This is a slightly humorous, yet quite serious list of things to think about when taking a yoga class. Some may seem ridiculous but trust me, I’ve seen it ALL. Also, I’m not trying to confine yoga to a set of rules or regulations but rather helping people be more aware of how to be more polite and respectful in the sacred space of a yoga studio. And for some comic relief, click the photo above to watch “Shit Yogis Say”- hilarious if you’ve ever hung out with a serious yoga practitioner for even five minutes.
Double and triple check that your phone is either off or on silent before class starts. There is nothing worse than someone’s phone ringing while you’re trying to meditate.
Spend time in quiet reflection and meditation before class. Yoga is about you and your evolution, not looking at what lululemon pants the person has on next to you. I suggest keeping your eyes closed to start the inward-facing process before the teacher tells you to.
Smile at your fellow classmates with warmth in your eyes. This usually happens naturally after class, a testament to the power of yoga to transform our relationships and the way we move through the world.
If you must, connect with others quietly before and after class.
Open your heart and mind to chanting, meditation and new things that may seem strange at first. These are often the most powerful and beautiful aspects of yoga.
Bow to the teacher and say “Namaste” at the end of class even if they didn’t say it or bow to you.
Let go of whatever pose the person next to you is in. Deeper or less advanced, your focus on what they’re doing and trying to match that or go beyond that is a trick your ego is playing on you. Simply observe your tendency to want to compete or compare, do what your body and breath are telling you and let go.
Walk softly through the room and open the door very gently and soundlessly as possible.
If you need to go to the bathroom, do so! Just be as quiet as possible when walking out of the room.
Thank the teacher after class, whether or not you “enjoyed” it. The teacher is sharing a part of their heart and SOUL with you, trust me, and this must be honored by every student.
Slam the door to the room! This is extremely disruptive.
Talk to your friend next to you during class. At all. Yoga is about turning inward, not talking. You probably already talk enough in your life. I know I do. When I see people doing this in my classes, I automatically understand that that person is probably uncomfortable and struggling and trying to find support outside themselves. If you don’t understand something or are really struggling, you can quietly talk to the teacher.
Talk loudly in the lobby when class is in session.
Yell to someone in the room from the lobby.
Slap your mat down on the floor before class.
Talk loudly in the room while you’re waiting for the teacher to arrive/get set up.
Go to get a six pack. Unless the class is called “six pack yoga” in which case we have another problem all together.
Stomp through the room before, during or after class.
Ask a question loudly in a Vinyasa flow class. A workshop is fine but in most other classes asking questions loudly enough for the whole class to hear is disruptive. You can always ask the teacher to clarify something after class or quietly during class, depending on the class size.
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Jenna Pacelli is a Holistic Health Coach and yoga teacher at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She coaches yoga practitioners and busy professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area and all over the world struggling with energy levels, stress reduction and weight management. With a focus on aligning their lives with their values, her clients create lasting change and fully embodied health and wellbeing.
Jenna believes that by creating health and wellness at the physical, emotional and mental levels, it is inevitable that joy and a deep understanding of one’s purpose follow.