The Beginner’s Guide to Choosing Your First Yoga Class at The Yoga Lighthouse
If you’re thinking about trying your first Yoga class but have no idea what to go for, we’re here to help you make the best decision. With many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming, but having a diverse timetable means that most likely, there’s a perfect option for YOU. We’ve created this guide to help you find the perfect Yoga class for your unique body (and mind) requirements.
First of all, Warm, Hot or Regular?
No, I’m not asking how you like your coffee, but how you might like your Yoga 😊. Though our customers do love the heated room, that doesn’t have to be the case for you.
If this is not your first encounter with Hot Yoga, I have to tell you that each studio has their own settings. I vividly remember the shock of trying a class in a space heated to 45 degrees, where most people were wearing underwear only. I was definitely overdressed and not in the right place. This is not the case here, and we strongly advise to keep the shorts and leggings on! Jokes aside, here’s what to expect from our Warm and Hot classes.
Warm and Toasty – the room is heated to 26 to 30 degrees
Warm classes feel like a hot British summer day – it’s warm, but you might not break a sweat. How you feel the heat depends on many aspects, like the type of the class (a Dynamic flow will feel much hotter than a static Yin because you move more), the number of people in the room and your own body threshold.
Hot and Roasty – the room is heated to 37 degrees
Those 7 degrees extra will make a big difference. Even though you won’t necessarily notice it when you go in, as you leave the room it will feel like you’re stepping out of a sauna. The recommendation is to rehydrate every 15 minutes, and of course, take a break if you need to.
The heated classes are a treat on cold, rainy days, so… most of the year. Do check with your doctor if you have any doubts, if you have any heart issues, and avoid the hot classes if you’re pregnant or going through menopause. We do have room temperature classes as an option (the Not Hot classes don’t have “Warm and Toasty” or “Hot and Roasty” as part of the name).
What are the benefits of Yoga and Yoga in a heated room?
Yoga in a heated environment can have additional benefits such as warming muscles, reducing risk of injury, increasing blood supply, lubrication of joints and increasing heart rate.
Because you sweat more, it is great for detoxing and cleansing the body.
For important information about Hot Yoga and Warm Yoga please see the Hot/ Warm Yoga page.
Decided to go for a hot or warm class? Here’s your pre-class checklist:
- Wear light, dry-fit clothing, that you can easily move and breathe in
- Hydrate before the class and bring a water bottle; you can refill from our tap as needed
- A non-slip towel is recommended for both safety and hygiene; you can hire from us or buy if you become a regular
- A small face towel might be useful
- Let the teacher know if you have any issues with heat; if during the class you need to take a break or go get some air, that’s absolutely fine, just let us know.
What style of class fits your needs?
It’s time to decide the style of Yoga you’ll try first. Check out the infographic above or identify which of the styles describes your needs best, by reading the statements under the infographic. 1 being easier 5 being more challenging.
“All I want to do at the end of the day is relax and I heard Yoga would be good for that” or
“My mind is constantly racing, but I don’t know how to meditate and I have a hard time relaxing”
Have you heard of Yin Yoga before? All the poses are held for 3 to 5 minutes and you’re encouraged to focus on your breath, so it’s a great mindfulness practice, especially if you’re a beginner. Even those who normally practice more dynamic types of Yoga or other sports (like running) come to Yin, to give their muscles and minds a good break.
Because the poses are held for longer, Yin also works on the connective tissues and joints, so it’s a recommended practice as you age. Plus, you’ll sleep like a baby.
If you think Yin might be too slow, Hatha is the next level – the perfect combination of mindfulness, flexibility and strength work. There are more poses than in a Yin class, but you might still hold each one for 5 to 10 breaths. And speaking of breath, this is the most likely class to include different breathing exercises.
“I want something that will make me feel better overall. I feel stiff and my back aches sometimes, I know I should move more, though I don’t do much at the moment”
The type of Yoga that has it all – flexibility, mobility, mindfulness, relaxation, and breath work – is Hatha. It’s also great for beginners and the one to try if you’re unsure about your energy levels, as it sits perfectly between Yin and Flow.
Hatha is a great complement to your sports or gym practice and it can keep you away from injuries so you can improve your performance, both physically and mentally.
Once you’ve practiced Hatha for a while, you can choose to advance to Flow.
“I have a lot of energy to burn” or
“I want something that can replace my gym workouts” or
“I want a full body workout and work on both flexibility and strength”
Then for you, my friend, Flow is the way to go. This style of Yoga is dynamic, and works everything from head to toe. If you’re a beginner, start with the Focus Flow, so you can get time to adjust to the poses and the transitions. Once you’re confident, you can go up to a Dynamic Flow.
“I’m so inflexible, should I even go to Yoga?”
That’s the biggest reason why you should. Start small, with Yin Yoga or Hatha Yoga, to gain confidence and improve as you go.
“I’ve never done Yoga before and I have no idea what it involves, but I heard great things about its benefits”
The best thing you can do is join one of our Beginner courses. You’ll start your Yoga journey with a group of people that feel exactly the same way you do. If you can’t find a course that will fit your schedule, start with Yin or Hatha.
“What do you recommend for men? Isn’t Yoga mostly for women?”
You know what’s funny? Some of our most committed customers are men. The hardest thing is to take the first step to walk into the studio, but once you start experiencing the benefits, you’ll be hooked (that’s a promise).
Statistically, men tend to go for the extremes – either Yin (where there’s not much movement at all) or Flow (our most dynamic class). So it all depends on your energy levels and your needs, check out some of the other descriptions.
“I have low back pain” or
“My doctor recommended Yoga for my condition” or
“I think I need to work on my core because my balance is not great and I’m getting older” or
“I want abs”
Our Core Belief might just be the perfect class for you. It helps to improve balance, mobility, reduces low back ache and it can be a great support to keep you moving even if you have some minor limitations. It’s less Yoga, more workout, and your abs will feel it for sure.
But remember, the 6 pack is made in the kitchen, no matter how many crunches you do.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that working with a medical condition will require you to modify some poses and exercises, so starting out with a Beginner Course might be better, since you get a few sessions in which you can learn how to adapt everything to your needs.
“I currently have an acute injury” or
“I have a few different conditions, but my doctor said exercising will help, especially Yoga or Pilates”
In this case, a class setting might not be the right choice for you. If you have a few different limitations, modifying all the time will feel frustrating for you and you might not get the best experience.
Some of our teachers do have experience working with medical conditions, so they can give you advice and even work with you one to one. If you have a number of limitations speak to us first so we can give you the best advice.
“I want to lose weight”
If this is your biggest goal, we have to set some realistic expectations. In terms of the physical practice, it’s not the most effective fat burning exercise, even if the room is heated. However, most of our classes have the effect of muscle toning, which will improve your metabolism and help you burn more calories. However, some of our customers have lost weight over the long-term with a consistent practice because it sets you up with the motivation to live a healthier life.
Yoga can positively impact your weight loss journey in a few different ways:
- you learn how to cope better with problems
- reducing stress will reduce your cortisol levels, which is one of the main hormones that stores fat in the body
- you start making better choices and take better care of yourself
- due to the toning benefits of the practice you will see some improvements in your core strength and appearance
- and it’s a great complement to any other tool you will choose to make this change in your life.
Just pick the right class for your level by checking out some of the descriptions above.
“I already have a gym membership and they offer Yoga classes, how is this different?”
Have you tried booking a class yet? Unfortunately, due to the huge variety of classes they have to offer, gyms only tend to have a few classes per week, and they’re fully booked by the same people every time. Very frustrating, especially if you have to get up at 6am in the morning the week before to try to get a spot. I’ve been there. It’s very hard to get a consistent practice when you struggle to get in. At our studio, you can pre-book your classes 2 months in advance, so you don’t have to set an alarm at some deathly hour just to be told that all the spaces have gone.
At the gym, the Yoga class tends to be just another workout, so there may be less focus on the relaxation and mindfulness part of the practice which is where a lot of us get the most benefit.
Also, as a beginner, the gym class is not the best place, because you won’t get the attention and advice you need and often the classes are over-crowed.
A dedicated Yoga studio offers more choice of styles, more classes on the timetable, different teachers, personal attention during the class (we only fit a max of 12 people at a time), all the props you need to modify the poses to suit you, and one aspect we take immense pride in – a community. We’ve seen friendships form at the studio, and we have couples or parents and older children sharing a Yoga class as something they do together. Plus, there’s always a friendly face greeting you at the reception desk, asking you how your week has been.
“Why should I come to a studio when I can watch free videos online?”
There’s nothing wrong with getting some practice at home, hitting pause to go at your own pace is useful sometimes. But… you’re still at home. Many of our customers come to the studio because they crave the personal time away from their environment, some dedicated ‘me time’ with no interruptions.
There’s magic happening when you step into the studio and decide that all your problems can wait for an hour. And even more magical is that once you step out, they seem smaller than before.
Still unsure? Contact us and we can help you make a decision.
If you’re all in, and ready to go, check out the Timetable, and book in your first class. Just remember to wear light clothing, bring a water bottle and a non-slip towel if you’re coming to a heated class. See you at the studio soon!