10 tips for taking your first beginner yoga class

by Melissa West on February 16, 2015

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Beginner Yoga Class Top 10 Tips


Top-Ten-Tips-for-Taking-Your-First-Beginner-Yoga-Class-OnlineProps Needed: blanket and blocks

Number One #1

Make sure you have permission and maybe even some guidance from your doctor about starting an exercise program. Many doctors won’t have a lot of idea about yoga and there are so many different styles of yoga, so here are a list of questions to ask your doctor.

  1. Is it ok for me to start an exercise program?
  2. What exercises or movements will make my condition better?
  3. What exercises or movements will make my condition worse?
  4. What exercises and movements should I absolutely avoid? In other words what are the contraindications to my medical condition or injury if I am going to be exercising.
  5. Are there more details about my medical condition or injury that are important for me to know if I am going to start exercising?

Forewarned is forearmed. Information is power. If you come to your first online yoga class with this information, you will know how to look after your body best and be your own best teacher. 🙂

Number Two #2

Is the yoga teacher in the video giving detailed, step-by-step instructions of the basic, beginner-level poses? You are here to learn, for the first time, you deserve specific, thorough, uncomplicated point-by-point instruction that is going to allow you to be taught yoga. If you aren’t receiving this, move on to another instructor and video. There are lots of them out there.

Number Three #3

Is it slow enough for you to follow? This is a beginner class. You are learning yoga for the first time. If the instructor is always 3 moves ahead of you this is simply going to lead to frustration and you wanting to give up. We don’t want that! We want you to have success. Slow and steady wins the race every time. If the video leaves you feeling like you are falling behind, time to look for another video that is going to give you the instructions and movements more SLOWLY.

Number Four #4

Yoga is for people of all shapes and sizes. Yoga is not just for skinny, slim, yoga babe model types. In some poses you may have to create space for your body. Let’s look at a few of those poses now.

  • Child’s pose
  • Twist
  • Standing Forward Fold
  • Making space for your body is easy and creating modifications and adjustments is part of every yoga practice.

Number Five #5

You don’t have to be balanced or coordinated to start taking beginner yoga classes. Beginner yoga classes will help you become more balanced and coordinated. In beginner yoga classes we will teach you how to balance better. We will do this by teaching you about drishti, finding a point to focus on, how to connect your feet to the ground for better balance and using props that you already have in your home like chairs and walls. Regardless, we’ve got you covered, your balance will get better and we can help you if you are unbalanced.

Here are some blog posts I’ve done on balance that may be helpful:

https://www.melissawest.com/ankles-and-balancing/

https://www.melissawest.com/balancing-poses-to-help-avoid-falling/

https://www.melissawest.com/how-to-balance-in-lunge-pose/

Number Six #6

You don’t have to be flexible to start taking beginner yoga classes. Beginner yoga classes will help you become more flexible 🙂 Beginner classes will focus on poses that are not too demanding for your flexibility. Simple yoga poses make flexibility accessible, uncomplicated, effortless and straightforward. In yoga we have something called an “edge.” That simply means you get to choose when a yoga pose feels like too much and then you back off. Let’s try it now.

Keyhole Stretch.

I have a whole free beginner yoga class on this concept of choosing just the right stretch in your body if you are a beginner.

https://www.melissawest.com/251/

Number Seven #7

Wrists! I hear this one a lot, “Every time I try a beginner yoga class my wrists hurt.” This is not surprising given the number of hours we spend typing on keyboards, whether they be laptops, desktop computer keyboards, tablets or cell phones. Here are some quick tips for taking care of your wrists in a beginner yoga class.

Show cat pose with a couple of modifications
on fists, forearms, roll your mat so your wrists are lifted.

If you want some specific training on this, I have a whole class on yoga for your hands and wrists:
https://www.melissawest.com/shop/yoga-for-your-hands-and-wrists/

Number Eight #8

Make sure your teacher is giving lots of modifications and alternatives. This is true throughout a beginner’s yoga class, However this is especially true if you can’t do the yoga poses due to injuries or medical conditions.

For example if you have problems with your knees:

Show lunge pose – put a blanket under your knees, show how you can add padding under your knees, show the importance of alignment from ankle to knee to hip

If you need specific help with your knees, I have a whole video on this as well:
https://www.melissawest.com/shop/yoga-for-your-knees-instant-download/

Here again, it is really important to go back to Number One and make sure you know from your medical doctor what the contraindications are for your medical condition or injury. That way you can be your own best teacher and guide in your yoga class. If you are not sure about the advice your doctor has given you. Please ask about their recommendations. I love hearing from my yoga students on Itunes, YouTube, my website and membership site.

Number Nine #9

My good friend, soul sister and colleague, Shannon Valle has this great saying, she asked me one time, “Do you want to be a sage on stage or a guide on the side?” Is the teacher a sage on stage or a guide on the side. When you watch the online yoga video for beginners do you get a sense that the teacher in the video is performing or teaching you? This class is supposed to be to teach YOU how to do yoga. You need a guide on the side, not a sage on stage. If you’ve landed on a sage on the stage, then move on, there are lots of yoga instructors in the online world, find one who actually is interested in teaching you. I am interested in having you as a yoga student. I love hearing from my yoga students. Let me know about your yoga practice on YouTube, ITunes, Facebook, Instagram, my website and our membership site. 🙂

Number Ten #10

Have fun! You don’t have to take yourself seriously. One thing people tell me again and again about my classes is that they enjoy my laughter and laughing with me. As my friend Anita Goa says, let’s be serious about taking ourselves lightly.

I would love to have the opportunity to share the teachings of yoga with you and be your first beginner yoga teacher. We have several yoga classes designed just for the beginning student. Our philosophy is real yoga for real people. Check us out. 🙂

https://www.melissawest.com/beginner-order-and-how-long/

https://www.melissawest.com/250/

https://www.melissawest.com/251

https://www.melissawest.com/253

And we’re adding to this list all the time:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0343C65F2EEFE37E

 

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