Walking into a yoga studio full of experienced and flexible yogis can be intimidating. If it's your first class and you don't know what to expect, you might feel out of place and stressed, which is counterproductive to yoga teachings and results. By understanding what to expect from your first class, you can overcome newcomer jitters for a better introduction into yoga as a practice. Eventually you can adopt yoga asanas and breathing into your daily schedule for sessions on the fly.
The time that a yoga class runs is completely up to the teacher and the type of yoga that you're practicing. Some yoga classes are more intensive and will last up to 90 minutes. "Express" yoga classes cater to those with busy schedules and might be as short as 30 minutes. Sixty-minute long classes are also common. To find out how long a particular class will run, contact the studio or instructor directly so you know how to plan your schedule around class.
Types of Yoga
Different types of yoga classes often run for different amounts of time. A traditional Bikram yoga class, for example, usually lasts for 60 minutes because it's physically demanding and follows the same set of poses each class. A less demanding hatha yoga class, on the other hand, only lasts for 90 minutes. Ashtanga and kundalini yoga are also very physically demanding and might be shorter. All studios and instructors set their own schedules, so personal preferences take center stage when it comes to the length of a yoga class.
What to Expect
If you're attending your first yoga class, it's prudent to arrive 15 to 20 minutes early to speak with the instructor. Not only will arriving early give you ample time to set up your mat, but you can also can inform the instructor that you're new and may need special attention while in class. Most classes start with stretching and guided meditation in order to center yourself before beginning the actual practice of yoga. If you feel overwhelmed or as though you can't keep up with the other members in the class, take a break and observe quietly until you're ready to try again.
Once you've familiarized yourself with the various asanas from your class, you can try yoga sessions by yourself at home. A yoga session can be as long or as short as your schedule allows. At times, you might only need five or 10 minutes to shut your office door and practice breathing exercises and a few different poses to energize your body midday. Or, borrow a yoga DVD from the library. You can choose from a variety of routines in various lengths to fit your schedule to make yoga a part of your daily life.
- "Yoga Chick: A Hip Guide to Everything Om"; Bess Gallanis; 2006
- "Yoga For Dummies"; Georg Feuerstein, Larry Payne; 2010