Top 10: Manners for Yogis

The Yogi Top 10 is a new weekly feature here at Big Raven Yoga. Every week you can expect to see yoga, healthy living, and conversation starters. This week we’re discussing good yoga manners. If you’re new to yoga you might not know these yoga class norms and expectations — if you've been practicing yoga for a while you might assume everyone knows this stuff. So here’s our take on yogi manners.

  1. Happy customer Riley Gerlinger arriving early!

    1. Arrive to class early. Rushing affects the vibe — and you’ve got to stuff to do. You need to store your shoes and find a place for your bag and coat. You've probably got friends you need to say hello to before you even get into the studio space. Then you’ve got to find your spot, lay out your mat, gather your props, fill up your water bottle, and put your towel where you can reach it. All of these customs and norms take time and rushing is the worst! 

  2. 2. Stay in class until the end. Your final Shavasana (corpse pose) can be one of the most beneficial postures in your yoga class. Many yoga teachers like to say it “seals in your practice” by giving you a final few moments of deliberate mindfulness and peace. In our chaotic world, 3 minutes of stillness feels really decadent. If you need to leave early give your teacher a heads up so they can help you leave the space without disturbing others. It's also a good idea to choose a spot near the door so you won’t disrupt or walk over or in front of others when you're trying to skedaddle.

  3. 3. Honor the room if it’s quiet and help keep it that way Being able to focus amid distraction takes practice. Silence around us is important to have silence within us. Some yogis can focus and turn inward amid chaos and noise — others are still working on it. Just be aware and read the room: If there are 10 yogis on their mats silently trying to get centered and 3 yogis excitedly talking about brunch, who of the 13 are not getting the tenor of the space?

  4. 4. Leave your phone in your bag. Do this primarily so you can fully disconnect and focus on your practice. Give yourself the gift of one hour where your only concern is your breath and connecting to your intentions. Keeping phones outside of the class space is a well-mannered choice as ringing, buzzing, vibrating, and pinging is really not all that zen.

  5. 5. Smile at your neighbor. It's rare for yogis who don't know each other to talk or greet one another before or after class. It’s weird really — meeting new people at yoga doesn’t easily happen unless the yoga teacher facilitates saying hello to your neighbor. A simple smile is great yogi etiquette because it's kind, easy, and helps people feel less invisible — especially if there is a group of friends and handfuls of individuals. 

  6. 6. Remember it’s practice not perfection. Be kind to yourself — there is no perfect in yoga, just practice. Good yogi manners with number 6 has more to do with how you treat yourself. Every day your body is different. Somedays you might not be able to balance the exact same way you did the day before. It’s okay — getting discouraged or upset will affect you and your neighbors. Be inwardly and outwardly kind. 

  7. 7. Listen to your body. Your muscles, tissues, cells, and emotions are all connected. None of those things act independently — your body is the sum of all of those things. During your yoga practice where “you're at” (like it or not) affects the rest of the room. Yoga is a safe space to come as you are — just be aware — anger, hostility, stress, resentment whatever you’re carrying gets shared. The best manners — the best practice is to simply own your state and be aware. There's nothing you have “to fix”, you just have to listen. 

  8. 8. Put away your props. Blocks, straps, pillows, blankets, wheels — all that stuff needs to be put away of course… and if you got it sweaty and funky good job! Just remember to give it a little wipe down with a disinfecting wipe. 

  9. 9. Go for the OM even if you’re unsure of the sound. It does feel awkward to chant OM for the first time during a yoga class. Just remember it's not about pitch, tone, or making music. It’s actually about breath and vibration — and can be really cool. Om represents the union of mind, body and spirit — which is the heart of yoga. The sound takes you outside of your own body and space and makes you feel deeply connected to those around you. 

  10. 10. Thank your teacher. Smile at them, give them a wink, say thank you — it will light them up. Guiding people through their practice for many yoga teachers feels like a gift. Still, it’s nice to be seen and acknowledged for the effort. Besides the more love you give the more love you get and that’s super nummy!

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