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Yoga Etiquette for Beginner Students


I can still remember my first time.  My friend brought me to a yoga studio almost two decades ago and I was not given any pointers on how to behave or act during the yoga class.

Here is a list of Top Things to keep in mind for beginner students.

Turn Your Cell Phone Off.

Where in your cell phone manual does it say that you have to be available to answer every call or text that comes in?  Isn’t that what voice-mail is for?  If it’s important they will leave a message.  Oh, this also means that you shouldn’t have it on vibrate.  When it is during a quiet part of the class then we can all hear the buzzing from your phone… equally annoying.

Don’t Come to Class All Stinky.

I realize you are probably going to sweat a bit.  Oh, if you don’t wear deodorant for ethical, environmental reasons please just stay at the other end of the class, preferably near the window.  The one exception to the stinky rule is if you are going to a Bikram class.  The room and everyone in it will pretty much smell like Ebola 90 seconds after entering.

Don’t Hog Mat Space.

You probably came with a gym  bag, purse, maybe a towel to shower in afterwards but you don’t need to set up a small refugee camp right near your mat.  The only thing you might need near your mat are keys, wallet, water and maybe a few yoga props such as blocks, a strap and a bolster.  You can leave your overnight bag outside the room.

Take Your Shoes Off

In most eastern and Asian countries, it is a sign of reverence and respect to take your shoes off when entering a home or temple.    You can also leave your shoes outside the room also.  Unless you are in an urban area where people from the street came easily come in you can probably leave your shoes outside as well.

Don’t Come Late

Traffic was terrible wasn’t it?  What do you think the rest of us did…. take a chopper to get here?   We all have to deal with traffic, parking or subways, buses trains etc.  If the weather is cranky then factor that in.  How annoying is it when you are starting to meditate or get in touch with your deep inner wisdom when you hear a loud sticky mat unrolling, keys dropping, velcro unfastening right next to you?   I know I supposed to feel all compassionate and enlightened during my practice but when an inconsiderate poo-head starts to be all noisy next to me then I just want to clock them in the face.

If You Come Late, Be Quiet

If you glossed over my rant before, then maybe you can read this one.  If you do come late because there was a Presidential event that shut down all the major roads and highways then wait until an appropriate moment to set up. Here are examples of inappropriate moments – When we are meditating, when we are ooohhming and when we are in a restorative pose.  If we are moving around with our eyes open then that is a good moment to set up.

Don’t Leave During Shivasana

The corollary to coming late is leaving early during the relaxation part of class. If you do have to leave early then  you should let the teacher know beforehand ( unless an injury came up) and leave during a more active part of the class.  Please don’t leave when we all are drifting deep into our third eye during Shavasana or Pranayama ( controlled breathing exercises.)

Don’t Fart in Class.

We realize you don’t do this on purpose so ways to avoid this are to not eat a heavy meal before class.  Avoid cheesecake, lasagne and a hot fudge sundae right before.  If  you are going to eat before a grilled chicken salad or a handful of almonds will help.  Some poses ( like when you are hugging your knees into your chest) tend to make this happen so go into these more mindfully to avoid blast-off.

Don’t Stare at Other Students

Especially for dudes… just because we are wearing tight Lycra shiny pants and a crop top.  When we are on all fours or any pose where you can see some cleavage or a good booty shot then don’t be Clarence Thomas.   Think of our bodies like a solar eclipse… get a glimpse of it (try to hide that) but avert your eyes.