It's happened to all of us. Despite our best efforts to get to the studio 15 minutes early to have time to settle in and decompress before class...we're late (again!). Now what?
Some studios are very strict and don't allow students to enter class late, but most (including Valley Vinyasa Yoga Studio) are pretty understanding and are just glad to have you there. But both the teacher and the other students appreciate it when latecomers follow a few basic yoga etiquette guidelines.
Here are a few tips for arriving late for class:
If you know in advance you're going to be cutting it close, ask the teacher if she'll set up a mat and props for you near the door before class (she'll be more than happy to do it). That will minimize the disruption to the rest of the class and get you into the practice faster.
If you get to the studio and the class has started their opening meditation, consider waiting outside and getting centered there so that you don't disturb the serene atmosphere the teacher is trying to create. Take a few minutes to breathe and put whatever made you late behind you, then join the class when the movement begins.
If you do enter the studio when the class is centering, minimize your movement and noise.
You can spread your mat out later (the sound of a snapping mat hitting the floor is a definite distraction); for now, just sit quietly on the floor near the door. Avoid unzipping and walking around; again, you can sign in and get your props after the class gets moving.
If you get to class at the end of the opening meditation or after it's over, be sure to give
yourself a minute or two to get centered yourself. Missing a couple of postures won't hurt your practice as much as not spending the time to get in the right frame of mind, so sit quietly (or rest in child's pose) on your mat and join in when you feel ready.
It's important to remember that for most students, what happens in the first few minutes of a yoga class is as important as all the poses and flow that follow. It can be the difference between whatever happened before they entered the studio and the intention they have for their practice. It's also an important time for the teacher, who is working hard to move everyone into a place of peace and readiness. When you respect their practice, they'll understand and accept your late arrival.