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Yoga Class Etiquette — the Basics

By Dawna Matthews

As both a yoga practitioner and a yoga teacher, I have learned a few essentials when it comes to ensuring that your class is enjoyable. When you keep these things in mind, you honor your class and your practice, as well as the practice of the other students.

yoga class

· Do Be Mindful of Class Start Time

Please honor the start time of each class and arrive early enough to sign in and get settled. If you are running late, find a moment to walk in with the least disruption.

· Do Drink Plenty of Water Before and After Class

Try to avoid drinking during class. It is also best to avoid eating two hours before practice. The main reason for this is that a full stomach interferes with the postures and your breathing by restricting the space in the abdomen.

· Do Wear Comfortable, Non-restrictive Clothing

For maximum movement and flexibility, you need clothes that give you room to move and provide space for your body to breathe.

· Do Remove Your Shoes

Yoga is usually practiced barefoot on a “sticky” mat. Remove your shoes before going into the studio.

· Don’t Wear Strong Perfume or Cologne to Class

Some people have very sensitive noses and strong scents can be distracting.

· Don’t Bring Electronic Devices

Please turn off cell phones and leave business outside the class. This is your time for yourself. Give the gift of no distraction to yourself and to the other students. ​

Yoga Class Etiquette — the Basics
· Don’t Skip Savasana
· An important part of your practice, this is the final relaxation period where everyone melts and all the benefits of the class are soaked into the body. If you must leave early, tell the teacher in advance so s/he can signal you or maybe you can take a short Savasana before you go. We all have things come up, but try not to make this a habit.
· Do Notify the Instructor at the Beginning of Class of Any Health Conditions, Injuries, or Pregnancy
· Alternate postures may be recommended if you have any of these conditions. Also, remember to be gentle with yourself and don’t push yourself to the point of pain or injury. Remember, this is your practice and each of us has our own expression of a pose.
· Do Be Open-minded

You can have a safer, more positive, and more enjoyable class if you leave your ego behind. Listen to your body, relax, and go at your own pace. Remember that yoga is not a competition with other students or with yourself.

Yoga etiquette is not set in stone, but it is basically common courtesy for others and yourself. A big part of yoga is your sangha or kula (community), and going to a class is a wonderful gift and time to practice interconnectedness as you grow together and as individuals. Keep in mind why you are going to a yoga class and let go of any expectations; there is no ideal perfect class. Just be courteous and kind to yourself and others, exhale the stuff that distracts you (a great practice itself), and enjoy!

About Dawna Matthews

Dawna is a yoga teacher, writer, domestic goddess, and lover of life. She tries to celebrate all the joys given to us in this world by dancing, singing, cooking, and gazing up at the sky. Dawna believes green living is a way of coming back to the self- a simple yet deeply satisfying dance of gratitude to mother earth and each one of us. She lives in Colorado where the mountains are a perfect backdrop to each day. She twirls daily.

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  1. Good to know…especially if new to yoga. If it is new for you, don’t be intimidated, for the most part I find people to be very patient and helpful at yoga studios…

    And, if you don’t have a good experience at one class, don’t give up. There are so many different styles of yoga out there and styles of teaching there is bound to be one that fits for you…

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