Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Yoga Etiquette

Gearing up to teach a beginner/intro to yoga workshop next week. One aspect that we take for granted in practicing yoga is the unspoken "rules" or etiquette that yoga has. When I lived in Asia, we removed our shoes before entering some one's home, as a sign of respect for that space and the other person. We also observed silence in the yoga room before and following class, as many students would remain and meditate. Asanas (poses) were created for meditation, allowing the body sit more easily and the mind to quiet.

*Here are some ways to be more mindful when attending a yoga class.

1. Remove your shoes before entering the yoga studio and place them in the space provided outside the yoga room, leaving all your concerns outside the door with your shoes and other belongings.
2. Practice noble silence. Once inside, consider silence or conversation centered on yoga and related topics. All other talking should be quiet and limited to the waiting area outside the room, respecting those that are meditating, practicing or relaxing before or after class.
3. Turn off all wireless devices and do not bring your phone to your mat.
4. Allow extra time to be on time or early. If you arrive late and the class is already meditating or practicing pranayama (breathing techniques), wait outside until you begin to see movement. When you enter, enter quietly and do not unroll your mat until there is movement. (You'd be surprised how loud a mat sounds unrolling when the entire room is silent.)
5. Avoid strong scented lotions or perfume.
6. Honor your body with appropriate rest and consider refraining from practice when you are ill. And, honor your body during class by practicing ahimsa (non-harming) in all poses.
7. Practice with an empty stomach by snacking one hour prior and having heavier meals at least 2 hours prior. Drink plenty of water before and after practice. Water is welcome during heated classes.
8. Honor your space and other's as sacred by walking around the mats rather than on them and placing your belongings outside the room.
9. Stay until the end. The final pose is one of the most beneficial for your nervous system and overall relaxation. If you need to leave the room, please wait until there is movement. Try to practice near the door if you know you must leave before savasana (final relaxation). Please do not leave once relaxation has begun.
10. Clean your mat with cleaner provided after class, stack and return all equipment neatly. If you come regularly, consider purchasing your own mat.

*This was taken from various sources- thanks to Rachel and Stacha for compiling and letting me edit.

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