After selecting a clay, you must wedge (knead) it to remove air bubbles and insure uniform consistency. A clay body that has been mixed properly and extruded from a de-airing pug mill is homogeneous, and because a vacuum removes most of the air, it does not usually need as much wedging for its first use. There are two common kinds of wedging, the cut wedging method associated with potters in the Western world and the spiral wedging method associated with potters in the Eastern world. The spiral method is more efficient, particularly when wedging a large chunk of clay, but the spiral method does take longer to learn. Cut wedging is only successful when the clay is very soft, so it is only recommended if you are mixing a very wet and a very dry chunk of clay for later use.
Don't stiffen up or quit breathing while you are
Relax and enjoy the experience at the wheel - even if it is frustrating at times. As a beginner many people develop a rigid posture at the wheel and worse yet they all but stop breathing as they are in the throes of throwing a pot or taking it off the wheel. Over time you'll develop a comfortable position for throwing. You should keep your arms stiff from the elbow to the point at which your hands contact the clay while you are trying to center it or compress it and when you make any major changes to the form. Otherwise you need to relax and breath and move
around while you are throwing.