Yoga Class Do’s & Don’ts
Do arrive early but not too early!
It’s great to arrive c. 5 minutes before the class is scheduled to start; it gives you time to check in, turn off your phone, find your ‘spot’ , grab your props, go to the bathroom, greet your Yoga teacher & fellow students & settle in for your practice.
Arriving any earlier may impact your Yoga Teacher’s set-up; remember Yoga Teachers have busy ‘other’ lives too so having a little quiet uninterrupted time to get ready for class is important to them.
If you arrive late, get yourself as ‘class-ready’ as possible before you enter the room so as to cause the least disruption. Enter & take your place as quietly as you can.
If you know you need to leave early, try & let the Teacher know before class begins. Choose a place that will be easiest for you to exit quietly & quickly. Take your belongings with you & get ready to hit the outside world a little away from the classroom.
Do Remove Your Shoes
Take your shoes off right by the door before you enter the Yoga classroom; you & your Teacher & classmates will (nearly always) be bare-foot so it is most hygienic if everyone takes off their outdoor shoes straightaway by the door.
Do Turn off Your Mobile Phone
Make a habit of doing this as soon as you get to your Yoga class.
Don’t wait to be seated, relaxing on your mat & doh, have to be prompted by the Teacher. If in any doubt, do please double-check that it is OFF. Silent Mode is not the same as OFF - a vibrating tone is just as disruptive when there is quiet & stillness in the room.
Yoga class is time-out; not just for you, but for all the others who have made the effort to turn up. Don’t rob yourself or others of the opportunity to truly unwind & relax.
If you do forget & your phone rings during class, it’s ok, you’re human! Just quietly get up & turn it off immediately.
This is both good Yoga class practice & good manners. Maybe make it easy & try leaving the mobile phone at home!
Do Respect Others
One of people’s biggest Yoga class pet peeves after Mobile Phone disruption is "people stepping on my mat". Yes, it may seem quite a small, even a petty ‘thing’ & yes, sometimes it’s difficult to avoid this in a full room. But please do your best to avoid stepping on other students' mats. A lot of people see their mat as a special, almost sacred place. Even if that’s not your own feeling, imagine your Yoga Mat like your towel on the beach or by a hotel pool - you really don’t want people walking all over that do you?! Plus, we all want to keep our mats clean, especially people with compromised immune systems. See shoe removal point above.
If class is busy, place your mat close to the person next to you so that there will be enough space for everyone, especially any late-comers. And please always be willing to move your mat to make room for another student. It may be you one day who needs that courtesy extended to you. Let’s be kind.
A Teacher will sometimes move around the room & demonstrate or suggest adjustments from various places. Be aware of where you’re placing your mat so there is room for the Teacher to get around. Also try within reason not to sit yourself directly in front of someone else; it’s common courtesy to ‘stagger’ yourself so that the person behind you has a clear view of the Teacher. If you’re new to the class or the kind of Yoga being taught, try & sit up the front. See arriving early ;-).
Do Practice Compassion
When we enter a Yoga class, we 'sign on' to respect the Teacher & our fellow participants for the next hour plus. But equally important is to come to class with an open mind & heart. You may be having a hard day, feeling unwell or struggling with some aspect of the class - this can happen to us all. We can still do our best to continue with the class within our comfortable limits, resting as much as we need to & when we need to, doing our best to following the class flow & taking our Savasana (or Savasanas). Maybe the class wasn’t what you expected; maybe there were distractions from others or indeed from yourself.
Let it go; show yourself compassion & extend that heart-filled understanding to others. If you do feel you have to unexpectedly leave, always check in quietly with the Teacher first. This is for your personal safety & well-being.
Don’t Neglect Your Quiet Time
Yoga classes are very often a quiet almost meditative space. One of the many beneficial aspects of the practice is to encourage the integration of body, mind & spirit. This isn’t as attainable if chat persists throughout the whole class. Think of your practice as a Moving Meditation. Again, show respect for your fellow class-mates; this might be one of the few times in their week that they can be silent & at ease.
Try as best you can to keep your questions for the beginning & end of class, excepting of course when you need or want an adjust or modification. Then, simply just signal with your hand raised that you want the Teacher’s help.
Remember too it’s a good idea to watch first & then try the asana (pose). Similarly, it is also good practice to rest when your body tells you to.
Don’t hold it in!
It is totally fine to leave class to go to the bathroom: there is also no need to ask the Teacher's permission. Ideally go before class but if you gotta go, you gotta go. Try & go when there is a period of rest in Child’s Pose or Savasana.
Don’t forget to relax & even have fun
Sometimes we get so into our practice & our attachment to progression, that we sometimes enter a seriously striving mode on our Mats. It is wonderful to embrace Yoga & want to deepen our practice but not at the price of relaxation & pleasure. Remember what brought you to Yoga & your mat in the first place - was it to reduce stress, enhance your physical wellbeing, even help minimise some physical or other personal challenge? Well then, let’s try to lighten up, do our best & enjoy our practice.
Don't Skip Savasana
Your final relaxation in Savasana is such an important part of your practice.
And your reward for your efforts! Don’t plan to leave class early unless you really really have to. If you must leave early, then as mentioned previously, please tell the Teacher ahead so they can try & accommodate a short Savasana for you before actual practice for the others ends. Or try & take a ‘make-up’ Savasana of your own when you get home.