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9 Common Reactions to Your First Yoga Class

April 7, 2014

Congrats! You just finished your first yoga class. But…

1. Your wrists hurt.

wristpainpreviewTruth be told, yoga is a pretty “wristy” practice, meaning, you spend a lot of time supporting your body weight with your hands on the floor in poses like table, plank and downward facing dog. In the beginning this can be rough. Over time you’ll quickly develop the strength and flexibility in your wrists and forearms and forget it ever bothered you. Good form also helps, check out this infographic about how to avoid wrist pain in yoga.

2. You felt totally lost.

Certain styles of yoga may move a bit quickly, and if you’re not a professional ballroom dancer, a Zumba-queen or haven’t yet developed general body awareness (realizing where your body is in space) then you might feel a little lost in the beginning. Here’s the thing though, it doesn’t matter. Yoga isn’t a performance, it’s a practice. It’s ok to be lost because you’re going to reap some serious benefits anyway and over time when your teacher says “and now vinyasa” you’ll know exactly what she means. Just keep going.

3. You didn’t understand how downward facing dog would ever be possible.

Extended Puppy PoseHow the heck did everyone else hold that pose for ten minutes like it was nothing? They practiced it. Over and over and over again. If you’re not a gymnast, diver, or dancer you’ll see that Downdog asks things of your body you’re not used to giving. Eventually you’ll cultivate more strength and flexibility and in the meantime you might try Extended Puppy Pose until you feel strong enough to hold Downward Facing Dog.

4. You weren’t sure what was going on at the end.

savsana groupEveryone else was lying on the floor like it was adult naptime and you stared at the ceiling wondering what to do. This is called “savasana” (sha-VAH-sah-nah) or corpse pose and is the last pose in pretty much every yoga class on the planet. All you need to do is lie still, relax your whole body and let the pose do the work for you. Trust me.


5. You hated it.

Most awful thing you’ve ever done. Your knee hurt, the old injury from your shoulder flared up and you felt like an idiot because you couldn’t do anything the instructor said. Fear not! There are so many styles of yoga out there and so many instructors that saying you hate yoga is like saying you hate shirts. It’s always possible to find one that fits just right for your personality and sense of style. Just. Keep. Searching.
PS: Stay tuned for an upcoming post “Yoga: a Style Guide.”

6. You loved it.

Yup. You’ve never felt so light, so relaxed, so peaceful and centered after a class. You’re a lucky duck. Sounds like you had a great instructor, a style that works for you and it took to you quickly. High fives!

7. You felt things in your body you’ve never felt before (during and the days after).

anatomyYoga works muscles in a totally different way than most other forms of physical exercise so it’s possible you awakened muscles in your body that have been lying dormant for a while (or ever.) Enjoy it. Being sore and achy in areas of your body means you’re getting stronger and you’re connecting more deeply with yourself (this is a good thing!)

8. You fell asleep.

It happens! Even to people who’ve been doing yoga for decades. Most often during savasana (see #4). Don’t fret, if you dozed off for a minute or so, you probably needed it. When you wake up, don’t be alarmed, just take your time to meet back up with the rest of the class.

9. You couldn’t sit still and you were super bored.

Ah, the ants-in-your-pants types. If it’s hard to sit still it’s probably because your mind is always racing. Guess what? Everyone’s is! Yoga helps us to slow down the monkey mind and feel centered but that may take some time. Fear not! Look for a style that’s more athletic like Power Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga and over time you’ll learn how to focus your mind by connecting with your movements.

One Comment leave one →
  1. ChrisJa permalink
    April 11, 2014 1:46 pm

    Rebecca, thanks for sharing such great and useful information. Anxiously awaiting to receive your future post on the Yoga Style Guide.

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