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Walking into your first yoga studio can be an intimidating thing. If you’ve never done yoga before the poses may seem a little foreign, you wonder where to put your mat…and why doesn’t everyone else know what they’re doing? Here are a few suggestions for yoga studio etiquette so you feel right at home with your new sangha (yoga community).
Arrive On Time…Even A Few Minutes Early
Some studios lock the door when class starts and some allow for a few minutes of grace. We all understand that life is not picture perfect and we end up being late. However, when we are late for class we do disrupt the class that has already started. Both for the teacher and the other students.
Shoes & Cellphones Off And Away
Most yoga studios do not allow shoes on the classroom floor and provide a space to store your shoes right at the front door. So, upon entering the studio, be sure to take your shoes off.
And once the class starts, socks come off too. 🙂
Make sure there’s nothing on the classroom floor, but your mat and you. Cellphones are to be stored and off or in airplane mode with your other belongings, and definitely not on the floor next to your mat.
In most studios, the teacher moves around the room quite a bit. We teach from all areas of the room. Most teachers provide physical adjustments to students during yoga poses. So we don’t want to trip over anything or worse, break your belonging. So make sure your glasses are set up high.
Less Talking, More Breathing
The yoga studio is the perfect place to make new friends. At our studio, we encourage students to connect before and after class. Although some studios have a strict no talking rule in the classroom.
However, once the class starts, it’s important to bring your focus inward and keep your thoughts to yourself. This not only helps you keep your focus on your yoga, but it is respectful of the other student’s experience.
Be sure to laugh at your teachers jokes though. 😉
Well…You Might Want To Shower.
Saucha (Cleanliness) is the First Niyama of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. This will mean different things for different people. But quite bluntly…make sure you’re not too stinky so you’re not bothering the other students.
Now. I live in a farming community. And sometimes the farmers get home from their day jobs work the fields and rush to their yoga class. Do you think I’m going to send them away because they smell a little off? Nope. We’ll just deal with it. We’re happy they take yoga and support these hard workers.
I’m just saying that a little mindfulness in this area, makes everyone a little happier. 🙂
Respect The Teacher’s Sequencing
Our teachers spend a good amount of time preparing for our yoga classes. In YTT we learn the importance of smart and safe sequencing to lead you through the journey of an asana class. So it’s important to be respectful of that and follow their sequencing.
Now. If you need to modify a pose or if you want to go deeper into the pose, that is absolutely appropriate. However, standing up front and doing your own thing without regard to what the teacher is providing is considered very rude to both the teacher and the sangha.
Just no. When we practice asana, we do a lot of breathing. So be sure to leave your gum in the trash.
You Don’t Have To Breathe So Loud
Have you been next to that really heavy breather in yoga class? Petty distracting huh?
Ok. Some people may disagree with me…but here’s the thing. Ujjayi breathing is not being done right if you sound like you’re a jet engine. The back of the throat is to be contracted gently, and the breathing soft. We use this type of breathing to focus the mind and to improve core stability. It is the most important pranayama breathing practice in yoga! But it’s important to soften, and not so loud that you’ll blow the student over in front of you.
Plus those heavy breathers are distracting! When we come to the yoga studio, it is about connecting with your community and building a practice with your sangha. Be respectful of their auditory space too.
That’s it! Keep your hands and feet to yourselves, but know that your fellow student’s feet may end up on your mat, and that’s ok. We come together at a yoga student to strengthen our community and connect with other seekers. Be sure to ask lots of questions and have fun exploring your yoga journey.