Nowadays, social anxiety has become very prevalent.
In fact, some statistics show that at least 12 percent of American adults has experienced it at one point in their lives or another.
Fortunately, yoga has been documented to help with social anxiety (and general anxiety disorders) issues because of its calming benefits.
But what if going to a yoga studio makes you feel socially anxious too?
Understandably, if you’re new to yoga, those feelings are quite normal.
If it’s your first time to visit a yoga studio, it is understandable to feel intimidated.
After all, you’ll be dealing with a new environment, meeting new people, and introducing your body to something new.
Fortunately, knowing what are socially acceptable and not can dramatically minimize your social anxiety.
To combat first-time jitters, below are the dos and don’ts when going to your first yoga class:
Taking breaks, relaxing, or sitting still
If you feel like you can’t keep up with the yoga poses and need a break, it’s reassuring to know you can always rest.
What’s even better is you can rest as long as you need.
Nobody will judge you for resting or not keeping up with everyone else.
Keep in mind that when it comes to yoga, you should listen to your body, set your own pace, and do what you think is best for you.
Some beginners go to a yoga class and spend most of their time in the child’s pose.
Keep in mind that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!
Loud gasping, sighing, or breathing
Yoga puts huge emphasis on uniting breathing with movement.
If guided breathing makes you make louder noises compared to everyone else, don’t sweat it!
It is perfectly fine.
Closing your eyes
If you want to close your eyes to fully focus on the poses, by all means, do so!
Closing the eyes can be helpful for many as it can make them more in tune with how their body is feeling at the moment.
Be careful however as closing your eyes may compromise your balance.
If you are more comfortable doing yoga using your ears, then do whatever it is that you are more comfortable with.
Don’t be embarrassed if you do not succeed executing a challenging new move.
Keep in mind that while not everyone in your class is a beginner, it’s safe to assume they’ve had their fair share of falls and failures when it comes to trying new poses.
Just get up and try again until you are able to execute the moves masterfully and safely.
Oftentimes, we take our emotional baggage to our yoga class.
And that’s highly understandable especially for beginners.
Yoga as it is, is already a deeply emotional experience so if you’ll factor in your emotional baggage, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
If at some point, you can’t stop the waterworks, just go with it.
There is no need for you to feel embarrassed.
A whopping 73 percent of men and a staggering 85 percent of women report feeling less angry and sad after crying—it is good for you!
Wear as little (or as much) as you are comfortable with
Your yoga class is a judgment-free zone.
That being said, nobody is going to give you the side-eye for your choices in fashion.
In addition, nobody will pay any attention to your body type.
Whether you would like to wear baggy sweatpants or booty shorts should be nobody’s decision but yours.
Wear whatever it is that you are comfortable with, as long as you still observe the proper rules of decency.
Taking videos or photos
It’s normal to feel proud of the new poses you are able to execute in yoga class and as a new practitioner, it’s normal to want to share your experience.
However, you need to keep in mind that some of your fellow students might not be comfortable being recorded or photographed.
In addition, bringing your cellphone with you to yoga class is not advisable to begin with.
Bringing your mobile phone
If you want to reap the full benefits of the practice, it is recommended that you leave your mobile phone in the studio’s locker room.
Your yoga class should be a time where you can completely clear your mind, unplug, and focus on your session.
Taking calls, texting, or taking pictures or videos is not only disruptive to your session but to your fellow practitioners and instructor too.
Chatting with others
Making friends with your fellow yoga students is well and good.
However, keep in mind that chatting while your yoga session is ongoing is prohibited.
Rest assured, your neighbor did not come to yoga class to chat.
So should you!
Perhaps a coffee shop would be more apt.
Leaving early or arriving to class late
There will be times when your schedule gets totally erratic and getting to class on time or leaving ahead might be inevitable.
However, joining the class really late or leaving ahead of everyone else is not only disruptive, it is also considered bad yoga practice.
Arriving late and performing the poses haphazardly is not good for the body.
As a general rule of thumb, if your schedule will not allow you to join the yoga class on time or uninterrupted, it would be best to just practice on your own for the day.