Yoga studio etiquette and tips for practicing
1. Always take your shoes off and leave them in the dressing/bathroom room before entering a studio.
2. Check in at the desk before going into class even if you signed up online.
3. If you come late, Then slip in quietly and take your place. If the room is crowded, catch the teacher’s eye and he/she will be happy to make room for you.
4. Don’t give late-comers the stink-eye. Lateness happens.
5. Make room for others. Everyone should feel welcome.
6. Try to stagger your mats so that you can open your arms out to the side without bumping your neighbor.
7. Props are your friend. Grab the props you need at the beginning of class and keep them placed neatly near your mat and out of the way of others. Props that you use often should be placed strategically where you can access them. Use your props to support where your body is today. Don’t be too cool for props. It’s a sign of an advanced practitioner to use props when needed.
8. Be mindful of practicing “watchasana.” Try to stay rooted in your own space and practice. If you are taking a class for the first time place your mat in the middle of the room so you can easily catch a glimpse of what is going on without tweaking to look ahead or behind.
9. Always think about your drishti, or gazing point. Where we look affects our balance, affects our alignment, and can transform the pose. It’s natural to want to watch the person who’s speaking to you, unless a teacher specifically asks you to watch a demonstration, you don’t need to watch him/her. In yoga classes, teachers are usually walking around, assisting students verbally and manually. Lifting your head in down-dog to look at a teacher when he/she’s not really doing much more than adjusting the stereo volume or getting a student to straighten his elbows will just take you out of alignment.
10. Try to be present at all times. Some days, class is too much for us, and that is fine. Or maybe we accidentally go to a higher level class than we’re ready for or to a style that we’re unfamiliar with. If you need to rest, be constructive. Come to child’s pose or some other very simple, restful pose that you know. Close your eyes, breathe, listen to everyone else’s breath. Just being in the room, breathing, and practicing being present is highly therapeutic. Rejoin the class when you’re ready.
11. Careful not to drink too much water. Most of us hydrate enough ahead of time to sustain us through a sweaty full-length class. If your throat is dry or your mouth feels gummy, take a small sip, but you don’t want a gut full of water while you’re twisting, forward bending, inverting, etc. Definitely hydrate as much as you need to after class.
12. Try not to eat a full meal before class. Give yourself time to digest. Everyone’s different, but 2 hours for a light-to-medium meal is good. 3+ hours for really heavy meals. If you have low blood sugar and need a little snack beforehand, have a handful of nuts or a little fruit.
13. Do your best not to get frustrated. You can be serious about your practice without taking yourself too seriously. Have a sense of light-heartedness. Smile if you wobble or even fall. Be happy that you are brave enough to try!
14. Turn off your cell phones (yes, even the buzzer).
15. Practice non-attachment to the poses. Let yourself fall in love with the process. You might work on a particular pose for years before coming into what some would consider the full expression of the pose. Some poses might not ever come. Or some come today, but not tomorrow. And that is fine! Create an intention and work with it with patience without being attached to a goal or end result. Life is better that way.