A yoga class can be a daunting place to walk into, so understanding some basic class etiquette can be useful to help you feel more comfortable before and during your practice. Following these tips below will ensure that each yoga practice is enjoyable and beneficial for you, the other students and your teacher.
ARRIVE 5-10 MINUTES EARLY
Please arrive before the start of the class. The first 5 minutes of the class are really important for everyone to get prepared, centred and ready for the practice. Arriving late is not only pretty embarrassing but its detrimental to your own practice and the other students who have already begun theirs. If you’re very early, use the time to focus on your breath before the practice begins.
TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF
Most studios will have a designated area for you to store your shoes, but if there isn’t then take them off as soon as you enter the room and leave them at the side or back of the room, especially if the weather is wet – this keeps the space clean. Do not put shoes on your yoga mat, and remove your socks, yoga is practiced bare foot.
Make sure that your phone is off, or do not bring it with you! Do not leave it on vibrate as this is still a disturbance to the class if it rings. A lot of people use the class as an opportunity to move away from digital distractions and be fully present with their practice, please respect this. This also applies for watches that have various functions, we do not come to a yoga class to count how many calories we have burnt, getting notifications through watches is another distraction to you and those around you.
RESPECT THE SPACE
…and those that are in it. Observe the room and practitioners when you arrive. People come too yoga for different reasons and some may not want to have full blown conversation before practice. Please respect that some want to come and really focus themselves in silence before the class begins. If a conversation is to be had, be mindful of the topic and nature of that conversation, keep your voice at a respectful level, this is a shared space and all should feel welcome and at ease.
Do not chew gum – its distracting and unsafe.
Leave your ego at the door. Yoga is not a competition either with yourself or the person next to you. Use class time to focus your attention inward, to explore your body and always within your limits. Your practice will be different every time you show up on the mat, so it’s important to respect this and not to push yourself to obtain a certain pose – this is not the goal of yoga.
Inform your teacher of any injuries or medical conditions that you may have including pregnancy before the class begins, this can help greatly with the sequence that your teacher decides to offer. Your teacher will give you modifications to help you get the most out of your practice.
Sometimes hands on adjustments are used to help students gain more awareness in alignment and depth in a posture. If you’re sore, injured or just don’t want to be touched, let your teacher know before the class begins.
Don’t skip Savasana! The final resting posture is vital to your practice. It allows the body, nervous system and mind time for deep rest and restoration and the space to receive the full benefits of yoga. If you really must leave, make sure you let your teacher know before class, position yourself by the door and leave quietly and quickly before Savasana begins so that you cause minimal distraction to the class.
Practicing kindness and respect to others, yourself and the space in which you practice is itself a form of Yoga. The practice begins before you enter the room not when you get on the mat.
See you in class. 🙂