Joining a new studio can bring amazing benefits to individuals looking to develop growth in their yoga journey. Being an active part of a yoga community is both beneficial to one’s practice and fun! As with any group activity, there are a few unwritten rules when it comes to behaviors and expectations. If you’re new to a studio or if you have fallen into a very comfortable place with your long-lasting yoga group, here are a few friendly reminders of proper etiquette that will keep you in high regards by your fellow classmates:
Be Respectful of Space
There’s nothing worse than having your mat set up and ready to go when another yogi rushes in and sets his/her mat in a way that cramps your style. If there is plenty of room in the studio, spread out a bit and set your mat with a healthy distance from your peers. Also, be aware of the instructor’s line of sight. Notice where the instructor will be positioned before the class begins so that you do not set your mat in a place that may block someone’s view. Studio spaces can often become crowded, and the open slots are far and few in between; it’s okay, don’t worry! Simply squeeze in where you can and politely ask your neighbors if they feel comfortable before the class begins.
Be Respectful of Emotional Boundaries
Many people regard membership with a studio as a way to increase social bonds and build friendships. This is great. However, remember that this is not the primary goal of many studio-goers. Be friendly and open to getting to know your fellow yogis, but do not pressure anyone to be chatty with you. For those individuals who seem to be shy or not interested in developing deeper relationships, a friendly hello and smile will suffice.
Don’t Be Late
Meditation can be easily disrupted by someone straggling in late and making noise setting up his/her mat and grabbing props. Be sure to allow enough time for yourself to arrive to class early, use the restroom and set up your mat and props with extra time to spare. When the class begins, ultimate focus and relaxation should begin, too.
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Yoga asks us to open up to our deepest vulnerabilities and face them. While the class is in session, yogis are in the process of uniting their bodies, minds, and spirits, which often means very different things to different people. If you are unsure of a pose or get lost during a flow sequence, it is okay to glance at those around you. However, do not stare at others. Even if you are internally admiring another person’s pose, they may think you are critiquing them and become unsure of themselves. Also, you should be focused on your own practice anyways. To play it safe, consult the instructor if you are unsure of a pose, and keep your mind free of anyone else’s practice.
With a kind and respectful approach, you will quickly become a positive member of any studio.