Many of us take yoga classes for a wide variety of different reasons, whether it’s to stretch, switch off after a busy day or just forms part of your workout routine, but whatever your goal is, yoga students often tend to pursue classes in search of a quiet and tranquil place, with very minimal distractions.
This should mean that everyone else who is attending the class should then follow some etiquette rules in order to maintain an aura of calm and concentrated effort. If this isn’t practiced, then you may run the risk of disrupting someone’s calm atmosphere.
Guidelines differ depending on the studio. Some etiquette tips are posted online or are located somewhere in the studio itself, but some tend to be unspoken.
If you’re new to yoga, then you are very unlikely to know about these unspoken rules and yoga terms, so here are a few to get you up to speed before you attend your first class.
1. Arrive Early
If it is your first class, then you absolutely should get there early, but this also applies to all classes. This allows you the time to find a good spot, unroll your mat and get together any additional items you will need for the class, such as blankets or straps to modify your poses.
It also allows you to get into the right mind-set and unwind a little before the class starts.
If you’re running a little late, wait until the teacher has finished their opening ritual before you enter. This way, you are not interrupting the class whilst they are trying to get grounded.
2. Aim To Stay For The Duration Of The Class
If you need to leave early, then be sure to let your teacher know as early as possible. Aim for a spot near the door so that you can quietly sneak out and not disturb your classmates during savasana, which is the final period of relaxation before the end of the class.
When you’re leaving, try not to step on anyone else’s mat or make too much of a disruption. Most teachers are happy to clear away your mat and props at the end of a class if you let them know you need to leave early so as not to cause any further disruption.
3. Wear Appropriate Clothing
When you are practicing yoga, you want to wear something that is comfortable so that you can move freely. Avoid clothing which is prone to wardrobe malfunctions or bunching and riding up to get in your way: think soft, stretchy and breathable fabrics.
Dress codes for yoga classes vary, but many teachers do expect students to be respectful. Modesty is a hugely traditional part of yoga practice, so dressing in a way that won’t make anyone uncomfortable or is distracting is kind and respectful to the rest of the class.
4. Keep Devices To A Minimum
Many yoga classes recommend that you turn off your mobile or keep it in a locker outside of the room. This is so you can fully disconnect and you don’t disturb others. If the thought of being completely disconnected for your class makes you feel uneasy, for example, if you have children who may need to get in contact, then some teachers will allow you to keep it on silent.
Yoga is a chance to escape the digital connection so many of us rely on during the day and by bringing your phone with you, you’re still being distracting to yourself and others.
If you’re expecting an important phone call, email or text, then it may be worth just skipping class altogether.
5. Let Your Instructor Know About Any Physical Issues
If you have any issues, such as a bad back, sore shoulder or just prefer not to receive hands-on assistance from your teacher (this is where your teacher will adjust your position to improve your alignment or make you more comfortable), then be sure to let your instructor know before the class begins.
They may suggest some alternative poses or just let you get on with it at your own pace. Yoga is very much a consent-based exercise, so don’t be put off asking to be left alone.
6. Clean Up Your Space
Once the class has ended, it is expected that you clean up after yourself. If you borrowed a mat, then be sure to wipe it down after the class using a sanitizing wipe. Put any props away and be sure that the space around your mat is clean and tidy.
If you borrowed a blanket, then some studios request that they get put in a laundry basket or are folded a certain way, so be sure to find out what your studio’s guidelines are.
Natalie Wilson is a freelance health and wellness writer. She loves researching and writing about new health trends and topics, such as the benefits of high strength fish oil and why you should practice breathing techniques. When not writing, you can find her taking long walks in the countryside with her dog or browsing her nearest bookstore. You can connect with her on Twitter @NatWilson976.