As with any group activity there are manners and etiquette involved with yoga. Earlier today I attended a yoga class at a local gym in Warrington. For me this provides a lovely opportunity to switch off and let somebody else think for me! With no distractions, no worries about anything but my practice. Much as I enjoy my home practice, it has it’s limitations. I will tend toward either following my personal practice and developing in a particular direction or I will allow my body to direct what I do. This often means that I will neglect my least favourite asana (postures) or the opposite; that I will focus purely on those areas that I need to work on to the exclusion of the asana I can really explore deeply on a physical level.
Attending other teachers’ yoga classes has it’s own dilemma. Those teachers with whom I am friends often attend my classes and I theirs. This is great and allows us to enjoy a practice with the knowledge that the teacher knows of our limitations and often results in interesting conversations post class, exploring ideas and themes. However when attending another teachers’ class should you introduce yourself? Especially if it is a local yoga class in Cheshire, or is it acceptable to remain incognito and just focus on your practice? Is it good manners to introduce yourself as a fellow teacher or will they be self conscious if you do so. I will admit to initially feeling nervousness about teaching other yoga teachers, although once I start teaching the class finds a natural flow and I quickly forget.
This led me to thinking about the yoga class manners that we learn as we attend more classes and develop our practice. Like most social situations we are often left to determine them for ourselves so I have tried to think of a few…please contribute your own..
- please be on time, or if possible arrive early. If this isn’t possible please enter quietly and don’t disturb other students
- notify the teacher prior to class with any injuries or concerns
- turn off mobile phones- vibrating phones left on silent are just as annoying for other students! If there is a reason to leave the phone on then please let the teacher know.
- please don’t walk across other people’s mats
- please remove shoes during practice
- respect other people’s space
- ask questions if you don’t understand something. There are probably other students who will appreciate your doing so too.
- cleanliness- please bring a towel if you are prone to sweating, especially of using communal mats.
- please wear appropriate clothing that is modest & comfortable.
- our bodies do sometimes make noises or release gas during class, please accept that sometimes this happens & next time it could be you so please don’t laugh or draw attention to it.
- Enjoy the quiet, respect other people’s practice & observe silence during savasana (relaxation).
These may appear obvious, but they allow us all to enjoy, what is a very individual practice in the company of others. A well mannered student is a joy in class, whereas a badly mannered student can spoil it for everybody so please just treat others as well as you would like to be treated!