Tips for Your First Yoga Class and Free Yoga in RVA

by on September 13, 2011

As most of you know, I love yoga. One question I frequently get asked is how to get started with yoga. This is understandable as yoga can definitely be intimating. I do a lot of yoga on my own at home now but if you’ve never done it before I highly recommend finding a beginner’s class at a local studio in your area.

Of course, you can read up about the different class types and find diagrams of the poses online (this SparkPeople article is a great resource), but going to a beginner’s/intro class is great because the instructor will be able to teach you the poses and make sure you are doing them correctly. I’m a firm believer that anyone can do yoga – you just have to find the right style for you!

September is National Yoga Month so if you’ve been thinking about trying yoga for a while, this month is the perfect time to start. To celebrate many studios are offering one week of free yoga to new clients. Simply visit this site, find a studio near you that is participating and print out the voucher.

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If you do decide to try it out this month, here are a few tips for your first yoga class -

  • Bring your own mat – this isn’t 100% necessary as most studios have extra mats for people to use but if you are worried about germs at all, I would invest in a cheap mat to get started. Target has some good options.
  • Bring a bottle of water – despite what many people think, yoga can make you sweat!
  • Eat 1-2 hours before class – yoga is best done on an empty stomach. (Having a small snack 30 minutes before class is typically fine.)
  • Wear workout clothes that are comfy and allow you to move but aren’t super loose – your clothes don’t have to be skin tight, but dangling t-shrits and sweats often times get in the way when you’re doing yoga.
  • Arrive 10-15 minutes early – most studios require you to sign a waiver before the class starts. This will also give you time to go to the bathroom, meet the instructor or chat with your classmates before the class begins.
  • If the instructor asks who is new and who has injuries at the beginning of class, don’t be shy – these are normal questions at yoga studios and the instructor will be able to provide you with more instruction and help with adjustments if you are new or have an injury.
  • If something hurts or you’re not exactly sure how to do a pose, ask the instructor – they’re are there to assist you!
  • Be kind to yourself by accepting where you are – rest if you need to and only do what you can. Listen to your body, pushing yourself beyond comfort and pain is not what yoga is about.

If you’re local to Richmond, you have no excuse because there are quite a few opportunities to try yoga for free:

Do you have any additional tips for yoga newbies? If you’re new to yoga, do you have any questions?

Have a great Tuesday friends!

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Aine @ Something to Chew Over September 13, 2011 at 8:51 am

Great tips! I mainly practice at home now.

I think it’s confidence-boosting to practice poses at home that you’ve learned in class.

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Lauren @ What Lauren Likes September 13, 2011 at 8:56 am

Great post! I’ve dabbled with YOga for about a year now, and still haven’t found my perfect fit really. This post definetly cleared alot up! Thanks :)

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Clare @ Fitting It All In September 13, 2011 at 9:31 am

Great tips! This would be SO helpful for a first time Yogi.

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The Healthy Hipster September 13, 2011 at 9:36 am

Excellent ideas, lady. I especially love the suggestion to ASK FOR HELP when you need it. This was a big hurdle for me when I first started practicing yoga and I felt super embarrassed that I was such a newbie. Lookin great too! :)

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Monet September 13, 2011 at 9:47 am

Smile. I love doing yoga…especially outside. We did yoga while in Maine and it was BEAUTIFUL. Bring on the mat! Thanks for making my morning a little bit sweeter :-) I’m baking a batch of cookies and then heading to work. Sounds like a good start, huh? Much love and hugs from Austin!

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Eating Bird Food September 13, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Your morning sounds quite lovely Monet. I hope you had a great day.

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Ericka Andersen September 13, 2011 at 9:55 am

Thanks for the tips. I admit, yoga has always been a little intimidating to me. I went to a couple of classes but everyone seemed so “advanced.” I guess you have to start somewhere…appreciate the words of wisdom!

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Jess @JessCantCook September 13, 2011 at 10:42 am

Great tips :) When I started yoga I think I underestimated how challenging it could be, I thought “it’s just a bunch of stretching right?” so when I tried it, and wasn’t very good at it, it was a little discouraging. But it felt really good afterward!

I’m going to sign up for that Whole Foods event today!

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Eating Bird Food September 13, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Yay! I’m excited.

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Ashley September 13, 2011 at 12:14 pm

I’m still kind of a yoga newbie, but I do have a tip! Always bring a towel to a hot yoga class! I went to my first one a few weeks ago and couldn’t believe how sweaty I got. :)

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Eating Bird Food September 13, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Yes – bringing a towel is also a great idea. Thanks Ashley.

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Tichina September 13, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Great tips! Like you, I practice yoga in my home more often than in a gym; I do love classes but for convience home works best for me! My best advice to new “yog-ees” would be to keep an open mind when attending different studios as well as having varying instructors. I fell in love at my first class of yoga; since then though I’ve attended classes than were less than spectacular. So, if you’re less than thrilled about your first session try a few more classes/studios before you swear off the exersize :)

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Eating Bird Food September 13, 2011 at 10:16 pm

That’s such a great point Tichina. The first time I tried Bikram yoga I hated it, but really what i disliked was the instructor. I’ve taken Bikram classes since (with other instructors) that I’ve really enjoyed. The instructor really makes or breaks the class so even if you don’t have a great first experience, it pays to go back and try another instructor.

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Cara @ EAT.PRAY.RUN. September 13, 2011 at 2:01 pm

I had not done much yoga until I won a free month at YogaWorks in a raffle last month. It has been SO amazing having yoga as my ‘cross training’ for marathon training. They offer lots of pilates mat classes which have also been great – the core work is challenging AND I can totally feel/see a difference. Loved that you dedicated a whole post to yoga! :)

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Stephanie @cookinfanatic September 13, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Great post with yoga tips girl! Can’t wait for the WF class next weekend, should be good I’m thinking! :)

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Stephanie @cookinfanatic September 13, 2011 at 2:55 pm

P.S. That project yoga richmond site is great, I didn’t know about it?? Are you (or have you) been to any of their classes? I might try one here soon!

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Eating Bird Food September 13, 2011 at 10:20 pm

I know! I haven’t been to any of their classes yet, but I’m planning to go to some. J Miles, the teacher for the event at Whole Foods is also part of Project Yoga so we can ask him more details about it at the event on Sunday.

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j miles September 13, 2011 at 10:39 pm

so, i googled myself to look for this youtube video of me demonstating yoga, and i find this site. thanks for the plug. and yep, i can answer whatever questions anyone may have about PYR. do i know you miss bird food?

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Eating Bird Food September 14, 2011 at 6:21 am

I’ve only met you once at an outdoor yoga event at Maymont but I’ll be sure to introduce myself on Sunday. :)

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Lauren @ vegology September 13, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Great post! I have a tip for yoga newbies. Do not be discouraged if an instructor individually corrects your pose – getting individual attention in a group class can sometimes be embarrassing when you are the new kid on the block, but a little tweak here and there can make a world of difference. Learn to appreciate the feedback!

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Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats September 13, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Perfect timing with this post! I am starting a 6 week beginning yoga session tomorrow! I can’t wait to try something new! :)

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Becky @ Fit Chick on the Fly September 14, 2011 at 8:41 am

I’ve always wanted to try yoga. Mainly to increase my flexibility. Thanks for the helpful tips.

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Lisa September 14, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Great tips! I love yoga, especially Bikram! :-)

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Alexa @ Simple Eats September 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Definitely don’t try to do something you’re not comfortable with or know you can’t do. I pulled a muscle pretty badly that way!

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Angel September 15, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Thank you! Beginning yoga is definately scary and intimidating…and most of the information out there is NOT beginner friendly. I did find a wonderful special edition of Yoga Journal that was designed for beginners that helped boost my confidence. This post makes me ALMOST brave enough to go to a class instead of the DVDs I have at home!

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