This list of no-nos is most certainly shared by fellow yogis and teachers alike. Now, let me just say this is not to scare you out of yoga, in fact, I’m always trying to do the opposite (it’s taken me 5 years but my fiance has finally caved and started practising!) but, some things just need to be cleared up for seasoned and new yogis.
Yoga classes are unique in that you are sharing space with the people around you, but really, it is a very personal and private experience. One that allows the individual to explore their own body and breath in their own way. That being said, because you are sharing space it’s important to find the balance between interacting with others, respectfully, and understanding the kind of space you are in. It’s not a gym, boot camp or a social situation.

These 7 essential tips are mostly from my years as a student and perhaps a few from my teaching. Etiquette or the rules of polite conduct are just as important on the mat as off.
1) Be on time. Yes, it’s a personal practice but if you run late you disturb everyone else in the class (including the teacher). And you miss out on the benefits of the early warm-up and relaxation
2) Watch where you step. Nothing used to irk me more than fellow students walking on my mat as they crossed the studio. Your mat is your home for however long the class goes for. You wouldn’t want someone trudging all over your home, would you?
3)Mobile phones off. Silence and moving the attention inward is really, really hard when someone’s mobile phone is ringing, beeping or vibrating. Not to mention as a teacher it does throw you off your focus.
4) Mind your manners. With all that deep breathing, a yoga class is not the place where you should be coughing and sneezing without covering your mouth. Simple manners really – just be mindful that your fellow yogis are happy to share their energy with you, but not your germs.
5) Keep it down. If you enter a studio and there are already a number of people set-up in a relaxtion postures, fight the urge to gossip and talk loudly amongst your friends. It’s fantastic that yoga brings people together and creates a community but you never know why someone has come to class that day – that might really need some quiet space. And, would it kill you to talk a little less?
6) Less is best. In confined spaces breathing in strong perfume whilst trying to balance on your head isn’t much fun. If you can, avoid strong scents (perfumes, body products etc) as some people find it really difficult to breath freely without irritation.
7) Stay awhile. Nothing is more frustrating than almost slipping off to a deep, quiet space during savasana (corpse pose/relaxation) than being disturbed by a fellow yogi, unable to settle for 3 minutes, jumping up and leaving class early. Yoga is about finding comfort in the uncomfortable, so yes, if it happens try not to be distracted. But, for those that are serial savasana-skippers, if you can avoid it, stay awhile. It’ll go faster than you think and before you know it, class will be over. Oh and it’s a tad disrespectful to the teacher who has shared their energy and knowledge during the class to have you skadaddle because you can’t WAIT to run off to work/breakfast/life.
I hope that doesn’t deter you, but instead make you feel clear on the best behaviour in a yoga class. Hope to see you on the mat soon!
Signing off with an exhale.
Pause. Listen. Live.
Claire x



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