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How to Survive Your First Yoga Class

Nothing is more embarrassing than making a fool out of yourself at your first yoga class. It takes some practice to fit in with the pros, but disasters can be prevented.

I always dread trying a new fitness class. Personally, I tend to avoid the unknown and trying new things - especially things I don't expect to be good at.

I'll never forget the first time I tried yoga. It was a bit of a mystery to me because it has always been something I avoided like the plague. I like doing things I'm strong in, and flexibility is not one of those things.

I'm also very energetic and don't sit still well either, so the thought of being still and quiet was a terrifying. Ironically, the things we need most are typically the things we avoid. I knew I needed yoga, but I had put it off for so many years.  Finally, it was time to take the plunge and try yoga for the very first time.

If this sounds familiar, here are a few little things I learned that might help you get through your first class gracefully.

1. I came prepared.

If you are a nervous Nelly like me, do yourself a favor and call the place ahead of time to find out what you will need. I knew I needed a yoga mat. Even though most places have extras, I waned to put my own feet on my own personal mat, plus it made me feel like a real yogi. I picked up a cute pink mat at a local discount department store for really cheap, and I fit right in.

My yoga instructor suggested I bring water and a gym towel to wipe up sweat. I had no idea I would even sweat in class, but low and behold, I sweat like a pig and was sure grateful I had that towel - and water bottle!

Then, there is wearing the right clothes. I wanted to blend in and look the part, but I didn't realize just how important wearing the right clothes was. There is a reason people wear fitted clothing that moves with your body without restricting movement. Luckily, I chose wisely, but I did see some other people around me fighting their clothes the entire time.

Lastly, most instructors will suggest you eat prior to class. However, you should allow approximately two and a half hours for food to fully digest. Reaching for your toes can be challenging enough without having a belly full of food in the way.

2. I left my pride at the door.

As I said, I HATE doing things I am not good at, and I put unnecessary pressure on myself to perform well. But, everyone has to start at the beginning - and everyone in class had their first day too. As soon I embraced this thought, I could relax and be okay with being the newbie in the room.

I didn't expect to be able to do every pose. I modified poses when necessary and, believe it or not, no one thought any less of me. While my pride wanted to rock the class, I had to accept that I wasn't going to be a professional yogi overnight.

3. I avoided every unnecessary embarrassing moment possible.

I HATE being called out in a group. I want to be under the radar, so I did everything possible to stay on the down-low.  I showed up early and I was committed to staying to the end of class. Most studios recommend you come fifteen minutes early to complete any necessary paperwork. But, more importantly, I wanted to be early enough to find a comfortable spot in class - like finding a dark corner in the back of the class to hide in!

Luckily, I remembered to turn my phone off. I can imagine the embarrassment if my phone had gone off in class. That is definitely not a way to make yogi friends.

4. I did a quick body check.

I knew my little piggies would also be making a guest appearance, so I did a quick pedi. I doubt anyone really cared or noticed, but it sure made me feel more comfortable.

I showered and shaved before class too. The last thing I wanted to worry about is body odor or hairy legs. However, one thing I didn't think about was lotion. I slathered my lotion on like normal, but that ended up being a very bad idea. My yoga mat turned into a slip and slide within the first ten minutes of class!

Although you don't have to be prepared to have a good first yoga class, I hope you can learn from my experience (and my mistakes) to make your first class a total success.

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