Even though as a yoga teacher I am here to help you in class, there are plenty of things that YOU as a student can help me with. No, I’m not asking you to sweep up after your fellow sweaty students, or to spot someone’s handstand, these are just some yoga etiquette tips that will help your teacher, and fellow students feel a little more comfortable.
*Note: I’m sorry if this sounds a little like a rant . . . but that’s kind of because it was. I know that yoga is supposed to be all “go with the flow” and I try to emulate that the best I can. However, I also believe in manners, etiquette, and just being a cool person and not being a jerk.
- Arrive on time. I’m not asking you come fifteen minutes early and I don’t mind if once in a blue moon you run into traffic or accidentally sleep in and come in late, but there are some people who have made it a habit to arrive ten to fifteen minutes late to a class. The slap of a mat being laid down and the jingle of keys as they’re put into a cubby can really harsh someone’s vibe and put the teacher off-track. Being on time also helps you as you practice because then you won’t feel like you’re rushing. I’ve also known some people to push themselves too far when they come in late because they feel like they have to catch up where everyone else is in the class when everyone else has been warming up for 15 minutes. I don’t want you to hurt yourself and I want you to be in the best mindset you can be, so please come in on time. If you ARE late, come on in, but please be as quiet as possible.
- Do not leave during savasana. Hey, I totally understand that you’re busy and you got places to be, however, similar to being punctual to class, listening to people rolling up their mats, jingling their keys, and slamming doors can really bring you out of the moment. As a teacher, my job is to get people to a great savasana. I need to bring people to a space where they can truly relax and meditate and it can get a little frustrating when someone makes a big to-do about leaving. The solution to this is to leave during other closing poses. Some teachers, myself included, often have a little routine for “cooling down” and you can usually tell when we’re about to put you into savasana. I even allow for people to get more comfortable before they settle into savasana. This is the perfect time to leave if you need to.
- When going into an inversion, don’t expect me to do all the work for you. I’ve had many a student ask me to spot them in an inversion (headstand, pincha, headstand, etc.) and they expect me to pull their entire body up from the ground as opposed to help them hold the stance. I’ll bring you up some of the way and support your weight while you figure some stuff out, but I while I am strong, it will hurt me, and you, if I try to drag your legs from the ground up. Kicking wildly at that same level doesn’t really help. A big part of yoga is building the strength and technique to do things yourself. Before I can effectively spot you, you need to learn how to bring your hips over your shoulders and have the core control to at least get yourself upside down. I know it’s scary and you really want me to just put you in the position, but I can’t. I plan to do a separate post about the best way to get into an inversion and how to build the strength for them. Stay tuned.
- When I give you advice on how to more effectively execute a pose, don’t give me a dirty look. I’m here to help you. Sometimes you might be doing something that will do more harm than good. Please trust me.
- On that same note, if you have an injury, PLEASE TELL ME! If your elbow is acting up, come tell me before class so I know to avoid doing too many chaturangas. If you have a knee injury, let me know so I don’t try to correct you and I can give you some tips on how to still get the same stretch as everyone else without hurting yourself. I can’t help you if you won’t let me.
I love teaching, I love my students, I love yoga. I just want it to be respected and for everyone who attends my classes (and anyone who attends yoga classes anywhere else) to feel comfortable, calm, and like they are getting the most out of their session.
So, the next time you’re getting ready for a class, keep these things in mind. Leave your home a little earlier, try to be as quiet as possible, and make sure you’re having a good time.
Thank you for sharing your energy with me today.