by Alexis Marshall: When a yogi visits a yoga studio, there are some yoga etiquette rules to be familiar with…
Every yoga studio is different on etiquette guidelines, but the one trait they all have in common is they take time to create a unique sanctuary for all of their students. From energy space, mental meditation, and physical growth it is important to respect these principles from the moment a yogi walks into the studio. The following guidelines will help to make the experience at a yoga studio the best.
Before coming to the yoga studio, take inventory on personal hygiene and the appropriate clothing. It is considered respectful to shower before a yogi practices a hour moving meditation next to another yogi. Limit heavy colognes, perfumes and lotions, while being aware of personal odor. Mostly everyone has sensitivity to strong smells, so remember to practice good hygiene by showering and brushing your teeth before class. It is also important etiquette to wear appropriate clothing in class. There are usually no rules on what to wear to class, only recommended to wear clothes that are easy to move in. As far as protocol, it is suggested to wear clothes that fully cover the nether regions, so no baggy shorts during plow pose. Tighter athletic wear with a material similar to spandex is best to allow bodies to bend and flex without the feeling of accidental exposure. It is recommended to not eat any heavy foods two hours before class starts as there will be twisting and contouring of the body. As a snack, stick to a smaller meal that is easy to digest, like a banana with some nuts.
Don’t be late
Make sure to arrive to the studio at least ten minutes before class begins. Yogis need a bit of time to get situated, choose a spot in the room for their mat and to unwind before class begins. It is also considered respectful to the instructor that you are ready to begin class on time, rather than walking in and disturbing the beginning flow. Unless it is absolutely necessary to leave class, make sure the instructor knows before slipping out of the room early. It is considered polite to notify an early departure Silence cell phones and tread lightly. Usually the entrance of any yoga studio is a place where the volume of voices, footsteps, and movement decreases substantially. To tread lightly is to slow down, both physically and mentally as soon as you walk into the door. Many people come to yoga to slow down in this fast pace world we live in, so be aware of the energy from the moment you enter. Consciously acknowledge that people are coming together to practice yoga for different reasons. We cannot assume everyone’s goals are the same, so approach others with care and leave any expectations behind.
Silence your phone
As belongings are put away in the student storage area, make sure phones are silent, shoes are stowed away, and dispose of gum before walking into class as it could potentially be a choking hazard when practicing deep breathing. Be silent when entering the yoga room, walk to the desired space, and gently place the yoga mat down, avoid slamming. Respect the personal space between the mat and other yogis when choosing the space on the ground. Leave a desirable distance from your neighbor to not invade their personal space as it would be limiting as postures expand throughout class. However, when the yoga room is full and the last few students want to join class, help to find those couple of inches to scoot the mats to allow yogis to find extra space. Students are welcome to take some warm up stretches on your own before class begins, but stay on the mat and honor this time as others may be meditating or relaxing their minds. If for any reason a student is late, consciously enter the room after the starting mantra of class.
As class begins, practice both mental and physical focus. Instructional cues may be given on specific breathing and focusing within. Try to not force breath out unnaturally, but follow the cues of deep cleansing breathing so it does not disturb others. Limit any physical fidgeting, like fixing clothes, hair styles, and even reaching for water. It is recommended to practice yoga on an empty stomach. Small amounts of water is fine and of course hydration is key, but guzzling down water is not only distracting to others, but will be uncomfortable later in class as contouring postures are taken. Be respectful and discipline with stillness and no speaking, as it is considered to be part of the practice. If one needs a restroom break, quietly leave the room during a rest pose, not during an active pose or it may distract others. Take this opportunity to strengthen the mind body connection. By being mentally disciplined, yogis focus the energy within themselves. Leave any concerns and issues outsides the door and focus on creating a position mood for class. There is no judgment or competing with others. Yoga is about positive and forgiving energy, while honoring that everyone present can grow within their own practice.
After shavasana, the final relaxation pose (where stillness and self-focus are especially important), slowly start to bring your attention back to the present moment of ending the yoga practice. By remaining quiet physically and vocally, begin to roll up the mat and replace any props used. If there are disinfecting wipes, it is encourage to wipe off props, the mat if rented from the studio, and perhaps the surrounding area as it is respectful to leave the dojo how it was entered. If you rented a mat, make sure to return it to the front desk.
By following these etiquette guidelines, it will improve the studio’s energy for all to practice there and will benefit one’s experience on their mat. It is important to respect these guidelines as yogis visit studios and influence others to do the same. Remain mindful with yoga etiquette to create a more peaceful welcoming sacred space for all.