fill your own water bottle in our studio. Each YogaSix studio is fully stocked with blocks, straps, bolsters, blankets, weights and other equipment for you to use in any of our yoga or Boot Camp classes. In addition, our studios feature well-stocked retail boutiques where you can purchase the technical and lifestyle active wear as well your own Manduka mats and towels, other yoga equipment and accessories. Come to class with an open mind and you’re ready to begin your practice!
There is no required uniform—just wear fitted exercise clothing that won’t impede your movement or comfort! Avoid anything with bulk that might get in the way of your movement or make lying down uncomfortable. Also take the temperature of the class into consideration. In a Deep Stretch class, a semi-fitted tee is fine, but in a hot yoga class a tee shirt will stick to your sweaty skin uncomfortably. Instead, wear active clothing that wicks away sweat and helps keep you cool. Tie your hair up and out of your face so you can practice inversions and floor postures without your hair getting in the way. A fabric headband is often helpful in heated classes, too. Consider both your physical and emotional comfort level when dressing for class. Inversions cause a baggy shirt to come down over your head, impeding your sight and showing more than you intended. On the bottom, wear fitted exercise shorts, capris or full-length yoga pants to keep you cool and ensure your teacher can make sure your alignment is correct. All our classes and studios are shoes-free, so don’t worry about footwear, even in our Boot Camp classes.
Arrive to your yoga class at least 10 minutes early so you can sign in, leave your shoes and other things in a locker or cubby and find a comfortable spot in the room to set up your mat. Use this time to run to the bathroom, refill your water and stretch and relax on your mat to get in the right mind space. If you’re new to yoga or to our studio and you’re not sure where the teacher will set up, watch how other students set their mats up and follow their lead. Whether this is your first yoga class ever, your first class of this type or your first class at this particular studio, introduce yourself to the instructor. Tell them whether you have any physical concerns or injuries so they can provide any necessary modifications and can help adjust your poses accordingly. If you ever feel lost or feel like a pose is too advanced, you can always watch a more advanced student, or simply pause in mountain pose or child’s pose to observe and catch your breath.
When you take your first yoga class, you might feel intimidated by the ease with which so many students follow instructions in Sanskrit. But not to worry—most instructors teach class using both the Sanskrit and English terms, and you’ll find that many terms and poses are repeated over the course of a class’s sequences so you’ll learn quickly. First, it’s helpful to know some of the Sanskrit vocabulary so you know what these words mean when you hear them in class. In yoga, we talk a lot about our breath and the Sanskrit word pranayama refers to the ability to control your breath and maintain awareness of it. Pranayama is a vital part of your yoga practice as you move through different asanas, or poses. Finally, you’ll hear the word Namaste at the end of class—it’s a salutation meaning, “I honor the divine in you.” Ending with Namaste shows respect and gratitude for each person in the room. These Sanskrit words will become second nature before long, and the poses will start to come easily, too, once you know the basics. In fact, you may already be familiar with some of them! You’ve probably heard someone referring to Downward Dog or Warrior before, but you may not know what that pose looks like. Here are five basic yoga poses to get you started.
YogaSix offers six different types of yoga classes at all of our studios, so you can match your goals and fitness level with the benefits offered by each class. Whether you’re just starting out in yoga or looking to expand your exercise repertoire, our YogaSix studios have a class that’s right for you.
While the descriptions above primarily discuss the physical benefits of yoga, there are many mental benefits, too! Yoga is different from many other forms of exercise because it has a specific philosophical component. Yoga focuses on centering your body and mind and as such, can have a significant positive impact on your mental wellbeing. Pranayama, or the control and awareness of one’s breath, can be used to relieve stress, manage anxiety, control pain, and improve sleep. Many yogis use the breathing techniques they learn in yoga to help them through difficult times or trying situations. Breathwork calms your body by oxygenating your blood and telling your brain to calm down when you feel out of control. Mindfulness, another tenet of yoga, is also helpful in times of stress or pain. Through yoga, people can learn to be present in the moment and handle one thing at a time. This helps manage anxiety and allows them to get through situations that would otherwise feel insurmountable. Practicing yoga also increases your brain’s production of endorphins and dopamine, making you feel happier and calmer for improved quality of life.
In addition to the mental benefits of yoga, yoga can change your body over time. Yoga causes short-term improvements in your physical body that you can feel relatively quickly, and you’ll continue to see more benefits the longer you practice for advantages that benefit you for a lifetime.
Immediately after class you’ll experience improved brain function, lower stress hormones and increased flexibility, which can build over time. After several months of consistent yoga practice, you’ll see more significant changes including lower blood pressure, relief from chronic neck and back pain, fewer headaches, improved lung function, improved balance, and more efficient overall motion. After continued yoga practice, you’ll notice your improved posture and muscle function mean your body feels better in general. You’ll have fewer aches and pains, so you won’t be moving your body in unusual ways to compensate.
The long-term benefits of yoga are incredible. Improved strength and flexibility translate to stronger bones and fewer injuries over time. Consistent yoga practice helps you maintain a healthier weight and a yogi’s risk of heart disease is significantly lower. Finally, since yoga is helpful in easing stress, anxiety, and depression, and these conditions can impact your physical health, yoga can ultimately lead to significantly improved physical health overall.