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:
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.
Follow 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.