Yoga Etiquette Rule #101 Have you got Issues with Your Tissues?


Do you sniff, wipe, produce your neti pot 🙂 or blow?


You absolutely need to be able to breathe during your Yoga practice so if you have sinuses that tend to fill and need to be cleared you absolutely should blow your nose. If you fall into this category then, in anticipation, you should bring and keep a tissue(s) on your mat in case you need one; I always bring one just in case.  YM used to keep a box of tissues in reception and in the Yoga room but the instances of people crossing the room during class to get one (because they knew they were there) just grew and grew and so we removed them which essentially removed the problem! People anticipate, prepare and bring your own for your personal needs!  *If you get caught short just indicate to the instructor who will bring you one from a secret supply 😉 . *nb sorry, we cannot do this during time of covid.

ECO FRIENDLY? The hankerchief is back baby! If you are not down with disposable; no biggie! great even! (the realisation that kleenex marketing ploy of ‘you don’t want to carry an icky cold around in your pocket, throw it away’ made sense, we all bought into it and haven’t thought about it for 50 years BUT reality check: there often isn’t a bin handy so it ends up back in sleeve/pocket/handbag touching other stuff anyway only to be discovered a week later with the other 10 used tissues in a scrunched up ball.) OF COURSE you can use whatever you wish to blow your nose/catch your cough/sneeze when you are in class at YM: kleenex, cotton, silk, flannel, scrap material, whatever you choose.  HOWEVER.  At this time you should not be using that same material you just blew your nose on to subsequently wipe your brow, hands, arms, body. The tissue that caught the blow, sneeze, cough isn’t unhygienic; its a good tissue, it did its job 🙂 IT is THE PRACTICES SURROUNDING THAT USED TISSUE THAT CAN BE HYGIENIC OR UNHYGIENIC.  So please. Separate flannel for wiping and flannel for blowing/coughing/sneezing and keep the used item close to you for subsequent disposal or washing.

TOP TIP If you use disposable tissue then KITCHEN ROLL 🙂 is probably the best.  It holds its form i.e. it does not disintegrate into lots of little bits and one piece will probably last you the class duration.  A roll of loo roll is really not suitable, sweat drips on it, it takes too much time to engage with it and disentangle the bit you need in the critical cough/sneeze moment (you cannot plan a cough or a sneeze you have to BE READY for it); you need to be able to quickly pick up your tissue for your immediately/emergency sneeze/cough purposes.

FOR OBVIOUS HYGIENE REASONS it is not really ideal to leave bits of tissue lying about on the studio floor and please keep used tissues tucked under your towel on your mat and TAKE THEM AWAY WITH YOU AFTER CLASS to dispose of.

ILLNESS Being wiped out and needing rest aside, people often bring their colds to class (please do not bring your flu! (if it is full on flu you’d be bed bound and not in a Yoga studio anyway!).  I think most people work with the ‘above or below the neck check’ generally in life, don’t they? i.e. symptoms above neck (coughing, sneezing, sore throat, nasal congestion) some choose to go to work or go to class. Symptoms below the neck (vomiting, chest congestion, aches, fever) don’t go anywhere ! and please don’t come to class! In this regard it is the Yoga instructor who is probably the most vulnerable person when other people bring their illness to class.  Many people are coming to Yoga class for some kind of Yoga therapy.  I have had some of the best classes when I have been under the weather myself; nothing like an illness to make you back off a notch in your practice and perhaps discover something new about your sets up/approach.

**ILL AND WELL YOGIS OBSERVE PROPER HYGIENE PROTOCOLS and well Yogis (working immune systems) will be fine.  Common sense must always prevail and if a Yogi has recently arrived on Island from any country having ‘virus containment’ measures placed upon it please consider others and get tested or ‘self-isolate’ for sensible time even if there are no symptoms. **nb this blog was written 5 years before covid, so not written originally with this virus in mind, all our other contagion mitigation protocols/advice should be taken into account as well as this blog advice.  “Washing hands regularly, ensuring surface and touch-surface hygiene, and using tissues when we cough and sneeze plays a critical role in minimising the spread of viruses…”

Om Om Om BLOW!

June 2015  {Updated 2020}


*Wikipedia extract: Dermicidin, also known as proteolysis-inducing factor (PIF), is a protein that in humans is encoded by the DCD gene.[3][4] It is an anti-microbial peptide[4] secreted by human eccrine sweat glands onto the skin as a part of the innate host defense of the immune system.”   Get your Sweat on folks!

See Also:

Studio Hygiene

Mad Mat Matters 1

coronavirus 11/3/20

Yoga Ethics ~ Niyamas (Observances) Saucha (cleanliness)

Yoga Ethics ~ Yamas (Restraints) Ahimsa (non harming)