Etiquette is an accepted social behavior in a particular setting; it defines the proprieties of conduct as established in any class or community or occasion. Etiquette is not a loud and explicit rule; it is soft and subtle and yet always carries you further when you observe appropriate etiquette in the right setting. Master the etiquette of the occasion and you will immediately draw favorable attention of the crowd. Yoga, which everyone can do, is no exception. A tradition as ancient and beautiful as yoga comes with a certain level of implied etiquette and it is the sincere hope of any devoted yoga practitioner to see all his or her fellow yoginis observe the same unwritten proprieties.
Be not only on time to your yoga class, be early. Make it a habit to arrive early. Nothing disrupts a local class mood like the late comer! When it comes to being on time, you are either on time or you aren’t. Everything else is an excuse. Get into a habit of leaving 5 to 10 minutes in advance. Experience a new perspective by holding yourself accountable and by respecting everyone for never arriving after class has started.
If you have any injuries (past or current), concerns or contraindications, talk to the teacher before class. This way, the teacher can recommend variations on certain poses during practice to allow you to reap the benefits without unnecessary strain.
Remember yoga class is often a very intimate setting and you may practice yoga closer to your fellow yoginis than you prefer due to lack of space or a crowded room. Please mind your personal hygiene. Be respectful of people’s sensitivities; please no perfume – especially in the hot yoga room.
Select clothing based on what type of yoga you’ll be doing, the temperature of the room, and what will be most comfortable for the duration of class. Avoid clothing that is too baggy and loose (which can get in your way during certain poses) as well as clothing that is too tight or revealing—no one wants to witness a “wardrobe malfunction” during class!
When walking around the studio never walk on someone else's mat. When doing Partner Yoga always check that it is ok with your buddy to stand or sit on their mat. It is best to acquire your own mat as it will gradually build and hold your yogic energy. Borrowed mats should always have a towel placed on top and wiped down at the end of class with a cleanser.
Before class starts be quiet and focus inward as you arrive and set-up. The few minutes before class are ideal for a short meditation and for setting an intention so refraining from chit-chat is not just good etiquette but also really beneficial for your state of mind.
Turn off your phones and pagers before class. Exit the world of constant communication which we all love and step into your mat fully liberated. Remember that others have done the same and interrupting the yoga zone with a ringtone (any ringtone!) is rather unforgiving, regardless of the calm reaction you may receive.
Savasana is a delicious period of relaxation at the end of each yoga class. If you roll up your mat and dash out the door during this quiet time, you’re not only annoying your fellow students, you’re missing out on what is arguably the most essential part of the practice. Forget about the to-do list that awaits you after class, and allow yourself to really sink in to this incredibly restoring pose. Breathe and remind yourself this is why you’re here. You’ll be glad you did!