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What to Do Before Your First Yoga Class: Pilates and Yoga 101

By Elizabeth Jarrard on May 22, 2014

What to Do Before Your First Yoga Class: Pilates and Yoga 101

Whether you’re looking for a way to increase your flexibility and range of motion as an endurance athlete, or you’re just starting to move more and are looking for a low impact way to get fit, yoga or pilates has probably crossed your mind as an option. Before you get your “om” on, here’s a snapshot of everything you need to get started:

What to do Before Your First Yoga Class

1. Get to Know the Lingo

Not sure the difference between Hatha and Bikram yoga? Or what-the-heck a bolster is? Brush up your lingo before you say Namaste with this yoga terms glossary for beginners.

2. Wear Comfortable Clothes

Wear loose-fitting or stretchy athletic gear that will allow you to twist into different positions (without mooning anyone). Ladies, yoga typically only requires a light to medium support bra. Leave the socks at home!

3. Do Your Research

After seeing too many fellow athletes get injured, Vega Ambassador Jana Webb decided to create a yoga program created specifically for athletes: yoga for runners. Her yoga philosophy is created and taught by fitness professionals who understand the unique needs of the athlete’s body. As Jana says, “not all yoga programs are safe for athletes. Athletes by nature are tighter in their body and need to have a tight body for their muscle twitch patterns and explosive movements. It’s important that athletes find a yoga program that adheres to their needs.”

4. Eat Something Before Class

Even though it’s not HIIT, you can definitely work up a sweat in yoga. For an extra push before you start your sun salutations (unless it’s an evening class) grab Vega Sport® Sugar-Free Energizer for caffeine from green tea and yerba maté without functional sugar or calories.  Replenish the electrolytes you lose in sweat with Vega Sport® Hydrator.

5. Find a Studio Close to You (or Online)

If you’re in a town where yoga isn’t a typical workout, consider looking at classes online. Vega Ambassador Kreg Weiss created Gaia.com to share his passion for yoga with the world. With a monthly subscription you can view as many classes as you like—all from the comfort of your own home.

6. Be Patient

You may find that you don’t love yoga after your first class. That’s totally fine—it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Focus on active recovery techniques or try these 3 yoga poses to start your day to get some of the benefits of yoga, even without a class.

 

What to do Before Your First Pilates Class

Don’t think it’s going to be easy. Even if you’re used to training for marathons or triathletes, Pilates is not as simple as it may look. Expect to feel sore in your core after class, and find the breathing techniques not as easy as they look.

1. Be Prepared to Focus on Form

Although not always mentioned during endurance training, form is important for all sports. Pilates exercises are hyper-focused on alignment and proper muscle stabilization—which will help to reduce the risk of overtraining in your primary sport.

2. Lifting Weights Can Help with Pilates Strength

To naysayers, Vega Ambassador Heather Dorak and founder of Pilates Platinum, says “Pilates is extremely important to those that want to lift heavy or do more power movements.  There are many benefits Pilates provides but the most important is learning the mind-body connection. If your mind can tap into your muscles with the intention of firing and engaging properly and effectively, the results are tenfold compared to someone who is just lifting heavy weight in hopes the right muscles will engage to support the weight. Pilates has a great way of working smaller muscles in a different angle that many typical weight lifting or sports don’t target.”

3. Fuel before you pump it out

Yes you will break a sweat in Pilates. If you need an extra dose of motivation before you head into the studio, grab Vega Sport® Sugar-Free Energizer for caffeine from green tea and yerba maté without functional sugar or calories.  Replenish the electrolytes you lose in sweat with Vega Sport® Hydrator. If you find that you’re feeling especially sore the next day, use Vega Sport® Recovery immediately afterward.

4. Wear Comfortable Clothes

Stretchy, comfortable clothes that allow your instructor to see your form are key. For women, light to moderate support bra is all that is needed. Bring a pair of socks in case your studio requires them.

What has helped you prepare for your first yoga or Pilates class?

Elizabeth Jarrard

Elizabeth Jarrard is a registered dietitian in Denver, CO who specializes in medical nutrition therapy and plant-based nutrition. She educates clients and consumers on how to optimize their health through nutrition.
Elizabeth Jarrard

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