Yoga Etiquette 101

How to earn good karma at yoga class

You’re late for yoga. The teacher’s already shut the door and denies you entry. Rats! You were really looking forward to it. Should you enter anyway?

Or perhaps Sweaty Eddy has removed his shirt and is dripping all over your mat. Ewww. What to do?

If situations like this have you scratching your third eye or shaking a mighty mudra to the sky in frustration, relax. Breathe. We’ve got 11 rules for perfect yoga etiquette.

1. ARRIVE EARLY
Arrive at least 10 minutes before class is scheduled to start. If you’re new to the studio, arrive 20 minutes early, as you’ll need to fill out forms, make payments, find your way around and such. Benefits: you can secure your favourite spot and get all that chitchat out of your system.

2. REMOVE YOUR SHOES
Many yoga studios require you to take off your shoes when you enter – there’s usually a dedicated area by the front door where you can leave them. Since we walk around the studio barefoot most of the time, it is most hygienic, and courteous, if everyone takes off their shoes first thing. Also, since viruses, fungal infections, and bacteria may be lurking on the floor, yoga socks offer coverage and grip. A little rub down with hand sanitizer works wonders too.

3. TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE
Make a habit of turning off your cell phone before you enter the studio. A yoga studio is a sanctuary of peace and calm, and a ringing cell phone can be heard from the changing-room. Turn it off when and where you take off your shoes.

4. LEAVE YOUR BELONGINGS IN THE CHANGING-ROOM
Don’t cart your bag of belongings into class. Yoga classes can get very full and floor space is at a premium. Most studios don’t have lockers so if you are concerned about valuables leave them at home, in the car or ask to leave the item at the front desk.

5. BRING A TOWEL
Yoga, especially hot yoga, can be a sweaty situation. Bring a towel large enough to cover your yoga mat; without it, your mat will become a slippery mess.

6. COMMON SCENTS ISN’T COMMON COURTESY
Proper breathing is an integral part of reaping the benefits of yoga. Not only can strong aromas be distracting, some people have sensitivities to scents, so avoid using perfumes, colognes, scented creams, hair spray or gels. Now, don’t take this as an invitation to go all au naturel; a dab of deodorant is the considerate thing to do, so everyone can take a nice deep breath of fresh air.

7. RESPECT THE YOGA INSTRUCTOR
Follow the teacher’s instructions. If you’re an advanced student taking a beginners or intermediate class, stick to the basic versions of the postures so you don’t throw off fellow students. The instructor will give you the opportunity to take a more advanced variation when it’s appropriate. On the flip side, if you’re in an advanced class and you’re finding some of the poses difficult then it’s okay to do a more basic variation; the teacher will provide you this option.

8. QUIET PLEASE!
Yoga is a time of inviting stillness and being present, so please respect others’ practice by keeping silent and settling in as quietly as possible as soon as you enter or when you leave the room. If your teacher lets you in late, tiptoe and gently release your mat to the floor.

9. NO EATING
The aroma of that snack you grabbed is going to be mighty distracting, especially if folks have come to class directly from work. Do any snacking outside. Of course, water in class is fine.

10. GO TO THE BATHROOM IN-BETWEEN ASANAS
Try to go to the washroom before the start of class. If nature calls during class wait until there is a period of rest, such as child’s pose, or in between asanas.

11. DO SAVASANA!
Savasana or final relaxation is an important part of your yoga practice. Incorporate the time in savasana into your schedule; don’t fiddle or start packing up during the pose, and don’t leave class early.

 

Sweat Equity Magazine is the only Canadian publication dedicated to yoga, fitness, lifestyle, food and you—the teachers, trainers, gyms, studios, restaurants and fitness lovers that make our community tick.