Author’s note: this article is for gags just as much as it is for educational purposes on etiquette inside the yoga studio and around your fellow yogis. Don’t take any of this personally, and don’t panic if you are a regular practitioner of these “in-class yogi-code violations.” Your yogi-clan loves you despite your quirky habits.
Ever been to a yoga class, unrolled your mat, had a seat, and then instantly regretted it because to your right sits the super-spiritual-guru-social-media-banter-queen?
(Let’s call this type “Olga.”)
He or she is the one who has to do tantric breathing before the start of every single class to “balance their chakras.”
It probably doesn’t feel very yogic of you to have murderous thoughts about Olga when the whole class is in pigeon, and she’s trying to capture the perfect angle of her mermaid pose for her “Instagram-bubbies.”
Some days, we practice next to an Olga; some days, we are an Olga.
This article is designed to help you have a smooth, sattvic relationship with your yogi clan and, well, not get murdered by your yoga mat neighbor on a fine retrograde day. (You’re welcome.)
Here is a list of things some yogis do that piss their fellow “zen-yogis” the f*ck off. They are kind of, sort of, disrespectful to the completely made up (but necessary) yoga class etiquette.
Please stop doing this:
1. Don’t step on others’ mats.
Walk around the mat. It’s super unhygienically-disturbing for someone else’s feet to be on your own mat (it borders on psychological torture for me). Your mat is literally where your face ends up in child’s pose. So, it would be pretty weird to have your face where some stranger’s feet were.
Please don’t step on other people’s mats because there is no nice way for yogis to tell you off when you do.
2. Stop the “Manspreading.”
Having your blocks, strap, cushion, bolster, water bottle, socks, mala, mat bag, and your warmer jacket lying around your mat area is just too much. Don’t walk into the studio with more than you need, and definitely don’t hoard props when you won’t be using them. Try to keep the space around your mat minimal or at least organized so that your mat neighbors don’t end up kicking your water bottle through their transition into koundinyasana.
3. You don’t need to be extra with your breathing.
While it is encouraged to let it all out on the mat, you should also be mindful of the rest of the room, really. Meditation is not the time to be letting out whale-like moans while stretching your neck. It feels good; we get it. But it’s challenging to focus if someone has been making breathing declarations for the whole hour of practice.
Be yourself, but also be mindfully considerate to others’ practice when you can.
4. Respect others’ pre and post-class silence.
While it would be so much easier for those savoring the silence after class to wear a “silence” tag, it is unfortunately not the usual case. With that being said, some yogis prefer to stay silent right before or after class—to better drop into that stillness. And while it is completely normal for others to be chatting at those times, it would much be appreciated by your fellow yogi if you keep the loud chatter until after you step out of the studio space.
5. Shower. OMG.
You do not become more-authentically-yogic the more your dreadlocks smell. Personal hygiene is not only appreciated by your fellow yogis during sweaty moments in class; it is part of the yogic life. Kriyās, anyone?
6. Please clean your rental mat after class.
That’s basically how you say “thank you” to the studio. Cleaning your mat after practice is not only respectable, but it also helps the studio maintain their mats and props.
Help a small business out, eh?
7. Ditch the damn phone.
This one is semi-optional cause we’re dealing with phone addictions (understandable). But at the least of it, turn the brightness down, turn the ringer off, and preferably keep it in airplane mode during savasana and meditation. Just generally, try to avoid your phone becoming a distraction for others.
(Especially the instructor who will passive-aggressively glare at you.)
8. Shh! Just shh.
You know how you think your mat-to-mat gossip is not heard because you and your mate are whispering? Yeah, no. Whisper quieter.
We can all hear you because we’re super attuned to our ninja senses. Or better yet, don’t whisper at all? Be present instead?
Am I passive-aggressively shaming you? (You’ll never know.)
9. Don’t ever adjust another student without their consent.
This is a big no-no. Students are here to be taught by the instructor, not a fellow yogi, no matter how experienced. Leave the teaching for the teacher. You don’t automatically have anyone’s consent to physically adjust them. If you see someone moving in a susceptible way, you can respectfully let them know or draw the instructor’s attention to them, but it is never your place to adjust someone when you’re not the person they’ve come to for the class.
10. Kindly bring your ninja skills with you.
It is always best to make it to class 5-10 minutes early to set up your mat without disturbing others’ practice. However, if you arrive after the class has already started, just walk in and unroll your mat like a ninja—quietly as ever. And if you decide to skip savasana and walk out of class early, roll your mat up and walk out like a ninja. Ninjas don’t disrupt the flow of class; ninjas are highly appreciated.
11. I don’t know if I even need to mention this…
Don’t be fooled by the overall zen-feel of everyone. If you’re here prowling for booty—male, female, or other—you will be karate-kicked out.