Whilst yoga encourages a mindful practice without strict adherence to rules and standards, there can be some principles of yoga etiquette which, if we follow them, can allow us to benefit even further from our time on the mat. In addition, as many of us practice in a group environment, the way we approach each class can also have an impact on those around us, and vice versa, which means that in respecting the following principles we can ensure that everyone in the room experiences a meaningful and focussed yoga session.
Wear something which doesn’t restrict your movement – some people prefer yoga-wear, many choose lycra garments made for general sports activities, some may prefer loose fitting jogging bottoms and a t-shirt. For your feet, however, it is best to be barefoot, as this allows us to grip and balance safely and to ground ourselves to the earth. If you do feel the cold, wearing socks at the beginning and end during the breathing exercises is of course fine. Some yoga wear companies also make yoga socks which allow you to keep warm and move through your practice in safety.
Bring water if you feel you need it – whilst our yoga classes do not normally require constant hydration in a way a gym session might, not all of our venues have access to drinking water, so if you do feel the need to sip water during your practice, please bring your own bottle with you.
Please turn off all electronics – this is your time to step away from stresses and strains, or thoughts of others, and focus on your wellbeing, and this is hard to do so with added distractions from phones and alarms.
Sign in – for health and safety reasons I must have a log of who is attending so that in case of an emergency (not that we expect there to be one!) we can keep account of everyone and ensure everyone is safe. In addition, payment for many of your yoga classes are received via an honesty system; this allows me more time to both prepare the room and attend to your individual concerns and needs before we start
Be quiet and focus inward as you arrive and set up – From the moment you enter I would encourage you to step into your yoga practice both mentally and physically. This may take a moment to calm, and to focus your mind. I value the fact that for many of you, your yoga class is a wonderful opportunity to see your friends and catch up, however, to enable us to fully embrace our own personal practice, it can be helpful to leave these conversations until you are away from the class.
Stagger your mats – As our classes can get busy from time to time, it may be useful to stagger the mats so that our arms and legs do not catch one another’s as we practice, as below:
Leave your personal belongings out of the way – Please endeavour to leave your things on the window sills, tucked away under tables and chairs, on top of tables and chairs but avoiding the floor space. This will allow us to use the floor without limitations, and can be particularly useful when we have a busy class.
Please refrain from wearing lotion on your hands and feet – Lotions can leave a residue on the hands that can both limit our ability to grip the mats and floor, but can also transfer onto other surfaces, leaving the area slippy and / or greasy for others.
Please refrain from wearing strong perfumes and cologne – Breathing deeply is an important part of our yoga practice, and thus strong odours, no matter how much you enjoy them, may not be so easily enjoyed by others when we’re in such close proximity. Indeed it can cause sneezing and restrict breathing for those who have more sensitive airways. Please save your wonderful scents for outside the class.
Respect your fellow yogis’ space – Please try to avoid walking on other people’s mats by walking round them instead. This allows others to identify their own, protected, safe and secure space for yoga, where they can be alone, and focussed on their practice.
Please wipe down mats with organic spray using the towels provided – if you do not have your own mat then please do use one of the mats provided, but please do help us keep the space clean and hygienic for others who may use the mat after you, by cleaning them after each class.
Mats and props should be put away neatly – this allows me more time to spend talking to you after class but more importantly it means we can keep a safe and accessible space for all of us.
Be silent after class and allow the yoga practice to resonate with you – You have invested time and money in attending a yoga class which serves to ground your mind and body in the present and in stillness. By taking time to allow your mind ‘sit with’ this experience for a little longer you can extend the benefit you reap from the class into the rest of your day and beyond.
Thank you for your time in reading this guide.
So many people tell me how rewarding they find our yoga classes, and by respecting some of these principles we may be able to ensure that the experience is even better for everyone.