It’s been quite some time since I visited a new yoga studio, let alone my first yoga class. So I don’t always think about the things to expect as a beginner. I was in line at Trader Joe’s the other day checking out and commented on the free yoga class next door. The friendly cashier mentioned that she was brand new to yoga and how overwhelmed she was for her first class. It’s nothing to get overwhelmed about, this what to expect at hot yoga (or any yoga class) for the first time check list will help you!
This got me thinking about what to expect at hot yoga if I was brand new and going for the first time. I’ve been going so long I wonder how in the world could yoga be overwhelming, it’s such a calming place for me! Then I remembered one of my first classes in a real studio. Like many, I had attended yoga in the gym I was a member of, and we were responsible for just showing up. The gym provided mats and there weren’t any yoga props available. So as you can imagine my surprise, walking into a studio with heat, what to do with all these prop; like yoga blocks, bolster, straps and more. I thought, what in the world do you do with all of this, maybe I’m not ready for yoga!
What to Expect at Hot Yoga
I wanted to talk about what to expect at hot yoga:
- You will need to bring your own mat (affiliate link). You can purchase quality mats online, at the studio, or any other sports store or even TJ Maxx.
- Bring water and a headband if it’s a hot class. Headbands are great so you don’t have your hair in your face, which can be a distraction.
- A yoga towel (affiliate link) is a must for hot yoga! Check out ZenActives yoga towels, they are nonslip and WONDERFUL! I love using mine in hot yoga, I don’t slip around on the mat like I used to!
- Check out the class description online before attending. Here are a few things to consider. Will class be heated? What is the type of class. Not sure how to figure out what the class descriptions mean? If you are not sure, give the studio a call and let them know you are a beginner and see what they recommend. They will be happy to help you! Just for your information, here are a few of the common type of classes I see advertised:
- Vinyasa Flow or Power Yoga – fast paced. I would recommend being familiar with the names for poses before attending vinyasa flow. This class is often heated as well,.
- Slow flow or Hatha – This class is great for beginners! It’s slow enough you can figure out moves and the teachers can come correct your form
- Bikrim Yoga – advanced yoga class. You move through 26 poses in a specific order and hold the poses for quite some time and the room is HOT! Most Bikrim studios are close to 100 degrees (or more),
- Shake Your Asana – this class is so fun! It’s usually a vinyasa flow class set to music!
- When you arrive at the studio let them know you are new and ask them if they have a new student special before you pay for class. Many studios have a week or month at a reduced price so you can try out many different classes to see if the studio fits your needs.
- Arrive early. There are quite a few reasons I recommend this.
- The first is so you can introduce yourself to the instructor (they will love that you do this so don’t feel uncomfortable!).
- It’s great to show up early so you can find a spot you feel comfortable in. I know when I was a beginner I didn’t want to be in the front of the class, so I would try to snag a spot in the back.
- Also, if you are rushing in right before class starts, you may feel overwhelmed getting your equipment or figuring out what you might need.
- Yoga studios have VERY friendly patrons, so introduce yourself and make a friend! They will likely tell you all about why they love the class/studio and can help you get your equipment you need. They will also reaffirm to you that being a beginner is ok – yoga is all about YOUR practice.
- You might not be able to do everything and you may not know the names of poses or you are used to poses being called something else. This is why I loved being in the back of the class. I could look around and figure out what the instructor was asking us to do. It’s totally ok not to be flowing with everyone else, just try your best!
- No talking in yoga! Once class starts, most studios prefer that you not talk during class. If you have a question, try to make eye contact with the instructor, but you might need to hold your question till the end of class.
- The teachers may come correct your form – I’ve become SO MUCH BETTER at yoga from this! Don’t get upset, they are giving you the power to get into the pose and make the most out of your practice!
- Shavasana will be your favorite part of class. Take advantage of it!
I hope this takes away some of the overwhelm about what to expect at hot yoga for your first time. If you can’t make it to yoga class, check out my girl Suzy’s series on common yoga mistakes so you can try to improve on your yoga practice at home! I think she would agree with me that taking pictures of your practice to see where you might have imbalances or weakness is a great way to improve your form if you can’t get direction from an instructor. Also check out my other yoga posts!