Whether you are new to yoga, or a seasoned yogi who needs a reminder of etiquette, here are 10 class rules to live by:
1. Come Prepared.
Before you come into class, please don’t spend a ton of time in the lobby venting about your day, primping egotistically or copping an attitude because someone isn’t looking as eco-funky-hippie-cool as you.
If you feel the need to talk right before or during class—stop. This isn’t group therapy, it’s yoga. It’s not a Skype or Go-To-Meeting. It’s not a PTO session or a soccer game. It’s not a nightclub. It’s not even Wanderlust. It’s a freaking yoga class. Not “your” yoga class as you think of it, but everyone’s class. Be mindful of their chi and peace.
3. Be Humble.
As deep and zen as you think you are, this is not your soapbox to spread your intellect and insight about how spiritual, amazing, enlightened or pure you are. Just levitate your arse into class and get with the program.
4. Practice Non-Judgment.
During class, don’t look around and compare yourself. It’s easy to do that. I get it. I care about you, and trust me when I say that the person who looks flexible has been through their own trauma, trials, tribulations and recovery. You have not walked in their shoes. Let them be who they are without judging them. Focus on yourself. As the kids say “you be you, I’ll be me”.
5. Be Clean.
Hygiene matters. ‘Nuff said.
6. Be Mindful of Others.
At the end of class, don’t start exclaiming how great or not great it was. Don’t start talking to other people in the room. The end of class isn’t just the end of the asana practice. Many people enjoy keeping that yoga-buzz going for a while, studying some introspection or just basking in the awareness of their breath. Don’t f*** it up for them, or for yourself.
7. Know Your Studio, Environment, or Teacher.
Your teacher, studio or guru probably has some rules or policies. You may have even been given a paper to sign that you glazed over or didn’t quite digest and process because you were excited about this new endeavor. Either ask to see what the policies are, or contact the teacher via email to find out what to expect. Perhaps see if they can talk to you in person or via phone. Maybe a front desk person can help you out. When in yoga, do as the yogi’s.
8. If In a Group Class, Stay With the Group Flow.
There are a zillion yoga styles, philosophies and methods. It’s personal. Although you can always customize your practice, don’t disconnect from the class and start your own flow. It’s a pain in the asana for the teacher to have to keep an eye on people who are moving with the rhythm of their own drum circle, and makes the focus of safety harder for the teacher. Plus, it’s just rude. It’s like a one night stand on the yoga mat. If you don’t want to put your energy into the group energy, go it alone.
9. Be Open Minded.
There are a lot of methods and approaches in yoga. If your new teacher starts doing something different, don’t shout out, “That’s not the way I learned it!” We all have learned a lot of different styles, and we know that we all have variety on our side. Enjoy the differences. Be flexible in every way.
10. Honor Yourself.
I jest a lot here, but it’s all based on feedback from other teachers and students.
Honor your life, it’s a gift.
Honor your limits, they show you where you can grow or where you’ve had some misfortune in your life. That misfortune can be as minor as a bad day, or as severe as a life of trauma, but you are here now.
Whether you are on the mat, reading this thinking about taking your first class or maybe even you’ve been teaching and are struggling somewhere in your practice.
Here you are. Honor yourself.
That means get to your primal power— your root—and allow that tension or conflict to rise, dissipate and turn into a vitality that can be healing. That means don’t hate yourself. Don’t negate yourself.
Explore your limits, enjoy your abilities and see the light in yourself.
You are worth it.
The boundaries that could be given by your teacher are to honor you, not just to make life easier for them. New boundaries and new ideas are a part of growth; they help to increase your capabilities by helping you to go within, and within isn’t such a bad place when you get to loving yourself more.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Brandy Mansfield/Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photo: Jackie Aude M.