What Constitutes Good Yoga Etiquette?
Common sense and common courtesy are cornerstones of good etiquette in any situation. Add in a healthy dose of respect for the people and places around you and a smidge of kindness and that about covers it, right?
Right, but if you’re nervous about starting yoga, knowing a bit about yoga classes and studios can go a long way toward making you feel more comfortable. So read up and then you can head over to your local yoga studio with confidence.
- Remove Your Shoes
Most yoga studios have a place for your shoes. Since people will be walking around the studio barefoot, it is most hygienic if everyone takes off their outdoor shoes before stepping onto the yoga practice space.
- Silence Your Cell Phone
Make a habit of doing this as soon as you get to the yoga studio. Most studios have a place for you to leave your bag and personal possessions outside of the classroom. If you must bring your phone into a class, put it on airplane mode or silence and let the teacher know in advance why you need your phone. If you anticipate having to take a call or text it might be best to position yourself next to a door so that you can discreetly leave the room when the call/text comes.
It can be quite embarrassing if your phone rings during class. If this happens, I advocate owning up and going to turn the ringer off immediately. Wait to answer the phone or texts until you have left the classroom.
- Arrive On Time
Arrive at least 15 minutes before class is scheduled to start so you have time to check in, put down your mat, and go to the bathroom if necessary.
If you do arrive late, don’t enter a class more than 15 minutes late if it has already started as the warm up period has, in all likelihood ended, and it might be detrimental for you to try jump into the class “cold”. For the love of god…wait for the next class or another day.
- Respect Others’ Mat Spaces
When we asked yoga students what their biggest pet peeves were, “people stepping on my mat” was the top answer. Yes, it’s a pretty small thing and sometimes its difficult in a really crowded room, but do your best to avoid stepping on other students’ mats as you make your way through the room.
A lot of people see their mat as a special, almost sacred place. Plus, they want to keep it clean.
If you attend a class that is usually crowded, place your mat pretty close to the person next to you so that there will be enough space for everyone. And always be willing to move your mat to make room for another student.
- Respect the Teacher
When you enter a yoga class, you sign on to respect the teacher for the next hour and a half. You may discover halfway through the class that you don’t care for this teacher, playlist, or hour of the day. But you still should continue with the class, follow the teacher’s instructions, take your savasana, and chalk it up to experience. Walking out mid class is only ok in rare circumstances.
- Keep Variations Appropriate
Keep in mind the level of the class you are attending. If it is an advanced class and some of the poses are too hard, it is fine to take a more basic variation of the poses being taught. Usually the teacher will offer this option. If you are attending a basic class, stick to the basic versions of the poses so you don’t confuse new students.
The teacher will offer you the option to take a more advanced variation when appropriate. If you are adapting poses because of an injury, always be sure to let the teacher know.
When it comes time to take a vinyasa, always feel free to take either knees, chest, and chin and cobra or chaturanga and updog.
- Go to the Bathroom During Resting Poses
It is fine to leave class for a few minutes to go to the bathroom: There is no need to ask the teacher’s permission. The best time to go is when there is a period of rest, either in child’s pose or downward dog.
- Don’t Skip Savasana!
Your final relaxation in savasana is an important part of your practice. Don’t plan to leave class early. If you must, tell the teacher in advance and take a short savasana before you go. Don’t make a habit of this.
Written by Annette Scott www.facebook.com/kodawariyoga
Kodawari Studios 3965 S. Henderson Blvd, Suite C, Tampa, Fl 33629