Lately, I have been working with a lot of beginning students who are completely fresh to the yoga floor. So fresh that it has been intimidating for them to start, not knowing what to do from the moment when they first walk into the yoga studio. To help dispel that hurdle of being intimidated, I am running a workshop in a couple of weeks (Sunday, October 4, 2009 at 10am) called "Understanding The Basics". This will go over basic yoga poses but also the etiquette of a class and what a new student can expect from a yoga class.
An important part of a yoga class is the notion of etiquette. I remember when I started playing golf and my husband telling me and re-telling me (or so it felt) when to talk, when not to talk, where to walk, where not to walk, when to pick up my ball, how to rake a sand trap and so on. It seemed so strict at the time but I realized that there was a reason for every tip. It benefited the experience of all and helped maintain a beautiful course. The same applies to a yoga studio and a yoga class.
I certainly don't want this to sound like a "Miss Manners" column but I think these are helpful suggestions for all students to enhance our practice and to maintain a studio that feels good to work in.
- Be on time- if you are late for a class (and it does happen) please enter the studio quietly and wait for a visual cue from the teacher before entering the class or wait till the end of shivasana
- Remove your shoes and place them on the shoe rack before entering the yoga room
- Place your personal belonging on the shelves and off of the yoga floor
- Turn off your cell phone
- Place your mat down quietly - avoid dropping down your mat and snapping it flat
- If you have your own yoga mat, bring it along- it is more hygienic
- Please respect others who have started their practice and observe silence at the beginning of class
- Refrain from wearing perfume or strong scents to class
- Stagger mats in a "zipper" or "Herring bone" pattern to ensure adequate space to move - avoid straight lines
- Dress appropriately
- Please let your teacher know if you have an injury or wish not to be touched for the class
- Please avoid coming to class if you are ill
- Pay attention to the teacher and to your body
- Respect the teacher, respect other students, respect yourself
- If you need to leave early, let your teacher know and leave before shivasana- shivasana is important to your practice, please try to make it a priority
- At the end of class, fold your blankets neatly and return any props neatly
- Remove all of your personal belongings and garbage
Let these simple suggestions help us create an environment for all to flourish in their own personal yoga practices!