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By Clara Kurnik

Eight simple ways to get ready for first yoga class

Attending your first yoga class can be intimidating, whether you are newly exercising or just trying a new workout routine. Yoga has myriad health benefits, and can be a fantastic workout for beginners. If you are wary of trying a yoga class, here are a few tips to help ease your mind and prepare you:

1. Bring a friend. Whether your workout partner is a seasoned yogi, or a beginner, having someone there to support you will help you feel more comfortable. Partnering with a friend also encourages you to hold each other accountable as you move forward in your practice. Once you commit to attending a class with a friend, you are more likely to attend than if you plan to go on your own.

2. Arrive early. Many yoga classes have limited space, so arriving at least 15 minutes before class starts allows you to choose a spot where you'll be comfortable. Many first-timers choose a spot at the back of the room, but keep in mind that it may be difficult to see the instructor from that position.

3. Dress comfortably. Wear clothing that is comfortable and helps you feel confident. Avoid excessively baggy clothing, which could gap during a pose and expose more skin than you intended. Look for clothing that wicks moisture away from the skin, which will help you stay comfortable throughout the class. Yoga is typically practiced barefoot, but if you need to keep your feet covered, you will want to bring a pair of socks. There are several options of yoga socks designed to avoid restricting your toes' movements.

4. Come prepared. Many yoga studios provide basic supplies for classes, including mats, blocks, straps and towels. Call ahead to ensure that these items are supplied by the studio, so that you can plan ahead for what you may need to bring.

5. Get to know the instructor. Take a few moments before class to introduce yourself to the instructor and let them know that you are there for your first class. They may offer tips for you, and they will also know to offer options during class for different experience levels. Speaking with the instructor helps you feel comfortable with them, but if you don't get this opportunity, remember that the goal of any instructor is to help you.

6. Be mindful of your breath. Yoga offers an opportunity to quiet the noise of everyday life and tune into your body. Being aware of your breath is the foundation for building a greater awareness. This takes practice, but many yoga instructors will help you learn the rhythms of breathing throughout a yoga practice.

7. Be mindful of others. Yoga is a quiet and mindful practice, so a ringing cell phone would be quite an unwelcome distraction. Silence your phone, or better yet, leave it in your car or locker and take a brief break to disconnect.

8. Enjoy yourself. Spend your first few classes getting comfortable with the poses – there will be plenty of opportunity to challenge yourself later!

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