Seriously. Be Quiet Before Class. (Some Advice for New Yogis from a New Yogi) ~ Neilson Spencer

Via Neilson Spencer
on Oct 25, 2013
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I admit that I’m a new yogi, but I’ve been doing my best to assimilate myself into yoga culture.

One thing that I’ve been continuously noticing—in intro to power yoga and intro to heated power yoga classes (I attend classes at CorePower Yoga in Costa Mesa, CA, so I’m used to their verbiage)—is that newer yogis will talk and then keep on talking, while finding a spot to toss their mat down.

While the talking is a bit intrusive—bit being a polite understatement—I don’t put the blame on them solely.

They’re just not educated in yoga etiquette and how class works.

I don’t mean to be a jerk, it’s just something I’ve noticed.

My goal is to try and help educate people on yoga etiquette so that they can get the most out of class—and ultimately—their practice.

In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, yoga is defined as ‘the stilling of the changing states of the mind.’ This is directly related to focusing on being quiet before class begins, so that you can begin to still your mind and fully immerse yourself in the practice.

It took me a few weeks of really paying attention to figure out what the quiet time before class was all about.

At first, I would show up early so that I was never late and did not run the risk of not being able to attend class at the time that worked for me. Because I was early, I would notice how the more experienced yogis would enter the room and prepare for class:

Veteran yogis walk into the room, get situated and then either start to slowly warm up their body with a series of simple poses, surrender down into child’s pose or lay back with one hand over the chest and the other over their abdomen.

The studio is supposed to be quiet in the 20 minutes before class starts so that you can prepare yourself mentally and physically.

We all lead different and varied lives. Much like our own practice, how we prepare for class changes each time we step onto our mat. Sometimes—especially when I’m on day five or six straight—I know that my body needs a good long child’s pose to open the hips and get a jump start on loosening up.

The best thing about yoga is that you can make the practice your own and getting ready for class is something that’s very important in every yogi’s journey.

Some of us might create a routine that we stick to before each class, completing a series of linked mental and physical exercises.

Some will just lay back on the mat and chill.

While others might be doing inversions.

The sooner you embrace the practices of yoga—including quiet time before class—the better your time in the studio will be.


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Assist Ed: Sanja Cloete-Jones/Ed: Sara Crolick


About Neilson Spencer

@Adventurspencer / yogi @CorePowerYoga / Founder  (coming soon…) / illustrator writer @thevisualnews


4 Responses to “Seriously. Be Quiet Before Class. (Some Advice for New Yogis from a New Yogi) ~ Neilson Spencer”

  1. tanya says:

    this does not work in gyms..stduios, yes, gyms, no…xoxo

  2. Hmmm…is that a policy of where you practice to have 20 mins of quiet time before class begins? I have to admit I've taught at several different gyms and studios and have never personally experienced a policy like this—and I'm glad.
    As a practitioner (also of "power" yoga in a heated setting) and as an instructor, I find the energy of students chatting and engaging before class to add a positive dynamic to the class that lingers after the quiet has settled and we take our entrances into our practices.
    There's an energy that permeates when you bring this many people together and I find that we're often collectively holding a similar space. For example, often the class comes in and simply is quiet and others people are talkative and lively—and I don't agree with you that the latter is a bad thing. Just a thought, my favorite studio has a beautiful sounding bell that is chimed when the teacher wants to calm and still the class—and their talking.

    You said you're a new yogi and you might find that as your practice matures that part of what's fascinating is you're able to tune out the dialogue surrounding you to better listen within—without getting irritated and demanding everyone follow your suit. (As someone with ADHD this type of attitude, rather than one of annoyance, has served me well in life off of my mat.)

  3. befunknote says:

    20 minutes of quiet before class? I've never heard of such a thing. Even my teacher will chat with us a bit before class starts. Clearing your mind is what the Savasana at the beginning of class is for (unless other styles of yoga don't do this). If your teacher doesn't start class with Savasana then you could just lie in Savasana and use it as an opportunity to train yourself to ignore outside distractions.

  4. Joe Sparks says:

    It is nice to have a space where people have decided to be quiet. There is plenty of opportunity to talk after class or outside of the yoga space. Thanks, appreciate the article.