Yoga Class Etiquette

Yoga Etiquette
One of the things you’ll hear in yoga class is: “Remem­ber that this is your prac­tice, so do what feels best.” Though this is absolute­ly true, there’s an unspo­ken rule that comes with it: don’t let your actions or choic­es ruin the expe­ri­ence for your fel­low class­mates. Here are some things to remem­ber next time you roll out your mat:

phone in the other roomArrive ear­ly
Every­body is late some time or anoth­er, but don’t expect to find a fan­tas­tic spot if you get to class one minute before it’s sched­uled to start—and don’t expect peo­ple to be pleased with you stomp­ing in when they’re try­ing to get set­tled. If you do arrive lat­er, enter qui­et­ly, find a spot to roll out your mat, and do so with as lit­tle dis­rup­tion as pos­si­ble. Con­verse­ly, if some­one else arrives late and needs a spot, don’t hes­i­tate to move a lit­tle to make room.

Leave your phone in the oth­er room
This should be a giv­en, but turn off your phone, iPod or any oth­er elec­tron­ic device before enter­ing the studio.

Be con­scious of space
This can mean dif­fer­ent things, depend­ing on the class size. If the class is full, it might mean get­ting nice and friend­ly with your neigh­bors and not being afraid of very lit­tle floor to mat space. If there’s more room, spread out a lit­tle and try to stag­ger your mat so you won’t be hit­ting your neigh­bor in the head dur­ing any side stretch­ing poses.

Don’t offend the air space
You may think your scent­ed lotion, per­fume or cologne is outstanding—but the per­son next to you might beg to dif­fer. Or worse, he or she might be aller­gic. Head to yoga scent-free, espe­cial­ly since you’re like­ly to sweat—and, of course, since one of the basics of a yoga prac­tice is deep and focused breath­ing. This also goes for flat­u­lence, so choose your pre-class meal carefully.

yoga teacherFol­low the teacher
Although there are vari­a­tions you can make for each pose to make it eas­i­er or more dif­fi­cult as need­ed, it’s gen­er­al­ly best to keep the flow the teacher has planned, for two rea­sons. First­ly, most often the flow is specif­i­cal­ly cre­at­ed to acti­vate cer­tain mus­cles in a spe­cif­ic order, so don’t dis­re­spect your instruc­tor by act­ing like you know bet­ter. Sec­ond­ly, it can be high­ly con­fus­ing to your class­mates if you’re doing some­thing com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent than every­one else. That’s not to see you can’t take a rest­ing pose as needed.

Stay for Savasana
The final rest­ing pose is an impor­tant one. So if you’re not going to do it, at least give your neigh­bors the space to med­i­tate and enjoy it by not get­ting up and caus­ing a ruckus. It won’t take up too much of your time to wait. Or, if you know ahead of time you have to leave at a cer­tain time and you fear class might run long, snag a spot by the door and men­tion it to your instruc­tor before class starts.