Common Questions when Beginning Yoga
Coming to yoga can be overwhelming for a new student. Here a some general questions that usually come up when people first come to the studio.
As a teacher, I am available to answer any questions as clearly as possible and want to share the journey of yoga that has helped me grow so much.
1. How many times each week should I practice?
Beginners should develop a regular practice in order to get their body used to moving in this new way. In order for this to happen, it’s helpful to practice in the studio at least 3 times per week. Studio classes provide the structure and support that a new student needs in order to learn alignment and breath work. However, I stress with new students that consistency is just as important and that doing even 10 minutes of yoga such as a few Sun Salutations daily, including regular studio classes is important. If a new student can’t make it to class regularly, they should try to do a little yoga each day. If a student travels regularly, there are websites that we can suggest as a resource to help your during your absence.
2. What should I eat before and after class?
It is important that your body can focus on yoga and not digesting food so I suggest that they have not eaten 1 and a half hours before class. Students new to yoga may be unsure of how to adapt their meal schedule to accommodate their new yoga routine. Students should not come to yoga on a full stomach but they should have eaten something with a little protein and a little carbohydrate a few hours before. Also, try to come well hydrated, especially for heated yoga classes and be mindful of coming to yoga after a night of drinking, heavy eating or after just getting off a long flight as these things will all effect your practice.
After class, drink water and fuel with protein and electrolytes that you burned during class.
3. How many beginner classes should I take before taking an all levels class?
I have students who never graduate from Beginners classes or Basics as I am always working on new poses along with building from the ground up on well know poses. We discuss which styles of yoga they are ready for after class so they can feel empowered.
4. Will I be sore after class?
Sometimes new students experience soreness in the first few weeks of starting a yoga practice. It can be a combination of using muscles in a different way as well as challenging those muscles to do more. Sometimes, students also experience a deep release in very tight muscles, like hamstrings, hip flexors and muscles of the chest which can make some muscles sensitive. This is normal and will subside as their bodies get more used to the practice.
5. Should I use props?
The use of blocks, straps and blankets will not only enhance your practice but can provide critical assistance to a beginner. Props are there to help you feel on a physiological level input from your body. I tell beginners that props are helpful to use regardless of how many years you have been practicing.
6. How hot will it be in your class?
Hot yoga is usually practiced in 105 degree room but Hot Flow classes are around 95 degrees. I remind students they need to be well hydrated before they take class to ensure that they are practicing safely and that they have a pleasant experience. I encourage students to be less focused on the actual temperature and more tuned in to how they feel. Teachers know the range temperature and humidity should be safely placed.
7. If I want to lose weight, should I be doing more than yoga?
Many times, students will start a yoga practice as part of a wellness program. Some of my students see me for private sessions as part of a personal commitment to taking charge of their health. They may see a personal trainer or a nutritionist as well. Students will inquire about the cardiovascular effects of yoga and it’s ability to help loose weight. Know that a vigorous yoga practice is a great way to work towards weight loss and paired with healthy eating will help students reach their goal. Students can combine a regular yoga practice with an activity like a brisk walk to help. There has been research proven that Restorative yoga can help with weight loss as well since it helps to release dopamine and decrease cortisol that settles around the middle abdominal area. This question should be customized for each student.
8. How long do I need to practice before I start to see changes in my body?
New students are eager to see changes. Generally, the more regular the practice, the faster they begin to see changes. Yoga provides a deeper connection to their body so they can feel changes are more than exterior and their attitude changes as well. They become fully present to feeling on a physiological level. Soreness can signify one has started to work dormant muscle and changes in weight, strength, flexibility and overall body tone can change be seen as well. Be aware of positive changes in stress levels, improvement in sleep patterns, better focus, an overall feeling of relaxation after they leave class and a greater ability to stay connected to their body. These are all important and rewarding feelings too and will help your students recognize that the benefits and impact of yoga goes much more than skin deep. Just yesterday a students told me she had to adjust her rear view mirror as she was taller in her car seat.
Enjoy the journey!