1. Flexibility takes time.
Don’t freak out if you can’t fully do a pose on your first try. If your class has a good instructor, he or she will offer modifications for beginners. It might take you a few weeks before your flexibility increases and you can master some of the more complicated poses.
2. Ignore everyone else.
Your instructor may even mention this sentiment, but if they don’t, just keep in mind that you are there for you and everyone else is there for their own sake. No one else cares what your downward facing dog looks like or whether or not you can balance perfectly in half moon pose. Turn your focus inward and try not to be self-conscious; it’s just you and your mat.
3. Every instructor is different.
Your experience will totally depend on your instructor; each has a very unique teaching personality. Some will be more laid back, others will really focus on perfecting form and some will take a very traditional approach incorporating more meditation and maybe even some chants. You might have to try a few different classes before you find an instructor with a teaching style that you like.
4. Invest in some spandex.
Loose clothing will only get in your way. Form-fitting athletic apparel will be your best bet.
5. “Calming your mind” is easier said than done.
At the end of most yoga classes the instructor will initiate Shavasana or “corpse pose,” a three to ten minute meditation where you’ll be instructed to relax and clear your mind. Don’t worry if at this point your mind starts to race. Many yogis can attest to the fact that it’s at this time that every thought imaginable will begin popping into your brain. This is totally normal. With time and practice you’ll become much better at clearing your mind and finding total relaxation.