When you first start practicing yoga you’ll soon notice that the group setting and atmosphere of a yoga class is different than other types of group exercise classes. Sure you’re doing different poses together and generally at the same time, but some things that may fly in other types of classes may get you a big eye roll during a yoga class.
Before you roll out your best mat and find a comfy spot, check out these tips for the proper yoga etiquette.
Lay off the perfume or cologne. While you don’t want to go to class with body odor you also don’t want to arrive smelling like you poured a bottle of perfume or cologne over your head. Have consideration for your classmates who may not want to be consumed by the smell of your perfume of the day. Opt for some deodorant instead. This way you can still smell good but not overpowering.
Show up 5-10 minutes early. Don’t run into the class just as it’s starting or even worse, late. Rushing in as a hot mess will not only prevent you from relaxing, but it will also disrupt other people in the class who are trying to find their zen. If you arrive five to ten minutes early, you’ll have time to set up your mat, take off your shoes and begin to relax before class gets started.
Take off your shoes. Yoga is unlike other group exercises in that you don’t wear shoes. Many yoga studios will have a spot near the door for you to take off your shoes. Yoga is usually done with bare feet, so take off your socks too while you’re at it.
Turn off your cell phone. If the idea of turning your cell phone off for an hour or at least putting it on silent makes you break out in hives then maybe a yoga class is not for you. People want to have quiet as they concentrate on their breathing and making a connection between their mind and body. They can’t do that (and neither can you) if your phone rings or any of your one-hundred alerts go off in class.
Don’t be chatty. Yoga class is not the time to find out your neighbor’s life story. While you can certainly say hello, remember that many yoga classes are a place for quiet and reflection. People can’t be quiet if you’re busy wanting to have a conversation. If you want to get to know your mat mates, try striking up a conversation after class.
Don’t skip savasana. You may think the class is over once all of the moving poses are done, but that is not the case. The last pose, corpse pose or Savasana, is just as important, if not more important than the other poses in the class. This involves lying down with your eyes closed to help seal in your practice. If you absolutely must leave, tell the instructor beforehand. Gather your belongings and leave before Savasana begins so you don’t disrupt the class.
Keeping these etiquette tips in mind will not only give you a better class experience but will allow those around you to get the most out of their time in class. Being the cause of distractions will hinder your practice and everyone else’s. Practicing yoga is all about silencing the mind and relaxing the body. Namaste.