If you are new to the practice of yoga, maybe you’ve become curious about what it’s like to attend a real live yoga class. And maybe you’re hesitant because you don’t know what to expect?

Sometimes the fear of the unknown can hold us back from the things that would ultimately benefit us the most.

But I get it, new stuff is scary sometimes.

Every yoga teacher, every yoga class, every yoga student is unique. Therefore, it’s impossible to tell you exactly how a yoga class will be. What I can tell you is how my yoga classes are structured, and that most yoga classes are formatted in a similar fashion. Here’s what you might expect if you attend a class under my leadership.

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Arrival – Students arrive and roll out their mats. Not every facility has yoga props, but if they do, students gather their props – usually a yoga blanket, blocks and a strap. I love when my students are punctual to class. Late arrivals can be disruptive to the flow of the practice.

Centering/Grounding – Class begins with a few minutes of breathing practice that varies from week to week. I typically introduce the class theme or share a quote during this time as well. This centering piece is important to help shift the mindset from the busy outside world to the space on our mats. It’s a way to honor the practice and choose intentions for our time on the mat. Sometimes I invite my students to sit in easy pose, sometimes they rest on their backs in constructive rest pose.

  

Stretching – Some slow and gentle movements begin after the class is “centered and grounded,” allowing the body to warm up and ease into the practice. I typically lead seated forward folds, gentle side bends and twists, and almost always cat/cow stretches and child’s pose. The focus always returns to the breath – keeping it deep and steady.

   

Working – After our warm up, we stand. I always lead forward folds with lunges to open the hips, a downward dog here and there, plank pose, deeper side bends and sometimes a balancing practice like tree pose. Standing poses include tadasana, warrior poses, and goddess pose. Focus returns to the breath, over and over again.

   

Cooling down – After we work, we cool down. We come down to the floor – sometimes seated and other times resting on backs. The stretches are a little deeper than the ones we began class with. I always incorporate some stretches for the hamstrings and then some deeper twisting poses. And we breathe…

   

Surrender – Class ends with savasana – a resting pose that invites us to be still and surrender to the practice. After an hour of stretching, moving and breathing, it’s so easy to relax in this simple pose. We joke that some students actually come to yoga for savasana. {Eh-hm. You know who you are!}

   

I’ve been leading yoga classes in this space at Snedigar Recreation Center for a couple of years now, and I’m so grateful for this amazing group of kind people. Many thanks to my yoga students who attended my class and allowed us to photograph their practice. And many thanks to my daughter, Carrie, for the photos.

And that’s {kind of} what happens in a yoga class.

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