The Etiquette of Yoga Practitioners

Posted by on 6/24/10 in Uncategorized

Some days, being in yoga class is challenging. Your mind is busy (why do we need to think about work right now?), your body is tight, and there are so many things to get done after class.

But sometimes what throws you off balance is other people. Just as you're slipping into final relaxation, the person beside you begins rolling up their mat, noisily gathering their bags and banging the door on their way out. There goes your bliss.

The etiquette of yoga practitioners was covered last weekend on the New York Times City Blog this weekend. It's an entertaining reminder for everyone in class—and a timely one for Wanderlust seekers this summer.

Here are some points of basic etiquette from the reporter's interviews:

Watch how you enter and exit a class. If you're late, check yourself. Don't rush in anxiously and disturb everyone else. If there's no spot for you, sit and wait for the instructor to place you somewhere. There will be room for you.

Leaving early is not a great habit. It's not optimal for your nervous system (not enough cool down) or your fellow yogis (you're out of synch with the class and that alone will disturb people). But let's face it, sometimes you have to leave early. If you do, leave before savasana. On tip toes.

Dress appropriately.
You're not at the beach. You're not at a club. Scantily clad yogis can be very distracting for their classmates. Gentlemen, you need enough coverage to keep your stuff together. Ladies, make sure that built-in bra's going to hold. No short-shorts for anyone. Underwear is appreciated.

Check your inner renegade. Chanting louder than everyone is annoying. Keep your oms on track with the group. Also, doing different poses than the rest of the class—especially very advanced variations---can be irritating to fellow practitioners, although in my opinion, it depends on the class and on the teacher.

Practice sound control.
Cell phone off and stowed—far away from you so you're not tempted to obsess. No texting in class. (Seriously!) No singing along loudly to your favorite song. Your neighbor doesn't think it's cute.

Clean yourself. Everyone appreciates basic hygiene. Showers are key--every day. Fresh clothes and tooth-brushing also minimize the stink factor. And if you do have fungal feet (I mean, we're human) be mindful of your neighbor. Chances are she doesn't want them in her face as you come into plow pose.

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