Yoga Etiquette

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Yoga classes have their own set of rules of Etiquette with a purpose of courtesy, respect and ease for everyone.  These rules are a combination of traditional Yoga Etiquette and modern expectations. Please observe these rules of etiquette while attending our Yoga class, workshop or retreat.

Your enjoyment of the Yoga experience is our service... please extend this enjoyment to others by considering these simple points of basic etiquette, manners and common sense.

Key points to consider:

Respect – for your Teacher, Yoga and the Yoga tradition of the Teacher and for your fellow student.

Time Management  don’t arrive late! Be respectful and considerate of others if you have to leave early.

Be Considerate at all times – of your Teacher and your fellow students.

Keep Social Chatter in the Class to a Minimum – always listen to your Teacher! Keep the space clear and quiet. It is not a cafe' - you are there to practice Yoga: Be considerate of others who are also there to practice their Yoga.

Pay Attention and Be Mindful of your Yoga Practice – Stay Present! Yoga IS Meditation - it is a Mindful, Meditative practice. It requires you to concentrate and be silent. Talk and chatter that is not connected with yoga or directed through your Teacher is just unnecessary NOISE and is detrimental to the practice!

LATE ARRIVAL  –Aim to arrive at class with enough time to sign in, pay, set up your mat and relax for a few moments before the class begins.  The class starting time should not be your arrival time and it is disruptive to the teacher and your fellow participants to arrive late.  Do not cause a disruption by arriving late.

Arrival to classes and courses must be at least 10-minutes prior to the advertised start time. Preferably arrive 15-minutes before, so that you can get settled and begin your relaxation and meditation, so that you do not disturb others in the class if you arrive late.

Please do not cause yourself and others stress by arriving late. Respect your teacher, the tradition of Yoga and your fellow students by being considerate and arriving early.

QUIETEN DOWN TIME  As the class begins to settle down cease chatter and come into silence known as 'coming into grace'.  Unless elicited by the Teacher, audible sounds, moans and groans are not appropriate in class. Cease chatter with other people in the class. Bring your mind into the practice – leave your busy mind and chatter outside, with your shoes.

SHOES OFF PLEASE – We remove our shoes at the door.  Anything that is not actually needed for the class is not taken into the Yoga space.

MOBILE PHONES ‘OFF’ PLEASE – Phones should be turned onto silent or off before the class commences and left in your bag.  If there is an emergency situation you are waiting to hear about let the Teacher know before class and an arrangement can be made to take the call.

HYGIENE Be mindful of the air others’ breathe – To some people, perfume or cologne in a small yoga space can be equally as offensive as body odor or flatulence, so try not to douse yourself in scents when you know will be sweating in close proximity to others (and maybe rethink that bean burrito before class).

Out of respect for your fellow students it is best to have showered before class.  Keep perfumes/colognes to a minimum: preferably no perfume or cologne!  Bring a towel to place on borrowed studio mats.  Use the spray cleanser and wipe studio mats after use. Also keep in mind that if you roll up a wet mat with a towel or stuff your wet yoga clothes into a bag, they will all probably end up with a strong, moldy odor, especially if you leave them rolled up until your next practice.

INFORMATION – Inform your teacher of any injuries or medical issues you may have.  There is an onus in Yoga practice for participants to take self-responsibility for their own body and its limits.  Do not go into or stay in any pose that causes pain or discomfort.  Be aware of unfairly monopolising your Teacher's time to the exclusion of others.  Schedule a private session with your Teacher to fine tune the asanas to suit your particular condition.

MAT MATTERS  When walking around the studio never walk on someone else's mat.  When doing Partner Yoga always check that it is ok with your buddy to stand or sit on their mat.  It is best to acquire your own mat as it will gradually build and hold your yogic energy.  Borrowed mats should always have a towel placed on top and wiped down at the end of class with a cleanser.

MAKE ROOM PLEASE Respect others' space - Try to keep your mat evenly spaced from your fellow classmates—no one likes to feel like a sardine when it isn’t necessary! If you can, stagger your mat as well so that when you open your arms out to the side, you don’t hit a fellow yogi in the face. Also keep your props and anything you might have close to your own mat and, if possible, leave what you don't need for your practice in the cubbies. When setting up your mat consider that many others may need to share the space.  This may mean moving mats closer together. 

MEDITATION MATTERS – If you are the active type the last part of the class involving Relaxation and/or Meditation can be difficult.  However, leaving early at this time is discourteous and disruptive to your Teacher and your fellow participants.  Instead, turn your excess energy towards meetings the 'demands' of the relaxation process.  If you need to leave class early for an appointment let your Teacher know before class and he/she will advise when is the best time to leave. Also beware that when you arrive, others may be meditating or need quiet time before the Yoga practice begins. Respect others with silence!

MONEY MATTERS & PAYMENT – Yoga Teachers have a right to charge a fee for their services.  They have invested money and time to achieve their Certification.  They may be paying rent, insurance, utilities, equipment costs etc.  They are not Nuns or Priests who have undertaken a vow of poverty.  Their expertise and time has a value and they have a right to pursue making a living from their profession, as do other health and care professionals. 

Here are some points to be aware of:

*Always pay for your class at the beginning of class.  

*Do not argue over the cost of the class or attempt to negotiate a better deal for yourself.  

*Do not ask for credit.  

*Do not say, "Is it okay if I pay next week?" The answer is "NO!"

*Try to have as close to the correct class fee amount as possible.  Go to the ATM before you come to class.  If you have invested in a Class-pass ensure you have it with you or you may be expected to pay the Casual rate for your class. Please do not fill up the money box with small silver change! We do not accept coins smaller than a $1 coin (no silver!!!)

Make sure that coins and all money you leave in the pay box is legal Australian currency. Please show respect and courtesy to the teacher by not leaving currency that is not Australian legal tender.

BLOCKS are groups of classes that are offered over a period of time and are often at a discounted cost (e.g., 10-week block). These blocks are to be paid upfront, in total and on the day of the first class. If you miss a class, there is no refund, or extra class offered to make up for the lost day. Be sure you discuss and understand the block arrangement with your teacher.

"NAMASTE!” – This traditional greeting is offered at the beginning and end of the class.  It means 'The divine in me recognises the divine in you'. Touch your fingers to your lips with hands in prayer position and return the greeting.  Classes often end with the chanting of the mantra "Om".  This traditional Yogic mantra is regarded as the 'sound of creation'.  If you prefer to not chant "Om" you may stay silent, chant "amen" or "calm". Yoga is not a religion and does not dishonour any faith practice, but is able to be practiced by followers of all religions. It is a philosophy for living a healthy life...  it is a physical, mental and if you wish... a spiritual practice (not part of a religion)... it is inclusive of all other belief systems and philisophical schools of thought (knowledge/wisdom)! It can be practiced as complementary to your spiritual belief system.

Consider the overall atmosphere of the class  The shrill ring of cell phones, running commentary with your friends, and intense grunting can be distracting to your fellow classmates, so try to keep any excess noise to a minimum. While a loud exhale, excited squeal, or occasional giggle is completely normal (it happens to all of us), if you find yourself grunting through an entire class, perhaps have a look at how you are practicing, and see how it feels to approach your practice with the intent to move and breathe with ease. Forcing and pushing aren’t part of yoga—allowing is.

Additionally, if you are late for a class or need to leave early, try to be thoughtful and gracious about how you handle it. For example, if you are late for class and someone needs to move their mat to accommodate you, wait for a good time for them, not you. Enter the class and set up quietly! Do not cause a disruption. And do your best not to leave during savasana! This is the final relaxation period where everyone gets to soak in all of the incredible benefits from their yoga practice. If you do need to leave class early, inform your instructor when you plan on leaving so he or she can signal you before savasana. This way you can slip out quietly, and you can relax knowing you don't have to constantly check your phone and worry about the time during the class.

We hope you have found these rules of Yoga Etiquette helpful.  Your enjoyment of the Yoga experience is our service... please extend this enjoyment to others by considering these simple points of basic etiquette, manners and common sense.


Zen Yoga Wellness

“Ancient Healing Therapy for Modern Times!”  

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© Shanthi Bhavana 2016