How to Prepare for Your First Yoga, Barre or Pilates Class!

9.27.2018

Stepping into a new class can intimidating, wait scratch that...EXTREMELY intimidating! Anything new is getting out of your comfort zone, which we all know is what we are supposed to do but the actual act can be rather daunting. So if a yoga or barre class or maybe mat Pilates class is on your list, these basic poses can help you feel a little more at ease and help you find your flow. I've included some simple to follow pics as well as helpful tips as to what to wear and bring to class...

 

Warrior II: The big focus here is on the feet and front knee position. Front foot should be straight forward, and back foot creates a wedge (pointing side). Your front knee is bent and in line with your your pinkie toe. Arms reach with strength forward and one to the back. Draw your navel in to connect your core.

Down Dog: This common pose can be done easily when you know the proper positioning of the entire body. You want to make sure all your weight is OUT of your neck and shoulders. You may not be able to get your heels to touch the ground, but that's what you are working towards. The feet are hip distance apart. Depending on your flexibility, you may be able to create a slight arch in your back, trying to get your navel to move towards the top of your thighs. You want to make an upside down "V" with your body. 

Preparing for Chaturanga: Come to your plank first. Before you lower down, shift your weight even more forward to the tips of your toes (see in picture how my shoulders are no longer over my wrists). Connection with your core is extremely important here as you lower down keeping your entire body in line. 

Chaturanga or Chaturanga Dandasana: meaning low plank, is exactly what you are trying to achieve. Keep your elbows tight against the body and lower down to make a 90 degrees angle with your arms. You can lift one leg if you like but that is just optional. 

Upward Facing Dog: One of the main focuses for this shape is that your quadriceps don't touch the floor. So coming from your Chaturanga, lower down until the very last moment where your legs want to touch, THEN scoop your body up and lift your heart to find Upward Facing Dog. When coming out, lift your hips and come back to your down dog. 

 

For Barre...

 

Quad Dips: Depending on where you are taking your barre class and if they have barres attached to the wall or portable ones will make a difference in the alignment of this movement. For this shown above, you want to line up your heels under your hips, under your shoulders. Creating a long line with your back and lightly touching the barre. Your heels stay lifted and don't move even as you bend your knees. Imagine setting them on a shelf, or putting on your cutest pair of heels is what I always tell my classes. Tuck your tailbone ONLY enough to engage your core. Too much "tucking" can take out the natural curvature of the spine and that can lead to injury...ummn no thanks! Your instructor will usually make a cue like "down and inch, up and inch" and while this doesn't look like much, you will definitely feel the work in your legs--trust me!! 

Sky Pokes: Stand at the barre with parallel feet, and bend your knees. Gently lift one heel and point your toe to the sky. Hinge forward at the waist slightly (as shown) and pull your heel in to your booty. Draw your navel in and relax your shoulders. Start to make tiny movements (the tinier the better) and pulse your toe up an inch and down an inch. Engage your glutes by squeezing/engaging your working side leg. 

 

What to bring to class...

 

-WATER! So important to stay hydrated in class (especially if pregnant too) Save the earth and put it in a cute water bottle like this one

-Depending on where you go you may also need a mat and or towel

-These types of classes are done barefoot, so slip on sandals are handy here. I love these

-Form fitting clothes--less baggy is best as it will allow your body to move all that much better

-Positive mindset- everyone is focused on themselves in class so this truly is a time to just be about you, be patient with your body and don't whatever you do, start the comparison game. Be consistent in your routine and tell yourself "you've got this"

 

 

Let me know what you think or need to add to this list by commenting on my latest Instagram Post by clicking on my name below! 

Thanks for stopping by...

 

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