Yoga is great exercise, but when you’re in a yoga studio, typical gym rules do not apply. This is not just a workout – but also a spiritual and meditative practice, and one that takes place in small, warm rooms that can get crowded, sweaty and even emotional.
Leave electronics at home
Chatting on a cell, texting, checking your messages – none of this is acceptable yogic behavior. Ideally, leave your phone in a locker, if the studio has one. If you must bring it into the room, put it on silent and out of sight. After class, only pull your gadget out and check your messages after you’ve left the room.
Do not bring a pile of personal belongings into class. Use the lockers or leave non-valuables in the changeroom. Stuff beyond a bottle of water and a clutters the room. Cornell, who regularly does hot yoga, finds backpacks and large purses really distract her.
Yoga studios are not gyms. You need to take your shoes off in the lobby, never bringing them into the room, and certainly never wearing them while on your mat. “It’s dirty,” says Boons. Similarly, it’s considered very rude to step on someone else’s mat, even in bare feet. It’s a cleanliness and respect issue.
Be on time
Yogacara staff actually lock the room once class begins. Not all studios take such a precaution, but walking in late disrupts the class, particularly when the instructors begins with a quiet meditation. Aim to get into the room five-to-10 minutes before class starts as it gives you a chance to set up your mat and props and wind down a little.
Don’t leave early
Zipping out the door while others are in Savasana (corpse pose, which you do at the end) also interrupts the class. Sometimes you can’t avoid having to rush out for an early work meeting or tag-teaming with the spouse to deal with kids. Ideally, leave yourself enough time and don’t book things after class, but if you have no choice, tell the teacher in advance (it’s a bit insulting to them to leave with no explanation).