I walked into the unbearably hot room with my friend Amber, we rolled out our mats, and braced ourselves for our first Bikram yoga class. It was so hot I kind of wanted to run out the door. But I wasn’t alone, so I stayed.
The teacher came in and immediately started class. It was kind of dark, we were all facing a mirrored wall, and I had no idea what I was doing. I remember trying not to look around at the others in class, but couldn’t help it because she kept saying all of these crazy yoga words.
By the time class was over I couldn’t decide if I felt invigorated or terrified.
Maybe you can relate?
I’ve certainly learned a lot since then and clearly didn’t stop practicing yoga altogether, but looking back there are some things I wish I would’ve known when I started. To help you avoid the surprise of a Bikram (or any intense) class, I’ve compiled a few things I wish I would've known before starting yoga.
3 Things to Know Before Starting Yoga
There are sooo many styles of yoga
Like… there are “11 major types”, LOL!!! If you are jumping into a new class and like to avoid surprises, I advise doing some quick research before hand. It could mean the difference between a slow chill class and a sweaty intense Bikram class. I won’t bore you with a breakdown of all of the types, because that’s what Google is for, but these are the types of classes I frequent most: Baptiste Power Yoga, Buti Yoga, and any slower, meditative classes.
Yoga props are your friend
NO seriously. I think I stressed this enough in my yoga props blog post recently, but I mean it. Get yourself some yoga blocks and use them constantly. I used to get so frustrated in poses like twisting triangle and half moon because I just couldn’t find the alignment and balance and ease that I saw everyone in. In teacher training I learned how to use a block and those poses quickly became favorites of mine. Think of your blocks and strap as go-go-gadget extenders… they make your limbs longer, LOL! Also - If you’re going to a hot yoga class take a towel (or two).
You don’t have to be mega-flexible or super strong
There’s this weird misconception that you must be flexible in order to do yoga. I get it - damn advertising has skewed our views of who can do yoga (until late). Because of the power of social media and the incredible ability to build our own platforms, we now have access to seeing the entire world doing yoga. Seriously, just look under a few hashtags on Instagram and you’ll see all of the different body types, races, and genders showing off their practice. It’s beautiful really <3
Wherever you are on your journey, don’t give up. You’ll have really consistent months and then there will be times where you feel like you haven’t been on your mat for weeks. It’s okay. Your yoga mat isn’t going to get up and walk out on you. Just don’t forget to come back often : )
Good luck & Namaste!