Good manners are based on showing consideration for others, and etiquette for yogis is no different. When you’re counting on that precious hour to erase the stress of your day, an inconsiderate classmate can be a big obstacle.
Mind your manners on the mat with these six tips, including a few from Valley Vinyasa instructors Joe, Elena, and Paula.
Be timely. Try to get to class 10 minutes early, more if you need to make a payment or if you
are a new student with questions. Give yourself time not only to sign in, gather your props and set out your mat but to become centered and still. If you are late, wait until after the opening meditation to spread out your mat. Don’t leave before savasana. This is an important part of class where your body assimilates the experience. If you absolutely have to leave early, go before the other students settle into their relaxation pose.
Turn off your phone. If you forget and it rings, turn it off quickly and quietly. Enough said.
Come clean. Don’t use heavy lotions or perfumes, which can be especially irritating in a crowded, warm space. Remove your shoes upon arrival. If you sweat a lot, bring your own towel. Realize that twisting and bending can sometimes release gas. It happens. Move on, whether it’s you or a neighbor. Most students are adept at returning their attention to their practice.
Respect others’ space. Set up your mat at least an arm’s length away from your neighbor. If it’s a crowded class, stagger mats and be aware that you might have to adjust your space. Never walk on anyone’s mat. Don’t wear overly revealing clothing, which is more about respecting others’ sensibilities than their space, but you get the point.
Be quiet. It’s fine to ask the teacher questions and exchange greetings with other students, but try to do so quietly and don’t carry on a gossipy conversation with a friend. Realize that others may have come to class to find some peace and quiet after a hectic day, so be especially respectful if you see students in a meditative pose. While the teacher needs to know if you have any physical limitations or injuries, he or she may need time to consult with other students and to center themselves as well, so avoid monopolizing their time.
Clean up after class. Pick up your props and replace them NEATLY, which means lining up
blankets and blocks. Studios clean their mats regularly, but if you’ve borrowed a mat, give it a quick once over with the cleaning supplies provided.
Yoga brings us mindfulness. Applying that mindfulness to an awareness of others is the essence of proper etiquette, on the mat and off.