Yoga Class Etiquette
Usually, arriving a good fifteen minutes before class starts is appropriate.
Give yourself enough time to arrive at the studio, hang up your coat, take off your shoes and socks, and turn off your cell phone. You’ll need to sign in and pay for class, which often involves a bit of paperwork if you're new to the studio. You’ll also want to give yourself a few extra minutes to lay out your mat, gather props, and bring your breath to an even and steady pace. After all, it's pretty challenging to get centered if you're racing in just as class is getting started, and there’s little worse than being the cause of a disruption when everyone has just begun to relax. Usually, arriving a good fifteen minutes before class starts is appropriate (not too much more, as sometimes the teachers need prep time, or a prior class may still be going on in the studio). What should you do if you ARE late and class has begun? Listen at the practice studio door and if class is centering at the beginning, please wait until you hear movement to come in. We don’t mind if you slip in silently and take a place in the back. No one should be too uptight. It is yoga, after all!
Turn off Your Electronics
Phones, wrist watches, iPads—anything that dings, rings or buzzes should be turned off.
Want to know what can get all eyes on you in a yoga class faster than a no-handed headstand? When the peaceful silence is interrupted by a siren wail, otherwise known as the ring tone you gave to your mother-in-law. AWKWARD! Phones, wrist watches, iPads—anything that dings, rings, or buzzes—should be turned off before class. Even that dangly necklace that your kids made for you that jingles as you move shouldn’t make its way into the practice space. Leave anything that makes noise but doesn't breathe outside of the studio. Not only do you not want to distract others, but you want to be totally present in class without the outside world demanding your attention. Even if it is your mother-in-law.
Be Aware of the Space You Take
Though the teacher often moves around the room and does demonstrations from various places in the studio, be aware of where you’re placing your mat so you don’t sit yourself directly in front of someone else. It is common courtesy to stagger yourself so that the person behind you has a clear view of the teacher. A good rule of thumb is to place your mat 6 inches in front or behind the person next to you and offset your mat from the person in front of you and behind you. This ensures your parts don’t invade someone else’s parts!
Be Free of Scent
Be concerned about perfumes and colognes. Often, those of us who attend yoga classes with you are on the natural path, and the smell of commercial lotions and perfumes make some people sick (literally). Try to go au naturel, or if you really would like to smell better without being offensive, drop a dab of essential oil onto your wrists.
Don’t Chat with the Person Next to You
Sure, make friends with your yoga neighbors because, after all, yoga is all about “uniting,” right? Often the yoga studio is a prime gathering space for like-minded folks, but keep the chatting in the check in room (Smaller studio). Once you enter the practice studio, it’s time to turn inward, so don’t be offended if that uniting you were yearning for isn’t happening when you’re on your mat. Many students relish practice as a time to turn inward and become centered, and the time in the studio before, during, and after class is considered a sacred time. Plus chatting during class is distracting and even dangerous when challenging poses are being taught and people need to stay focused.
Ask Questions Mindfully
You might wonder if it’s okay to ask the instructor a question during class. This really depends upon the teacher. We encourage full exchanges of dialogue, but if you’re in a setting where the teacher is the only one speaking, respect that atmosphere in a way that still allows you to get the most out of class. If you have a question that needs answering, by all means ask it! Aim to get the attention of your teacher discreetly when they come over to your mat, or ask them one-on-one when class is over. Our instructors love to share their knowledge and passion for yoga!
We have spray bottles and Norwex Envirocloths available to clean off the mats at the end. Spritz, then wipe the mat down post-practice (especially if the mat you were using is one of ours). Put away all props neatly and where/how you found them. The few extra seconds it takes each student to stack the blocks so they don’t tip, roll the mats so they are even, and fold the blankets saves lots of time for our instructor and we are all to be mindful after all!
Being gentle in voice, movement, actions, thought, and attitude respects those who come to yoga for a safe, uplifting, truthful environment. Practicing non-violence (ahimsa in Sanskrit) at the studio means coming into the space in a peaceful way. Gossip, angry complaining, and negative attitudes are best left for the gatherings around the water cooler at work. Instead, being gentle in voice, movement, actions, thought, and attitude respects those who come to yoga for a safe, uplifting, truthful environment. Hopefully, this gentle way of approaching and being will dissipate negativity not only during yoga class but at the water cooler and other areas of your life as well!
Your Response Is Noted
Often, at the close of class, the teacher will bow his head and say “namaste” to the class. If it moves you to do so, you would respond with “namaste” back. You may notice the other students around you saying it as well. Namaste is your teacher’s way of saying they honor the divinity in you. Your saying it back says you honor the divinity in them too.
Take What You Learned with You
Hopefully, your focus in class has little to do with etiquette and rules and much more to do with gaining a better understanding of both the practice and yourself. Please understand it is completely normal to feel emotional after class; this may happen right after class or a few hours later. In order to heal, we need to feel and we do that by releasing issues in the tissues! Most likely, you’ll feel a great sense of invigoration (like Rocky), peace, relaxation, and inspiration after class. If this is the case, there isn’t a better way to show gratitude to the teacher and honor the practice than to spread this sense of peace to others throughout your day.