10 Tips on Yoga Etiquette

None of us ever want to be “that person”. You know–the rude one intruding on your space, yelling at the top of her lungs. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to ensure that you’re adding a harmonious, not hellish, vibe to your yoga class.

If you’re ever unsure about whether you’re being courteous to your fellow yogis, a good question to ask yourself is, “Could my behavior negatively impact others around me?”. Read on to learn what faux pas to steer clear from while on the mat.

1. Don’t walk on someone else’s mat when you’re trying to find a good spot

Think about it from their point of view: does the thought of someone else’s sweaty feet on your mat make you want to jump for joy? Didn’t think so.

2. Bring a towel with you

You can work up a sweat during practice, so eliminate the possible embarrassment of it dripping on your neighbor’s mat.

3. Ditch the distractions

Put your phone on silent mode and try not to have side conversations with your friends during class. You can always socialize before and after class, but trying to do it during class can be disruptive to your classmates and the yoga instructor.

If you think you’re going to be late to class, check your teacher’s policy on lateness, as some won’t allow people to attend class if they’re more than 10 minutes late. If you are late to class and need someone to move to make room for you, wait until it’s a good time for them to move.

You can understand how much of a buzzkill, not to mention a hassle, it can be to have to unwind from an intense pose like Sirsa Padasana to accommodate your needs. Just be mindful of how your behavior affects your classmates. Try to show up 10-15 minutes early to class, if you can.

4. Practice good personal hygiene

Wear deodorant, and show up to class with freshly laundered clothes. Make sure your mat and towel are clean before each class.

Wear snug yet comfortable clothes that give you your full range of motion, but stay away from outfits that are too revealing. No matter how attractive you are, no one wants to see that in yoga class.

While you should wear deodorant, don’t overdo it with your perfume or cologne. Some people are sensitive to certain scents, and you’ll probably be sweating in class anyway, so save the sprays for after practice.

5. Take off your shoes before entering the studio

Yoga is done barefoot. No, your feet aren’t going to offend or gross anyone out. Everyone is barefoot during class. If you have a health condition that requires you to wear socks, please discuss this with your teacher before class.

Not sure where to put your shoes? Just follow the well-seasoned yogis, or ask one of them.

6. If you’re sick with something contagious, stay home

One of the greatest benefits of yoga is that you can practice it anywhere, including the comfort of your own home. You can always return to class when you feel better.

7. Don’t shoot dirty looks if you’re in a crowded class and someone accidentally brushes you with a hand or foot

It happens to all of us, especially in the more popular classes. Rolling your eyes or sighing loudly just makes you look like a jerk.

8. Don’t voice your annoyance during a tough pose

Chances are, we’re all struggling with it. If someone grunts, punches their mat or passive-aggressively makes a point to stumble out of a pose, it can infuse the whole class with a negative vibe.

Instead, smile through the challenge and remember that you are doing something incredibly beneficial for your personal growth. Future you is grateful that you’re invested in developing your skills and abilities.

9. Respect your studio

Keep it clean, and make sure you’re not talking too loudly in the lobby or hallway, in case another class is deep in meditation or savasana. Which brings us to the last, often overlooked point.

10. Stay in savasana!

This is a crucial part of your practice, because you’re using this time to integrate your mind, body and breath in order to meditate on your practice. I’m sure you can imagine how disruptive it can be to your classmates when you walk around them or drop a water bottle during savasana.

Savasana will allow you to soak up all the benefits from everything you just did. The more anxious you are to wriggle out of it, the more necessary it is for you to stay in savasana until the end of practice.

Awareness is always important, so do yourself and your fellow yogis a favor by spreading the word about these etiquette tips, so everyone can enjoy a productive, relaxing yoga practice.

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