YOGA ETIQUETTE and other matters
The difference between a beginner and an advanced practitioner is awareness
and awareness has a tendency to ebb and flow
Focus on Your Breath
No need to be flexible or even warm-up before class! The purpose of yoga is not to do all those seemingly impossible poses. The purpose is to learn to breathe (pranayama) and find your edge – not to jump off of it.
Bring a Yoga Mat
A non-skid, yoga mat that is at least the length of your body and preferably a foot wider than your shoulder girdle. You can of course use the studio mats if provided, but if you develop a regular practice it is nice to have your own beautifully clean mat, this is after all your sacred space.
Wear Comfortable Clothing
Comfortable clothing you can move in. From sweats to shorts and t-shirts, make sure your clothes won’t get in the way and offer the most mobility. You’ll sweat for sure, so synthetics are generally the best bet. Bring a shawl or soft blanket for relaxation at the end, so you feel warm and safe.
Show Up to Class!
It sounds simple but your practice will get stronger if you keep returning and gradually you will feel YES, it is working for me. Show up to class, try different types of class until you find the teacher that suits you.
Go Bare Foot
Many beginner yogis come to their mats wearing socks and shoes, leave these at the door before you enter the yoga space. Stability is key so take socks off and show those lovely clean feet!
Mute and Put Away Your Phones
Nothing is more embarrassing than your phone going off during opening or closing meditation. Even as you are waiting for a class to begin it is good to put phones away and be present.
Be Aware of the Space You Take
Though the teacher often moves around the room and does demonstrations from various places in the studio, be aware of where you’re placing your mat so you don’t sit yourself directly in front of someone else. It is common courtesy to stagger yourself so that the person behind you has a clear view of the teacher.
Don’t Chat with the Person Next to You
Once you enter the studio, it’s time to turn inward, so don’t be offended if that people are not talking when you’re on your mat. Many students relish practice as a time to turn inward and become centered, and the time in the studio before, during, and after class is to some a sacred time to 'stay on your mat.' Chatting during class is distracting and even dangerous when challenging poses are being taught and people need to stay focused.
Non-comparison and Non-judgment
Don’t compare yourself to other yogis in the room and don’t judge yourself for not being able to do all the poses, park your ego. Take things at your own pace. This is not a competition.
Bring a Sense of Humor
You may over exert yourself or completely fall out of a pose. No worries! That’s part of the process and the fun of it. Smile at yourself, have another go or take Balasana (childs pose).
Arrive on Time and Stay to the End
Yoga is a progression, so you don’t want to miss the warmup by arriving late or leave early and miss the most important pose of them all: Savasana (corpse pose). Being on time or even a little early allows you to settle on your mat and perhaps meditate for a few minutes. Staying to the end you have the reward of all your hard work.....deep relaxation.
The wonderful, euphoric, centered feeling you will experience at the end of class is the reward and will bring you back again and again. The sense of lightness, presence and ease one feels after a good class is what will bring you back to the next class.
Finally, Practice Ahimsa
Practicing non-violence (ahimsa) at the studio means coming into the space in a peaceful way. Gossip, angry complaining, and negative attitudes are best left at the door. Instead, being gentle in voice, movement, actions, thought, and attitude; respect those who come to yoga for a safe, uplifting, truthful environment. Hopefully, this gentle way of approaching and being will dissipate negativity not only during yoga class but also to other areas of life as well.