The first time we walk in anywhere it can be sooo intimidating, especially when it comes to something physical or fitness related. All of our biggest insecurities and doubts seem to bubble up when it comes to exercise or thinking about public classes at a studio or a gym. How can we feel more confident that first day? Let’s figure that out today.
So you’re nervous to walk into the studio for that first class.
I don’t blame you. I was too! I had no idea what to expect from my first yoga class, from the movement we would do to who else would be in the class, to what I should do when I arrived to check in or how to leave, where the bathrooms were, etc. So many unknowns.
Plus, we add on previous experiences with first experiences, and usually we focus on that most negative one we had, and we just know that this will be the same way, right? So a few tips for how to overcome these jitters:
- Remind yourself why you are going in the first place and set reasonable expectations
It’s not for the practice or class to be perfect. Don’t expect yourself to feel at home the first class. The #1 thing students who are trying a new class at my studio ask me when they come into the space is where it is safe to put their mat. They don’t want to take someone else’s spot. 😊 So you could do something similar – I always find it easiest to just announce my newness.
Any time I travel I always like to try out a yoga class, which means I have to walk into studios all the time where I am the new person. I get a little nervous every darn time. So when I arrive, I just own that I am new and am not sure what the procedures are and let them walk me through it. I at least ask someone already in the class if the spot next to them is usually filled by a “regular” or ask the instructor the same. It helps to not worry as others enter the room that you are “in their spot” even though – there are no spots. No one, at least in my classes, is going to care that you are there. It’s not really a thing, but I get it – so feel free to just ask and alleviate that worry.
- Give yourself extra time.
It’s new, so try not to be rushing as well. Instructors usually have more time before class to talk you through the class logistics or to answer your questions and take their time if you are there a few extra minutes early.
They are also usually more than happy to answer any questions you have about what the class is like, the difficulty, to chat about any concerns you have or injuries, etc.
More communication is better. The more they know about you and your experience or your limitations, the more they can tailor the class accordingly. I always try to ask my classes what requests they have, and of new people in class I try to check in with them about their practice and what they might want/need. I want the class to meet expectations and needs of those who are there.
- Put yourself in the shoes of those “regulars.”
Many of the nerves come from wondering if we fit in the class, can keep up with the class, if they are a welcoming community, etc. Remember a time when you were a regular in a class or a weekly activity and someone new came. What were your thoughts as the regular, on that side? Were you observing and evaluating them, seeing if they fit in? Or did you hope they felt comfortable and part of the group? Try to keep that in mind and give the rest of the class the benefit of the doubt, that they might be excited for you to be there. I know in my classes we are sometimes probably too excited to welcome you to class and invite you into the community. We love having new people joining in.
- Take an Intro Course
The more you can prepare for the foundations of the class or practice, the more confident you will feel in that component. I know that when I started yoga, I noticed a huge difference in my comfort level of attending classes after I took a Beginner’s workshop. It was a two-part series that took the poses step-by-step and discussed alignment and feel of poses. We had time to ask the instructor questions and get feedback on our poses and how to make them more comfortable. Instead of just popping into a public class where the instructor can’t stop and explain a pose, this time was exactly what I needed to feel more confident coming into class. I felt more confident in my practice and understanding of yoga. It also allowed me to relax more into the flow of the class and helped me deepen my practice. I learned so much that I would otherwise just pick up here and there in a class with whatever cues or tips happened to be given in that class.
Because not all studios and teachers offer in-depth beginner’s workshops or courses, AND because even if they do the schedule doesn’t always work with yours, I have created a comprehensive online beginner’s course that allows you to go at your own pace and to return to the course any time you have questions or want to deepen your knowledge and practice.
It also gives you all that foundational work you are wanting BEFORE you step into the studio. Studio beginner courses still require you to walk through the door that first time, even if that first time is to the beginner’s course. Taking this online course gives you the advantage of knowing the foundations prior to attending your first class. It also includes several practices, as well, so that you can build confidence and familiarity with not just the components and poses but also of the way class flows and is cued.
Check out the course. It is everything you need to go from 0 to budding yogi.
- Bring a friend!
Everything is always easier with a friend. Whether the friend has attended before and can show you the ropes or if you are both new, you are not walking into the class by yourself. You have a buffer and someone else to help you navigate. Plus, you can potentially become accountability partners as well and make it a weekly commitment.
Even better, bring a friend to the beginner’s workshop, or enroll in the online beginner’s course together and make a plan to work through it together.
In the end, remember that we were all new once, we all started somewhere and at some point AND you are only new once. Don’t let that stop you. Just think where you can be in a month, three months, six months, a year.