The most important tips for attending your first yoga class are to come to class wearing clean yoga clothing, with a clean mat and an open, positive mindset!
Be mindful of practicing ‘watchasana’
Sometimes we see others doing really beautiful things in yoga class, but please remember that your practice and experience is yours. Try to remain rooted in your own space and practice. If you are taking a class for the first time, place your mat in the middle of the room so you can easily catch a glimpse of what is going on without having to turn to look around the room.
Always think about your gazing point (“drishti” Sanskrit). Where we look affects our balance and alignment, and can transform the pose. It’s natural to want to watch the person who’s speaking to you, but unlike other types of movement classes, unless a teacher specifically asks you to watch a demonstration you don’t need to watch him/her. In yoga classes, teachers are usually walking around, assisting students verbally and manually.
Try to be present as much as possible
Some days, class can feel a little overwhelming or we can be in a distracted state. If you need to rest, come to child’s pose or another pose that feels comfortable to you. Close your eyes, breathe, and listen to your breath. Just being in the room, breathing and practicing being present, is highly therapeutic. Rejoin the class when you are ready.
Eating/Drinking before and during your class
Watch how much water you drink. Most of us hydrate enough ahead of time to sustain us through a sweaty full-length class. If your throat is dry or your mouth feels gummy, take a small sip. Just remember that you probably don’t want a gut full of water while you’re twisting, forward bending, inverting, etc. Please hydrate thoroughly after class, though!
Try not to eat a full meal before class. Give yourself time to digest. Everyone is different, but 2 hours for a light-to-medium meal is good, and 3+ hours for really heavy meals. If you have low blood sugar and need a little snack beforehand, have a handful of nuts or a bit of fruit.
Practice non-attachment to the poses
Let yourself fall in love with the process. You might work on a particular pose for years before coming into what some would consider the full expression of the pose. Some poses might come one day but not the next. And that is fine! Create an intention and work towards it, but with patience and non-attachment always in mind.
Maintain a sense of light-heartedness. You can have a serious asana practice without taking yourself too seriously.
Smile if you wobble or even fall. Pat yourself on the back for being brave enough to go for it!