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7 Things You Experience in a Yoga Class

Unsure of what to expect at your first Joy Yoga class?  No problem!  Here’s a little outline to help you better understand the flow of a typical class.

Come in comfy clothes (no shoes or socks necessary), and bring a bottle of water to stay hydrated!  If you don’t own your own mat, you can borrow one at Joy.  Sometimes teachers will encourage you to grab a couple props while setting up, like blocks, bolsters, or straps, which will be used to support or deepen a pose.

Once you set up your mat and props, get comfortable on your mat by taking a few deep breaths or maybe stretching a bit until the teacher begins to cue the class.
  1. Connect with your breath
    1. Begin class by observing your breath and energy level. You may notice that your breath is shallow.  Begin deepening the breath.  This action will help bring your awareness to the present moment.
  2. Warm the body
    1. The teacher cues gentle movements that help to awaken the hips, spine, and core. Allow these movements to be juicy, working into all the nooks and crannies of a body that has been sitting, driving, or texting all day.
  3. Heat the body
    1. The poses being cued may quicken in pace or become more challenging, resulting in the heating of the body. This heating allows tight muscles to open more, increasing flexibility.  If at any time you need a rest, find the child’s pose; this signifies a mature yoga student who prioritizes self care.
  4. Cool down
    1. The energy of the class becomes more grounded; poses are held for longer and may require deeper stretches. The poses cued likely require a warmed body to do safely, such as backbends or deep hip openers.
  5. Stretch
    1. Find yourself back on your mat in a seated position or perhaps laying on your back or tummy. You may find that those tight hamstrings are ready to let go a bit more.  Use your breath to guide your stretches, surrendering into the pose with each exhale.
  6. Twisting
    1. Nothing feels better at the end of a yoga class than wringing out the body. Classes usually incorporate a deep spinal twist prior to final savasana.  Notice the benefits in your digestive processes.
  7. Meditation
    1. Ah, finally! The best part of every yoga class is final savasana (shuh-VAH-sah-nuh), or corpse pose.  Lie on your back, allowing your toes to fall away from one another, and your palms open to the sky.  Rest here for 5-10 minutes, finding a still mind.  You will likely notice that meditation is easier after working the body through the various asanas.  It’s easier to sink into the ground and slow the mind.

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