7 Top Tips for a Happy First Yoga Class

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7 Top Tips for a Happy First Yoga Class

Joining a yoga class as a new student can be a daunting experience but with a little advance preparation it can be the start of a life changing journey

I love yoga and would recommend anyone to give it a try but I also understand that, for some, the first visit to a class can be intimidating.

I’ve attended many classes, both as a student and as an instructor, where I’ve observed new students’ first class nerves.  Initially, attending a class can be daunting but as the unfamiliar becomes familiar and the student becomes more comfortable in the studio surroundings then yoga begins to work its magic.

Here are 7 top tips to ease you into a class and ensure a happy first yoga class experience!

  1. word of mouth  If you can get a recommendation of a teacher/studio from a like minded friend this is an excellent place to start.  You have a ready made connection to the instructor and studio.
  2. arrive early  There will be a little bit of paperwork to complete and a few extra minutes will give you the chance to familiarize yourself – well, find the restroom and water fountain location, at least!
  3. choose beginner  Not because I’m saying you’re no good at yoga before you’ve even started!  A beginners class is always a good place to start (or level 1/intro class/new to yoga or however else a studio describes it).   No matter how athletic, fit or flexible you may be,  a beginners class will give you a better understanding of the poses and important alignment points at an easier to follow pace.
  4. chat to the instructor  If at all possible, grab a moment to introduce yourself and chat about any concerns.  Most instructors will approach you if but sometimes, with instructors arriving close to class start and large student numbers in popular classes, there is not always an opportunity.
  5. keep an open mind  Different instructors teach yoga in different styles.  One instructor might teach a slower class with lots of quiet, meditative time.  Another teacher’s class might be faster paced with lots of repetition of poses and background music.  Try to be open minded and if your first class isn’t the one for you give someone else a go.
  6. dress comfortably  Wear the clothes that feel comfortable for you.   Remember that some of the poses involve bending forward and twisting.  If those low rise pants ride down when you fold forward don’t wear them.  Or that top is sooo low neck that you’re constantly adjusting it just don’t go there.  Think ease of movement and personal comfort.  A t-shirt and stretchy leggings work just as well as the latest body forming fashion outfit
  7. sense of humor & a smile  Arm yourself with a sense of humor and anything is possible 🙂



Popularity of Yoga

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The Ever Rising Popularity of Yoga

I Googled ‘benefits of yoga’ the other day and it came up with over 41 million results.  Yikes! But just for the sake of balance, I also googled ‘negatives of yoga’.  Up popped a few hundred thousand results.  Hardly scientific, I know, but it did strike me that there are a lot of people interested in the benefits and practice of yoga.

A recent research report called ‘2016 Yoga in America’ conducted by Yoga Journal (a popular yoga magazine) and the Yoga Alliance (a kind of umbrella administrative organisation for yoga) found that approximately 37million Americans are practicing yoga today in 2016.  37 million!

This is a phenomenal number and, get this, even more amazing – apparently this is an increase from 20 million in 2012.  An additional 17 million yogis in the space of only four years.

yoga truly is a practice for everyone and is not just the domain of the young, fit and strong

Clearly, yoga is becoming more and more popular year on year and we, as a nation, are more informed about the benefits of the practice.  According to findings in the same report almost a third of those practicing yoga are over 55 proving that yoga truly is a practice for everyone and is not just the domain of the young, fit and strong – the common misconception and stereotypical image we are fed through the media.

Yoga attracts a very broad demographic.  All ages from kids through to seniors with more and more guys picking up the mat too.

As yoga’s popularity grows, so do the opportunities for us to study yoga whether it is through a class, online video, phone app, DVD, book or magazine.  Never has there been this much choice to study yoga and long may it continue.

If you want to learn more about the report’s findings go take a peak at the Yoga Alliance website on yogaalliance.org.  It makes for interesting reading.


ask an instructor – Nicole Quibodeaux

Nicole Quibodeaux - yoga, yoga tune up & pilates instructor
Nicole Quibodeaux – yoga, yoga tune up & pilates instructor

Nicole Quibodeaux

Nicole is a yoga tune up (yoga with therapy balls) teacher and teacher trainer and a pilates instructor

ask an instructor – 10 questions answered in just 8 words. 

the very first yoga class you attended? Prenatal Yoga at Mindful Body, San Francisco

what is it about yoga that inspires you? finding deeper relationship with self through the body

what yoga item(s) could you not be without? Yoga Tune Up® therapy balls, blocks, blanket, strap

your favorite post yoga class snack?  Green smoothie or cold brew coffee!

which book would you recommend to a brand new student of yoga? Yoga: Fascia, Anatomy & Movement by Joanne Sarah Avison

if you could teach a class anywhere in the world, where would it be? Big Sur

type of class you like to attend when you are not the instructor? everything from strength classes to aerial yoga

favorite thing to do if not doing yoga? spending quality time with family & friends

if you weren’t a yoga instructor? a somatic therapist (holistic therapy integrating mental, emotional, spiritual and physical)

and finally……

as a yoga instructor, what do you hope a new student takes away from your class?  better connection to themselves and sense of wholeness

learn more about Nicole and her teaching schedule at  www.movementreform.com

you can contact Nicole direct on  quibodeaux@gmail.com.

Mindfulness – The New Science of Health & Happiness. Time Special Edition

Mindfulness published by Time Magazine
Mindfulness – The New Science of Health and Happiness published by Time Magazine
Mindfulness is a bit of a buzz word at the moment. This Time special edition magazine is a collection of articles on the subject

Mindfulness, defined as ‘focusing one’s full attention only on the present’ has become a much talked about topic of late.  I’ve heard it mentioned in classes and noticed a growing number of books, magazines and web articles discussing the topic.

Of course, having a bunch of information is useful but when there are so many sources it can also be overwhelming.

The nice thing about this magazine format is that it skims off the cream of the crop in terms of content pulling a great range of articles together into one place.

If you are interested in learning more about mindfulness without committing to in depth research it’s well worth a look.

The magazine is broken up into three topic sections.

  • Part One: Outsmart Stress.  Including stress management, sleep habits and digital stresses
  • Part Two: Find your Center.  Meditation, gratitude and finding purpose.
  • Part Three: Eat, Play, Thrive.  Yoga, diet and doing things you enjoy.

A little on the expensive side as, at $13.99, it is the price of a book but, nevertheless, packed full of easy to read content.  If you are interested in learning more about mindfulness without committing to in depth research it’s well worth a look.

Mindfulness – The New Science of Health and Happiness.  Time Special Edition can be found at some supermarkets (I found my copy in Sprouts) as well as bookstores and online.

Better Living Yoga

Better Living Yoga, Aliso Viejo

Better Living Yoga fills a particularly unique niche in the yoga world as it is a studio that specializes in classes for the over 40 age group (although all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend too, of course).  The studio has a great community atmosphere and, I have to say, is probably the sweetest smelling yoga studio I’ve ever visited 😉

location  on a small mall off of Aliso Creek Rd in Alison Viejo  

parking  very easy.  shared with other businesses on the mall

welcome  excellent.  the welcome started when one of the studio’s regular students chatted to me outside the studio and kindly introduced me to one of the instructors.  I met two of the instructors and the owner who were all very friendly and welcoming.    The owner was particularly helpful and took the time to show me around the studio pointing out studios, restrooms and treatment room.  A few days after my first class I received a friendly, follow up call to check on my experience.

facility  2 yoga studios, 1 treatment room, restrooms.  water freely available in reception

studio environment  Light, bright and fresh, beautifully maintained and well organized.

props  Lots available.  blocks, blankets, straps & bolsters aplenty

schedule   morning classes 7 days a week.  late afternoon and evening classes every weekday.  class lengths range from  60 -75 minutes.

yoga styles and instructors  A mixture of gentle flow, restorative, yin yoga.  The studio also teach their own BLY signature yoga series, which is a set sequence of poses devised by instructors at the studio.  The foundations class offers Iyengar inspired hatha yoga instruction.

capacity  Two large studio spaces.  The classes I attended were not overcrowded and mat spacing was comfortable for the students.

other services offered   Mat pilates classes, and body treatments

workshops & trainings   A variety of great workshops across a range of topics including yoga, reiki healing, aromatherapy (at the time of my visit).  some workshops include a glass of wine – what’s not to like?

website    Very easy to use and understand.  lists links to some interesting yoga themed articles

retail  Retail area in reception

value  Single class $22 /  ten class package $180 / monthly auto renewal $148 autopay – $225 non autopay (Oct 2016)

deals   New student deal $49 unlimited month pass (Oct 2016) & $90 for a 10 class pass.  regular deals on groupon & similar deal websites.  you can also sign up online for a free class