Yoga is brilliant for relaxing both the mind and body, but you won't feel the benefits of it if you aren't properly prepared.

However, following this simple check list prior to each session could help to make sure you are making the most of your yoga class.

Wear the right clothes

Although yoga is a gentle exercise, it will work all of your muscles and require you to be able to move freely. Therefore, it is important that you come to class wearing the appropriate clothing.

Starting with the basics, women should ensure they are wearing a sports bra, as this will help keep breasts supported while exercising. Yoga isn't a high impact sport but there is a lot of bending required and you could be in a lot of discomfort doing this in a standard wired or low cut bra.

According to Mary Comber, editor of Health and Fitness magazine, sport bras are also important to prevent breasts sagging.

Another important element when dressing for your yoga class is to ensure clothes move well with the body, aren't restrictive and let the skin breathe. You should also remember that you could be bending forward and back, so a t-shirt that falls forward isn't a good idea, as you could find yourself a bit exposed.

If you're heading to your first yoga class, you should also bear in mind that you don't wear trainers and socks as in many other exercise sessions.

Bring the correct equipment

While some classes will provide equipment for you, it's always best to have your own. Yoga mats, blocks and straps are the main things you'll need for your class.

Mats are considered by many as the most essential thing, as they give a cushioned, non-slip surface on which to do exercises.

Yoga straps will help to support the hands, feet and buttocks when placed underneath, and will allow you to maintain the correct form.

Straps are also useful if you aren't particularly flexible and can aid in teaching more challenging balancing postures.

Prepare the body

To ensure your body is in the right condition to do yoga it is important not to have a big meal right before a class. Eating lightly a few hours beforehand will ensure food is properly digested and you have enough energy to complete the session.

However, make sure you drink water prior to the class, as you're often not allowed to consume liquids during exercises.

Posted by Freya Harper