Nobody likes rules. If you give me a rule, I feel bound to follow it, even if I don’t want to. I have one of those personalities — I call it “compulsive rule following.” There’s probably some neurosis somewhere, maybe named after me.
In spite of — or maybe because of — my little neurosis involving rules, I decided that when I started Yoga Bindi, I wouldn’t create a bunch of rules for people to follow. Of course, you know how that sort of thing works. If you decide you’re definitely NOT going to do something, it doesn’t take long to start doing just that.
Because etiquette is kind-of a set of rules, isn’t it? And here I am, posting about yoga etiquette. I’ve struggled with posting this, and have started and stopped this post several times since November.
Since many of you may be new to yoga, or maybe just to Bindi, the list below might be of help to you. If you’ve already been practicing here or at a different studio, you’re probably used to yoga etiquette, and most of what’s listed will not be anything new — so we can call this “continuing education.”
Yoga Etiquette Practices at Yoga Bindi
- For spiritual and sanitary reasons, we don’t take shoes onto the practice floors. It’s our practice to remove our shoes upon entering the studio and place them in a cubby.
- We try to refrain from stepping on other people’s mats without express permission.
- We’re all about focusing our minds in our classes. For that reason, we silence our phones or leave them in the car or, if they’re on vibrate, we try to ensure they’re on a soft surface so the vibration is muted. Please note: We have one exception, a medical professional, who is on call during some classes and is required to answer her phone. Also, if a phone does ring because we forgot to silence it, we don’t get mad. We come from a place of love and understanding!
- We don’t leave before class is finished (unless this has been set up in advance with the teacher, and the class is expecting it). During final relaxation (savasana), everyone (even those who struggle with it) stays as quiet as possible so others can get the full experience.
- We know it’s our responsibility to tell the instructor about any physical (or other) issues that need to be taken into account (including pregnancy).
- Our kids deserve our attention when they’re with us. So we don’t bring our children with the intention of having them wait in the front room. Kids who are mature enough to participate are welcome (even encouraged!) to attend classes with us, but we can’t have them in the studio unattended. Kids’ classes are coming!
- When we attend a class, we’re always prepared to participate. This doesn’t mean we expect everyone to be able to execute each and every pose, but “auditing” classes can make other students feel self-conscious. If at any time we need a break, or if a pose doesn’t work for us, we know we are welcome to take child pose or sit in silent meditation.
- If we borrow or rent a mat, we clean it using the supplies on the metal tub in the front room. We sometimes leave mats out on the practice floor to dry after they’ve been cleaned, and that’s okay.
- We strive to be courteous to other practitioners. Each person comes to the mat with a unique set of experiences and intentions. Every step in the process is to be celebrated.
- We will feel better if we don’t eat an hour or two before class. This is especially true of vinyasa classes.
- Everyone is welcome to tea in the front room (but probably not before vinyasa). If we’d like, we can bring a favorite tea to share, or to donate to the “tea piggy” (not required).
- If we’re running late for class, we make sure we’re signed in on the website or app. We’ll quietly enter class and take the spot saved for us — especially if we’ve let the teacher know in advance.
- If we signed up for a class and find we can’t make it, we make every effort to cancel using the website or app. We may be charged if we cancel late.
- Using the website or Mindbody Connect app is a great way to let the teacher know we’ll be in attendance. It helps the teacher to know how to set up a class, how many to expect, etc. We have a pretty small (cozy!) space, so using the space wisely is important.
Most importantly, we have fun! We’re practicing yoga! What an amazing gift this is. Don’t worry if you look over and see that someone else is doing something you’re not yet ready for. Yoga is a practice by and for YOU. No competition, no judgment.
This list is pretty long, and if you’ve read all the way to the end, you really are a dedicated yogi! Give yourself a pat on the back! (And go ahead and take a stretch while you’re there. Now the other side.).
If you have any questions, or if there’s anything you think I should add to this list, please feel free to email me at email@example.com.