Yoga Studio Etiquette

I have been attending yoga classes at various studios lately and have noticed a lack of awareness about yoga etiquette, so I thought I'd develop a list of things to remember while in the studio!

  1. Be on time.  This is not always possible, because unforeseen things happen; however, try not make a habit of being late to class.  It can be disruptive to the other students, as well as the teacher.  
  2. Remove your shoes before entering the studio.  First, this keeps the floor clean.  Second, the studio is a sacred space for many people and the presence of shoes can be viewed as disrespectful.
  3. Make room for people as they enter the studio.  If the class is crowded and you notice you can make space for a mat, move your mat accordingly.  Most studios are set so you can slightly stagger your mats.  
  4. Be aware of the culture of the studio and talk accordingly.  Some studios are very quiet and allow for quiet time before class, where others have a sense of community where students talk and catch up before class.  Take cues from the other students and the teacher to see if talking is appropriate.  
  5. Do not step on other people's mats.  There may be some times during classes or workshops where you may need to be on another person's mat; however, for the most part, mats are very personal spaces for most people, so respect that.  If you must touch another persons mat, it is o.k. to ask them if they mind.  
  6. Turn your cell phone off and do not look at it during class.  There are certainly extenuating circumstances where you may need to have your cell phone near you, but try not make it a habit.  Yoga is a time to be present and focus and cell phones detract from that.
  7. Respect the teacher and other students.  Yoga is a personal practice, and of course, not everyone will be doing the exact same thing at any given time, but try to move in the same vein as the teacher's cues.  So, if the teacher is cueing gentle reclined warm up poses at the beginning of class, do not be doing handstands!  When students do something wildly different than the rest of class, it can be distracting for both the teacher and the other students.  In addition, good teachers sequence their classes in order to warm up certain body parts for poses that come later in the class; if you miss doing those poses, your body might not be as prepared.
  8. Do not be afraid to use props!  Some people see props as crutches, but they are there to support your practice.  I almost always tell my students to grab blocks, because I think it nice to just have them accessible.  And feel free to use those props at any time without the teacher cuing the use of them.  Learn what works for you and do not be ashamed of it!
  9. Do not leave during Savasana.  Again, sometimes extenuating circumstances require you to leave class early (if this is the case, let the teacher know before class), but do not make a habit of it.  Leaving during Savasana is disruptive to other students.  In addition, you will miss the benefits of that time of quiet and stillness!

These are just some general rules when attending classes at studios.  Let me know if I missed anything!