For those who are brand new to yoga, you may be wondering what exactly happens in a yoga class? Perhaps you've seen some Instagram photos that have you picturing lots of thin women with their legs behind their heads. Let me assure you that, while every yoga class is different and you may see some advanced poses in a power class, what generally happens is much less intimidating.
At Point Bliss Yoga, we have mats and all the yoga props you will need. When you first walk in the studio, the instructor will greet you and let you know which props you need and where you can find them. If you have any physical concerns, now is the time to tell your teacher. Keep in mind, the instructors are not doctors, but they may be able to offer you modifications that will be better for your body. No matter what they say, make sure you are always listening to what your body tells you and never push yourself past the point of discomfort. You should never feel pain in a yoga class.
Generally, class starts with everyone in a comfortable seat, and the instructor will tell you what to expect in class and may even offer a theme. Think of this as a nugget of wisdom to ponder during your practice. Before movement begins, you'll be invited to center in the room and may be given a pranayama exercise (or breath work) to reach some specific goal (for more on pranayama, you can read this blog post about alternate nostril breathing).
After the breathing exercise, the asana, or physical practice, begins. The postures will start with a warm-up, move to more strenuous poses (the variety and speed depends on the class), then end with low-to-the-ground, cooling poses. At the very end of the physical practice, you will rest in savasana, which is a posture you take lying on your back or side where you will be able to relax completely.
The instructor will then slowly bring you out of this deeply relaxing close, you'll return to a seat, the teacher will close class, and you're free to go.
Class structures vary slightly, depending on the style, but this should give you a good idea of what to expect.