The way students practice yoga should reflect their own beliefs and goals, unless, of course, it’s at the expense of the rest of the class. Whether they want to feel healthier or stronger, to be more present, or to reduce stress levels, there are still many factors that can negatively affect a yoga class. Those include unpleasant odors, an invasion of personal space, and those life-of-the-party people who just won’t stop talking. I mean, yoga class should be that place to escape and forget about the annoyances that we face on a daily basis. Am I right? Well, not to worry. Below are helpful tips on yoga etiquette that you can pass along to your students when they enter your studio:
Be aware of space
As you walk into class and get settled, notice where you place your mat. One way to practice good etiquette is not sitting directly in front of someone while keeping your mat evenly spaced from other students. Also—make sure to keep your props, shoes, and socks close to your mat or in a cubby inside the room (if there are any). We understand that we love to feel snug at one time or another, but we can avoid overlapping mats by practicing that cozy act elsewhere. After all, you wouldn’t want anyone getting in your way of achieving certain poses like the Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend, Wide-Legged Forward Bend, and Spinal Bend Pose, right?
Be aware of the air
As important as it is to be aware of space, it’s also important to be aware of the air that other students are breathing in. By that, we mean not coming to class smelling like powerful perfume or cologne, especially in a small yoga studio. (That can be as offensive as body odor.) Beyond fragrant smells, if you’ve ever rolled a wet mat with a towel, or leave wet yoga clothes in a bag without taking them out until your next class, it’ll probably leave the air around you with a strong, moldy odor. (Don’t do that, either!)
Keep personal conversations at bay
We’re not saying that a majority of students strike up conversations that last the whole 60 minutes, but there may be a few socialists who make friends with their neighbors and ask more than enough questions. Basically: Try not to start a conversation with the person next to you. Once you enter the room, it’s then that students and instructors are encouraged to turn inward and become centered. If you think about it, one of the main benefits from practicing yoga is the ability to experience quietness and stillness. Yoga takes us away from the loud, challenging, hectic, and busy world outside the studio. Enjoy it and let others around you do the same!
Respect the instructor
To be more specific, students are usually asked to turn around before the final Shavasana pose so that their heads are pointing toward the instructor with their feet facing away. That is considered a sign of respect toward the instructor. Moreover, Centered Yoga, a leader in yoga teacher training in Thailand, says, “The front of the room is usually where the altar space is in a temple or a yoga shala. Out of respect for what that represents you would want to turn your feet away from the altar space.”
And as far as the overall atmosphere of the class, New York-based yogi Heidi Kristoffer tells Shape magazine, “The shrill ring of cell phones, running commentary with your friends, and intense grunting can be distracting to your fellow classmates, so try to keep any excess noise to a minimum.” So, there you have it—just a few steps to practice good yoga etiquette that will help you and your students get through class with nothing but peace and tranquility. If you have any tips that you give students for your own class, please share them with us in the comment section below!
Allison Barfield is a content writer for Span Enterprises and has been writing since she first learned to hold a pencil, shortly after birth. After graduating from the University of South Carolina in 2013 with a B.A. in media arts she fell in love with marketing. She's been copy writing and managing multiple blogs ever since.