The ancient tradition that is yoga comes with an expected level of etiquette for all practitioners (sometimes known as yoginis), whether they are at their first session or have been practicing for many years. Etiquette is the often unwritten code of conduct expected within a particular setting, and though it is normally subtle, you will be received much more favourably if you follow the expected behaviour. The points here can be applied to much of life, not simply yoga classes.
Firstly, it is important to be punctual. Get into the habit of allowing a few extra minutes for your journey, in case the traffic causes delays. A latecomer entering the room is disruptive to the rest of the class.
Also, when you arrive, even if the class has not yet begun, it is polite to keep the noise to a minimum. Don’t be afraid to greet people, but place your bags down gently rather than throwing them, and then follow the lead of the other yoga practitioners; this will probably involve relaxing quietly until everyone is ready to begin.
Personal hygiene is important in any exercise class, but particularly so in yoga, since rooms are often crowded and you may be closer to your fellow yoginis than you would like to be. Shower before the class, use deodorant and make sure your clothes, mat and towel are all clean.
However, perfumes and aftershaves should be avoided as these will often smell very strong within the confined space in which you will be practising. It is also good practice to remove your shoes before you enter the room; most yoga studios will have a designated area to store them, and as everyone has bare feet for yoga sessions, removing shoes at the door helps to keep the floors clean. After the session has finished, wiping away any sweat you may have left on the floor is also courteous.
One simple, but often forgotten, task before beginning a class such as yoga is to turn off all phones and other electronic devices. These devices are found everywhere in modern life, but can be extremely distracting, particularly during a yoga session, which is focused on achieving calmness. This is a very quick task that should be done before you set up your mat at the beginning of the session, and helps to maintain the atmosphere in the room.
The majority of the etiquette expected in yoga is general courtesy that is not difficult and centres on respect towards your fellow practitioners and the instructor. Being polite is the most important aspect of yoga etiquette.
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