The yoga world and the outside world are two different places. They shouldn’t be, but they are. The customs and decorum we have in a yoga studio should also be practiced in the outside world; but typically, are not. Sometimes, the reverse happens, where a person forgets where they are and decides to bring in the habits from the outside world into the class. Here are some rules of yoga etiquette, in case you have forgotten.
Closing your eyes during a pose is typical and often encouraged during a more relaxing pose. You may even choose to do this to increase the difficulty of a balance pose, such as tree pose. Often, by closing your eyes you can more accurately measure how your body is feeling. You may even find that you will feel the pose just that little bit deeper by closing your eyes, so why not go for it?
If you’ve experienced trying to hold a balance pose and lost your balance, and tripped and fell on the yogi beside you, rest assured, it happens to the best of us. We all become distracted despite our best efforts; and sometimes, it takes us over and we tumble. Not to worry, just pick yourself up and get back into your pose.
Feeling emotional from a stressful day or week, or even a month, can sometimes lead us to express these emotions in class. Just take a deep breath, let it out, and you’ll be fine. If your emotions lead you to breathe out a little louder during a pose, or you happen to let out another sound while relaxing (usually reserved for the bathroom), rest assured you’re not the first and you won’t be the last.
Dressing comfortably for a class is nobody’s business but your own. Remember that as yogis, we are not there to judge one another. Also, if you happen to find yourself so at ease that you doze off during a relaxed Savasana, fret not, chances are, you will wake up once you start to sense the movement of the other participants around you. If you don’t wake up, the teacher will likely gently give you a little nudge.
We have all likely been guilty of committing something that is inappropriate or viewed as bad behavior, the key is being able to recognize it in yourself. Once you are reminded what these yoga no-nos are, you will hopefully stop doing them; so, here we go.
If you have been going to a class for a long period of time, chances are, you have a favorite spot in which you prefer to practice, and chances are, you aren’t the only one. Yes, we all have our preferred spots in class but that doesn’t mean we get to reserve them. This also applies to those saving a spot for a friend, but to avoid this pitfall, arrive a little earlier so that you can secure your fav spot, for you and your bestie.
Have you ever been deep into watching a movie at the theater and someone’s phone went off? Or how about at dinner? Or on the bus? It’s irritating then, so it’s even more irritating when you’re trying to get your “om” on. Do everyone a favor and leave your phone in your locker, or at least in a bag and turned off.
Arriving late and then trying to fit in your yoga mat to some tiny little corner, or forcing someone to shuffle over while they are in the middle of a downward dog is very disruptive. But what’s actually even more disruptive is when you try and leave in the middle of Savasana. Often, the teacher will instruct the class that, if you can’t stay until the end, please leave before its commencement. Please be considerate of others and follow the rules of time within a class.
Disruptive behavior that includes chatting with a friend is also an easy one to forget. It may seem harmless enough; but remember, you can always catch up after class.
The rules and considerations of yoga are simple; you learn the same respect for rules when you are 5 and in kindergarten, and have them ingrained in you throughout the rest of your school days. In a world where we forget our manners, which is easy to do within the electronic age where it doesn’t always seem necessary, it’s important to remember that there are some places where it still matters.