Pat Drummond :: life & technology

February 05, 2020

Etiquette for Yoga

Yoga classes are becoming popular with many people who have never tried it before - bravo! The rules of etiquette are the same as for most activities - be considerate of those around you so everyone get the most benefit from the class - known as a yoga practice.

The most important thing to remember is to silence your phone before you enter the class - that includes ringing, vibrating and notifications. If you don't know how to do that, read the manual (search online if you need one). There's nothing more distracting that a ringtone or buzzing noise in the middle of a meditation or difficult pose. If you do forget, shut the sound off immediately without making cries of surprise or apologies - that can wait until after class. If you must use your phone, quietly go to a location where the class can't hear you - the sound of a person talking on a phone carries surprisingly well through walls. Some phones provide a useful feature to silence the phone in 1-hour increments or provide a button to toggle sounds on and off. Airplane mode turns off your mobile connections, but does not turn off notifications - and yes, I learned this in a yoga class!

When people enter the class, they usually leave their shoes outside. You may wear socks into the class, but you'll need to remove them or wear "yoga socks" to do poses on the mat without slipping. It's commonly understood that you should not wear any scented products as a courtesy for those who react to them.

Before your first class, make sure the yogi (instructor) understands any physical ailments you have that may make some poses difficult for you. When you place your mat on the floor, try to leave 2 feet or more from other mats. Before the class begins, some people prefer to relax or stretch. If you like to talk to other people, do so quietly so you don't disturb the others. Once class starts, you should not talk at all unless asked by the yogi.
You should focus on the yogi's instruction and demonstration of the poses. The yogi will likely ask you to close your eyes for many parts of the practice. This allows you to concentrate on your own body and mind instead of being distracted by what's going on around you.

Whatever you do, don't watch other people. They may become uncomfortable but you also may become self-conscious if you think are not doing as well. Just remind yourself that yoga is not a sport, it's a practice.

If you aren't able to do some poses, don't worry. You will become more flexible and relaxed with practice. A qualified yogi will offer alternate poses, especially useful for people who have physical ailments or are recovering from an injury. If you feel pain, stop immediately! Try not to groan. Relax until the pain stops before you continue.

After class is over, return any equipment that was provided and collect your belongings. Many classes rent space by the hour so don't loiter to chat - do that outside or go for a coffee.

This might sound like a lot to remember, but it will quickly become automatic. My only wish is for you to enjoy your yoga practice and get the most benefit from it without annoying those around you.