We completely understand that booking your first yoga class can be a daunting experience and so we have created this beginners guide to yoga so you can feel prepared.
Yoga is full of long established traditions and rituals, and this can seem impenetrable if you don’t understand the reasons behind them. We want to reassure you that it’s completely normal to have lots of questions and to be feeling a bit (or maybe a lot) uncomfortable. This is the first lesson that yoga teaches us, that it’s ok to feel exactly as you feel and show up for class exactly as you are.
In this guide we have sought to answer some of the most frequently asked questions and if your question isn’t in the list below, do send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always happy to answer any questions that you may still have. We are here to help and encourage you every step of the way.
When should I arrive?
We recommend arriving no earlier than 10 minutes before your class is due to begin. This allows you plenty of time to find your way from the car park, meet your teacher, familiarise yourself with the studio, find a space and roll out your mat.
Your class will begin at the time stated on your booking confirmation. It can be really disruptive for students and the teacher when people arrive as class begins so do give yourself plenty of time to make your way to us.
How will I know where to sit?
Do students have their own reserved space in the studio?
Can I hide in the back row?
At Same Star Yoga, you may use any mat space that resonates with you. You will see that there are markers on the floor that set out the appropriate spacing so that everyone has the space they need. We encourage all of our students to move around the studio regularly and there are no reserved spaces, regardless of how long or how often a student has practised with us.
At Same Star we strive to create a welcoming, supportive and safe space in our studio. We encourage new students to come to the front row where your teacher can help you more during class. Of course this is totally up to you and if you prefer the back row you may roll out your mat there.
What do I need to wear?
Do I need trainers or special socks?
Will I get hot/cold?
We recommend layered, loose comfortable clothing. We practise in bare feet.
There are yoga socks that some students like to wear that have separate toes (like gloves but for feet!). These are not compulsory. Normal socks can be dangerously slippery on a yoga mat and so going barefoot is best.
Is there anywhere secure to put my belongings/phone/shoes/coat?
Can I keep my phone with me?
Yes. We have a small room just for this purpose. The only entrance is from the studio so you can be assured that your belongings are safe whilst you are on the mat.
Please ensure that your mobile phone is either off or on silent during class. If you need to keep your phone with you we understand. We regularly teach students who are “on call”. We kindly ask that you let your teacher know before class begins and that you set your phone to silent and low light.
What do I need to bring with me?
Do I need my own mat? And equipment?
For every class you will need to bring your own mat. We usually have mats for students to use but due to the current COVID-19 situation we ask that everyone brings their own. A good yoga mat is very important (we have written a blog post all about the importance of a good yoga mat). If you need to purchase your own mat we recommend the Liforme mats. We actually stock these mats, so should you want one, let us know and we can keep one aside for you.
You may also want to bring a bottle of water and depending on the type of class you are attending you may also wish to bring a yoga block(s), blanket, cushion, bolster, strap, pillow, journal and pen. If you’re not sure of what to bring for your particular class check the class description and your email booking confirmation for a list of useful items.
Will there be chanting?
Will I be expected to chant?
Yes, there may be chanting. At Same Star Yoga we often chant Om in class. It is always your choice whether you join in. To find out more about why we chant, see Faye’s recent blog post.
What will happen in class?
Generally our yoga classes contain pranayama (breathing techniques), asana (postures) and end with savasana (reclined meditation). There may also be kriya (cleansing practices) and dhyana (meditation).
Will there be incense?
Why do you burn incense?
In some classes there may be incense burning or oils diffusing. This is a traditional yogic ritual and evokes a connection back to the source of yoga. Yoga is a full sensory experience and we often use sights, sounds and scents to alter our emotional and energetic states.
If you have an allergy or respiratory condition that we need to be aware of please email us before your class.
What if I don’t know the poses?
What if I can’t do the poses?
We understand that this is your first yoga class and that a lot of things will feel unfamiliar. We encourage gentle exploration of asana (poses/postures) with compassion for our bodies. There is no judgement from us on what you may or may not be able to express physically during your time on the mat with us. Your teacher will always give variations and modifications for every pose ensuring that every student is able to reach their potential.
If there is anything you would like to make your teacher aware of before class, there is an intake form to fill in when you book your class. Alternatively you can email your teacher at email@example.com. All student information we hold is kept completely confidential.
What’s the difference between Hatha, Flow and Yin?
Isn’t yoga just yoga?
How will I know which is the right class for me?
Hatha yoga is a good place to begin. We practice kriya (cleansing practices), asana (poses) and pranayama (breathing techniques) at a gentle pace with opportunity for rest and reflection between poses. We always end with savasana (reclined meditation).
Flow yoga, slow flow and vinyasa flow are all variations of the intention to pair movement into and out of asana with the breath. Classes will also contain pranayama, dhyana (meditation) and savasana. Flow yoga can be more physically demanding than hatha yoga as there are fewer opportunities to rest during the class although modifications are always given to ensure the class is accessible for all students.
Yin yoga affects the connective tissue (fascia) rather than the muscular system. All poses are either seated or reclined, supported with props and held for up to 4 minutes. In yin classes we may also practice dhyana. Read our blog all about yin yoga to see if it is the right fit for you.
There are many different styles, traditions and lineages within yoga. The three above are just a small sample of what is explored and practiced under the umbrella of yoga. Although they may seem very different, the intention for each style remains the same; Exploration of the Self.
If you are unsure which class would be a match for your needs, have a look at our class pages for more detail or send us a message with your current situation and we can advise on which class would benefit you the most. Wherever you are physically, energetically, emotionally, we have a class that will meet you where you are.
Why does everyone lie down at the end of class?
Do I have to do that too?
At the end of every yoga class we practise a pose called savasana. Traditionally this is a reclined pose (laying on your back), with eyes closed and palms facing the sky.
This is a time of quiet reflection that allows time for us to fully integrate our practice into our physical, energetic and emotional bodies before step off the mat. Savasana is usually between five and ten minutes long. There might be music playing or silence. Sometimes the teacher guides the meditation with their voice. Savasana is brought to a close with a chime or bell and the teacher guiding you to a seated position to close the class.
If you would prefer to experience your meditation in another position, such as seated or laying on your front or side, or you prefer to have your eyes open then please go ahead. This is your time, your savasana and we respect your right to choose.
Whether you wish to practice savasana or not, out of respect for the other students present, we kindly request that you remain in the class until the teacher has brought the class to a close. This ensures that all students enjoy their meditation experience without being disturbed.
We hope that this beginners guide to yoga has helped you by answering some of the questions you might have. Once again, if your question wasn’t there, do send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always happy to answer any questions that you may still have.
We cannot wait to have you join our kula (family) and experience yoga with us for the first time.
With loving kindness,
Samantha and Faye