Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Yoga Class Etiquette

So, you're attending your first yoga class or have been going for awhile and are just not sure of the "norms" of a class.  Today we will learn about what to do and what not to do while attending a yoga class.  Of course, teachers and other students remember what if feels like to be new, so don't fret if you have done any of the below "no-no's.  This list is not meant to dissuade you with "rules", rather to help you to feel comfortable when trying out a new class.

While talking quietly before and after a class are perfectly acceptable, be sure not to interfere with students who are attempting to center themselves prior to their practice.  Even though it may seem unworthy of mention, the use of cell phones during class (either calls or texting) is not appreciated by the class or teacher.  Cell phones should be quieted and if you must have them, put them on vibrate while the class is going on.

The use of colognes and perfumes can sometimes interfere with a class, as some students may have allergies and it may affect the air quality in the room and the breathing of students.  Keep lotions, oils and other "smelly stuff" out of the studio.

Most studios have mats for rent or to borrow.  I always suggest to students who have not yet purchased a mat to come and try out a class.   If they believe they will continue to come to class, then purchase a mat.  Mats can cost anywhere from $15.00 to $150.00.   If you are new to yoga, I suggest purchasing a good sticky surfaced mat that is suitable for carrying to classes.  Any target or Wal Mart mat will do for beginners.  Of course, if you are borrowing a studio mat, be sure to clean the mat with supplied cleaners at the studio.  Being  the clean freak that I am, I would also suggest cleaning a mat before use as well, as some students may not be as conscientious as you are about cleaning.  Also, when moving about the yoga room, try not to step on other people's mats.   It is similar to "getting in other people's space".

Although it is fine to take a break during class to regroup or to slow your practice down from the rest of the class, if needed, it is not acceptable to do your own practice while the teacher is teaching.  It is thought to be disrespectful to the teacher and distracting to the students.

Now you are all ready for your class... but what do you wear?  Any loose fitting clothing is appropriate.  However, if you are wearing loose fitting shorts beware that your "girl" or "boy" parts may show to the rest of the class in some postures if they are not form fitting enough.  Yoga students practice bare foot as this helps with the connection to the mat and helps them to feel grounded and supported by the floor beneath them.  I have taught many classes with students who are sensitive about being bare foot.  I am always concerned for their safety, as it is easy to slip on a mat without the skin/mat connection.

One last recommendation, try to come to class 15 minutes prior to the start of class.  Take a few minutes to stretch, breathe and prepare for the class mentally.  It will benefit your practice if you are not rushing prior to the class.  Typically the end of a class is spent lying on your mat in a relaxation pose.  It is distracting for students to leave during this time, so plan your time accordingly.

Yoga classes are extremely beneficial and the information I shared with you today comes from questions I have been asked by students.  I love to teach yoga and I love to see new students come through the door.  I also want students to feel comfortable and confident in a class.  Always be sure to ask your yoga teacher if you have any questions about a class.  Also, feel free to leave a comment below and I will answer your questions here.

In Gratitude,    Suzanne

Peace in your community; peace in your home and peace in your heart.

Suzanne Nicklas, RN, E-RYT, HHC, is owner of Shanti Yoga Studio in Troy, NY and is a Registered Nurse, Registered Yoga Teacher and Holistic Health Coach.  She holds workshops on wellness and stress management and also offers corporate classes and workshops.  You may contact her at suzannenick4@hotmail.com or visit www.shantiyoga.ws. or for Health Coaching through Pink Lotus Wellness, visit www.suzannenicklas.com


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. wonderful piece of information, I had come to know about your blog from my friend Nikita , Hyderabad, I have read at least 7 posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your website gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that I had been looking for, I'm already your RSS reader now and I would regularly watch out for the new posts, once again hats off to you! Thanks a ton once again, Regards, anahata yoga zone

  3. What a nice article. I found much great information. Thanks for sharing your experience and keep posting.back pain and neck pain