As a health coach I see wellness and yoga as one in the same. They are one in the intertwined.
And I take it that many other people feel the same - yoga studios across Australia are filled with keen yogis ready to stretch their mind and body in search for a happier sand healthier state of being.
This list is not to scare you. In fact, I'm always trying to do the opposite - I encourage, no, I IMPLORE you to hit the mat. But, some things just need to be cleared up for new (and even seasoned) yogis.
These 7 essential tips are mostly from my years as a student and perhaps a few from my teaching. Etiquette or the rules of polite conduct are just as important on the mat as off.
1) Be on time. Yes, it's a personal practice but if you run late you disturb everyone else in the class (including the teacher). And you miss out on the benefits of the early warm-up and relaxation.
2) Watch where you step. Nothing used to irk me more than fellow students walking on my mat as they crossed the studio. Your mat is your home for however long the class goes for. You wouldn't want someone trudging all over your home, would you?
3) Mobile phones off. Silence and moving the attention inward is really, really hard when someone's mobile phone is ringing, beeping or vibrating. Not to mention as a teacher it does throw you off your focus.
4) Mind your manners. With all that deep breathing, a yoga class is not the place where you should be coughing and sneezing without covering your mouth. Simple manners really - just be mindful that your fellow yogis are happy to share their energy with you, but not your germs.
5) Keep it down. If you enter a studio and there are already a number of people set-up in a relaxtion postures, fight the urge to gossip and talk loudly amongst your friends. It's fantastic that yoga brings people together and creates a community but you never know why someone has come to class that day - that might really need some quiet space. And, would it kill you to talk a little less?
6) Less is best. In confined spaces breathing in strong perfume whilst trying to balance on your head isn't much fun. If you can, avoid strong scents (perfumes, body products etc) as some people find it really difficult to breath freely without irritation.
7) Stay awhile. Nothing is more frustrating than almost slipping off to a deep, quiet space during savasana (corpse pose/relaxation) than being disturbed by a fellow yogi leaving class early. Yoga is about finding comfort in the uncomfortable, so yes, if it happens try not to be distracted. But, for those that are serial savasana-skippers, if you can avoid it, stay awhile.
It'll go faster than you think and before you know it, class will be over. Oh and it's a tad disrespectful to the teacher who has shared their energy and knowledge during the class to have you skadaddle because you can't WAIT to run off to work/breakfast/life. At the very least, tell the teacher beforehand if you MUST leave.
I hope that doesn't deter you, but instead make you feel clear on the best behaviour in a yoga class. Hope to see you on the mat soon!