Creating a Sanctuary: Etiquette for the Yoga Room

The most important thing to remember is that the yoga room is, for many people, a sanctuary, a refuge, a sacred space; so be aware of how you enter, how you move through the space and how you exit the room. Think that your yoga begins the moment you enter the yoga center. Much of this practice is cultivating your awareness.

Some things to contemplate when you land: What is the state of my mind right now? How does my body feel? How am I influencing the space and my environment? How does it affect me?

I've created this list because a lot of conversations about yoga room behavior have come up lately, so I had an idea to put it all in writing. Here are some things to keep in mind, although I can think of many more:

Rules of etiquette for the Yogas room

Arrives early. There is nothing worse than running to get to your yoga classes. Make it a point to arrive at the center 10-15 minutes early so that you can take your time setting up your mat, drink water, and put away your personal belongings. If you are new, try to arrive even earlier so that you can fill out the student form and talk to the teacher.

We are all late sometime; In this case, if you manage to enter the room, look around you; If everyone is sitting in meditation, then simply sit in the reception area and wait until the students begin to move before entering the practice space. It is not convenient to be moving around the room when the teacher is focusing on the class. As a general rule, arrive early, stay until the end. If this is not possible, do a practice at home.

Leave all your belongings in the reception area, it is one of the keys to the practice - separating yourself from all your 'things'. Enter the yoga room with only the clothes you are wearing, a bottle of water and your mat (if you bring your own mat). Try to minimize the clutter around you. The less things there are, the less distraction.

Lower the volume of your voice, especially if there is quiet music or no music. This means that the teacher is creating a quiet space for people to reflect and leave the busy day behind. If you are chatting with a yoga friend, go out to the reception area and speak quietly. If you walk into the room and there is louder music, no rules apply.

Keep your mobile out of the yoga room.  If you have messages or emails to attend to before class, stay in the reception area until you finish. When you enter the yoga room, you should leave the material world out. Take the opportunity to connect with your internal landscape, allowing all the plans and lists of things that you have to do to stay in the background. This is one of the reasons why we do not take the shoes inside the room, it leaves the outside outside. If you are on call, or there is an exceptional circumstance that you need to be aware of, let the teacher know and place your mat near the door and put your mobile on vibrate. For any other circumstance put your mobile in airplane mode, or silence, NO vibration.

Try not to step on other people's mats.

If you are new to the practice to be taught, put your mat near or in the center in front of the teacher, so you can see the examples more easily.

If you are working with injuries or like to do more 'advanced' variants, put your mat a little further off center so as not to create confusion with your mods / variations to new people.

Take care. If there is something that does not suit your body, try as far as you can or rest in the child's position. Remember that you don't have to do everything. A big part of this practice is listening to your body. If you don't know how to change a posture that doesn't suit you, ask the teacher after class. If another class is about to start, try to wait for another time that suits you both.

Be aware of how you affect your surroundings—

- do a quick body odor check before entering the class. If you see that it is not appropriate, fix it (wash or put another layer of deodorant). If you are wearing cologne or strong perfume, take it off. When you sweat, your smell intensifies and your colleagues will be able to smell it.
- If you have been practicing Ujjayi for 6 months or more, it should be soft and not very audible to others. Control your energy. 
- Especially in classes with a lot of people, keep the movements within the parameters of your mat.
- If you are New to practicing inversions (posture in the head, forearms, hands, and the candle) and the teacher offers the opportunity to practice in the center of the room, without a wall, do not throw your legs in midair, it wouldn't be the first time the person near you has been kicked. I recommend practicing at home or before / after class when there is a lot of space around.

If you do not feel safe in class for any reason, go talk to the owner or the person in charge of the center and share your experience with her. Our priority as teachers is to create a safe space and if this has not been achieved, it is important that it be known to improve everyone's experience.

If you need to leave class early, let the teacher know and put your mat near the door. Ask him when would be the right time to go out to disturb as little as possible.  

If you feel uncomfortable when lying on your back in savasana (the final pose), you can sit in meditation on a cushion or ask the teacher about the different options available (ask for advice, you can greatly improve your comfort level). As much as possible, minimize your movements during this time so that others can enjoy their rest.

The most important thing to remember is that the yoga room is for many people their sanctuary. Treat her like this.