Whether you’re new to yoga, or just anxious that you might be disturbing or ruining your co-yogi’s hard-earned zen, it is crucial to know the things that you must keep in mind or avoid doing — in short, yoga etiquette — to achieve harmony with the surroundings and co-students during a class.
Yoga has been around for more or less 5,000 years. It originated in northern India but is now renowned in America and even around the world. Yoga first arises in Epic Sanskrit, which was learned to be associated with the philosophical system, and yoga’s aim is believed to be “to unite the human spirit with the Divine one.”
As time went by, many teachers have innovated and customized yoga due to the modern world’s openness to diversity, which seems to be a good thing. It means that yoga can be for anyone. Whether for relaxation, stress relief, better physique, workout, or better posture, the goal is to focus on breathing and retaining inner and outer balance.
Just like any aspect of life, it is important to keep in mind that as a student or practitioner (whatever your teacher believes is a better term), there are guidelines and rules that you must keep in mind so that you will reach your goal without affecting other’s focus. Here are the top 9 essential etiquettes for Yoga Class.
1. Arrive on time – or earlier
As a sign of respect to the teacher, co-students, and yourself, it is important to arrive on time. By on time, it means at least 15 minutes earlier before the class. Why is that so? Yoga classes can be slightly compared to sports and martial arts. Whatever discipline you learn in the session or training, you should and will be able to apply it to your everyday routine and lifestyle. That’s why many consider yoga as a discipline aside from the physical fitness or relaxation that someone is trying to achieve.
Leaving the figurative matters aside, it is an important etiquette to arrive prior to the class so that you can prepare yourself for the session. Additionally, it’s even worse to arrive late. Imagine walking in on a room wherein your co-students and teachers are already prepared and relaxed on their mats. Aside from being awkward, sadly, it is annoying and disrespectful, especially when the goal is to focus on breathing and unite your mind, body, and soul.
2. Leave shoes at the door and sign in.
Shoes or any footwear should be left at the door. If you may notice, even in outdoor yoga, the students or the practitioner is barefoot as it is important to keep your ground, which is an essential concept in yoga. Additionally, you do not want to leave tracks of dirt on the floor and mats wherein you’ll be doing yoga positions, which consists of laying down and putting your body (even your face at some positions). In short, you would want to contribute to the cleanliness of the venue, hence, yours.
3. Clean up after class
In conjunction with the aforementioned etiquette, cleanliness is important, but not just before and during the class, rather even after it. As aforementioned earlier, yoga’s discipline can be applied in many aspects of life. It is one of its main purposes, to achieve unity of your mind, body, and soul, in other words, self-betterment and actualization. As a sign of respect for all beings around the room, it is an essential etiquette that you must acknowledge.
Well, it’s not that hard. You just need to wipe down the mat that you used, put props away to where they belonged. In some classes, there is a certain way of folding the blankets. Most likely, these will be discussed by the teacher.
4. Turn off electronics
Disconnect yourself from the external plane, focus on your breathing, In…. And out… In… Out… Then suddenly, a large ringtone drops. A mix of emotions (which is mostly also disconnected and let go during a class) breaks the flow of the session. As much as possible, turn off your electronics, or better leave them at the locker, if ever there are provided.
In case you are expecting calls, it is best to inform and as permission from the teacher or guru ahead of time if you can put your phone on silent and place it beside you.
5. Plan to stay for the whole class
Leaving in the middle of the class can cause disruption and distraction to everyone around the room. If you think the class hour doesn’t suit your schedule, check for other schedule availability that works best for you. Aside from the distraction and disruption in the room, it’s like a waste of time, money, and effort attending a class and leaving halfway. Make the most out of it. It’s not just for the class, it’s also for you. If you feel tired and you want to take a little break, it’s fine to step out and get some air, just don’t do it now and then. Besides, it can be better to lay down on the mat and rest for a while.
6. Wear an appropriate attire
This depends on the class you’re in. In most classes, students are encouraged to wear stretchy yet breathable clothes. There are classes wherein women are encouraged to wear a sports bra, tank tops, leggings, or shorts, while men are encouraged to wear swimsuit shorts or yoga shorts, like in hot yoga at InBalance Yoga and Wellness.
It depends on the class you’re attending. Feel free to ask the teacher or co-students ahead of time to avoid distractions, discomfort, and even shock from unawareness.
7. Open up to your teacher.
There are some circumstances wherein the teacher will assist in the alignment of your torso, etc. This might include a bit of touch on some parts of your limbs or even your torso. If ever you feel uncomfortable with this, it’s best to inform the teacher to avoid any misunderstanding. Most likely, they’ll agree. If they don’t, then it’s a red flag, and maybe it’s best to move to a different class.
Additional to this, you should inform the teacher of any health conditions or injuries that you have to avoid any complications in the long run.
8. Go easy on yourself, and don’t compare yourself to others.
Everyone starts from scratch. Some might already have ideas regarding yoga, while others don’t. Whichever of the two you are, keep in mind to go easy on yourself and don’t compare yourself to others. The studio is a place to let go of your pain and discomfort. The same goes for your co-students. They might have more experience in yoga. You might be just starting to know what-not. It’s completely fine to be a newbie. Everyone is new in the beginning. Yoga is a place where slow is fast. The same goes in life. Breathe in… Breathe out… You’ll get there eventually.
9. Be respectful
The bottom line of all etiquettes: Be respectful to yourself, your co-yogi, the instructor, and everyone around you.
We, at In Balance Yoga and Wellness, offer a yoga experience you’ve never imagined. Either heated or unheated, whichever option you might prefer. You’re more than welcome, more so now that you have learned the Top 9 Yoga Etiquettes for Yoga Class at Orem, UT. Attain the better you – Mind, Body, and Soul. Retain your balance In Balance Yoga and Wellness.