It’s inevitable: whether you’re a yoga newbie, or a veteran yogi, trying a new studio for the first time, you’re sure to commit a faux-pas at one time or another that will make your classmates cringe. That’s okay—after all, no one’s perfect!
But some of the most common—and most disruptive—breaches of etiquette are the easiest to avoid. Here’s how you can be a better neighbor to your yoga classmates and how to avoid blunders that truly drive your fellow yogis crazy.
1. Show up on time.
This one kind of goes without saying. It takes focus and concentration to get into that special yoga state of mind when class begins, and nothing disrupts that concentration like a neighbor scrambling to set up next to you. If you can’t make it on time, it’s probably best to find another class that suits your schedule.
2. Limit talking during class.
This isn’t grade school—your instructor isn’t going to make you write your name on the board if you’re talking too much. But chatter during class can be extremely distracting to your fellow yogis. Plus, talking to your neighbor during Warrior Pose means you’re not really focusing on your own inner experience. Save the conversation for after class.
3. Follow the teacher’s instructions—even if you don’t like them.
Don’t be that yogi–the one who thinks they know better than the teacher. Even if you disagree with an instructor’s methods, remember that you’re a visitor in his or her class. Doing your own thing is just disrespectful, and it’s likely to distract your neighbors, too. If this class or teaching style isn’t for you, finish up the class. You can always find a different class later.
4. Make sure your phone is off or on silent.
No matter how cool your ringtone is, no one wants to hear it during yoga class. Avoid this interruption—not to mention the dirty looks you’ll receive—by double checking that your phone is off or on silent before class begins.
5. Keep your gear and your body fresh and clean.
Most people do their best to stay clean, well-groomed, and fresh-smelling. But with all the sweating you’re likely to do during your practice, sooner or later something is going to get dirty. Make sure to wipe down or wash your favorite yoga accessories on a regular basis, so your mat, straps, and blocks don’t end up giving off an odor.
6. Avoid excessive cursing, grunting, or eye-rolling.
Your instructor is making you do more yoga push-ups, even though your arms already feel like jelly? We’ve all been there. You may be tempted to let out a stream of curse words and grunts, but do your best to keep them to yourself. It’s okay to be frustrated—that’s part of the work!—but excessive cursing probably isn’t going to help, and it may drag down your neighbor’s morale, too.
7. Stay put during Savasana.
Nothing interrupts the serenity of Savasana like the sound of a door slamming. You may be tempted to skip the last few minutes of class to get a head start on whatever comes next in your day, but take our word for it: don’t go!
Savasana is arguably the most important part of your practice. Those few minutes of meditation and relaxation allow you to integrate everything you’ve learned and experienced. It’s really important that you stick around for yourself, and to make sure you don’t drag your fellow yogis out of their meditation by packing up and letting the door slam behind you.
8. Bring your focus back to your intention.
Okay, this one isn’t about being a good neighbor to your classmates—it’s about honoring your practice and yourself.
Sooner or later, you’re going to encounter a classmate who commits one of the faux-pas above. But other yogis’ bad etiquette should never get in the way of your yoga.
No matter what distractions arise, it’s important to always come back to your breath and your intentions. After all, your practice is about you—not your inconsiderate classmate.
What yoga blunders make you cringe, and how can we all learn to be better yoga neighbors? Share your wisdom with us in the comments!