How to Physically Prepare for Yoga

Yoga is a great activity that offers benefits for your mind and body. For best results, it helps to clear your mind before you practice. Beginners will be more confident if they also learn how to physically prepare for yoga class.

Check with your doctor

Yoga has several forms that can benefit just about anyone. As with any exercise, though, it's always good to check with your doctor before starting a yoga program. This is particularly important if you have any health issues or concerns. Your doctor can also advise you on which positions, if any, you should avoid.

Drink plenty of water

Staying hydrated before, during and after class makes yoga much easier on your body. If you are taking a Bikram or hot yoga class (where the room temperature is very warm), you should drink even more water as you practice. Bring a water bottle to keep beside your mat, and take drinks as needed.

Watch what you eat

Strenuous yoga on a completely empty stomach can be a bad idea, but so is eating a large meal right before practice. It's best to eat a small meal or snack an hour or so before yoga class. Avoid acidic foods, such as orange juice, because they can aggravate acid reflux or heartburn. Try a salad, fruit or a protein shake instead.

Dress appropriately

Yoga is a very physical activity and you will want to move comfortably while doing it. Wear fitted exercise clothes that move with you for best results. Keep in mind that you will do a lot of bending, so short shorts or tops that flip up easily may leave you more exposed than you realize. Look for pants that are knee-length or longer and tops that stay put when you bend over.

Warm up

Most yoga practices begin with special movements, such as sun salutations, that help warm up your muscles. You may feel flexible more quickly if you take a few minutes to warm up before class. Perhaps take a five-minute walk before class or take the stairs up to the studio.

Plan to arrive early

If you are taking your first yoga class or your first class with a new teacher, it's always a good idea to arrive early. That way you will have plenty of time to set up your mat and settle in. You can also take a few minutes to talk to the teacher about your health concerns or any questions you might have about the class.

Feeling more confident about how to physically prepare for yoga class will help you relax and focus on the practice itself. Namaste.

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