This is another tricky but necessary post to write because some of the issues highlighted are completely avoidable if one preps for first class by reading the information on the website and observing the etiquettes. WE ARE SO GRATEFUL that the vast majority of practitioners observe them graciously.
Aside from its obvious purpose 🙂 please also consider that a Yoga studio is a social setting and there are etiquettes that need to be observed in that context. ALL clearly set out on our website. If our social setting is of interest to you then please pause and consider that the rules of etiquette may be slightly different to those of your other social settings e.g. that of a gym environment. Before entering their first class ‘EVERYBODY’ SIGNS a registration form at reception that says, amongst other things, “I CONFIRM THAT I: • have / will read as a matter of priority the Yoga class logistics and etiquette information which is clearly set out in ‘LOVE PREP’ on website”
The majority of people who love and practice Yoga regularly will have studied these etiquettes as they know that being familiar with them will indeed enhance their experience at YM. Indeed for 99% of our practitioners they are and, allowing for the occassional inadvertant oversight by a regular :), the process is a smooth running dream. Thank you. However there is always a very small number who just will not settle down to read these because they simply aren’t important to them and therefore they don’t actually know there are implicit etiquettes or terms surrounding their venture into a proper Yoga studio. It is true, we know, that in all likelihood they won’t read this post either, but we live in hope because this very small number can take a lot of prana to deal with. Prana that would be better spent elsewhere. There are those who will challenge the etiquettes because it just doesn’t suit the way they want to do things or there may be a few who have just simply forgotten some of the basic stuff and need to refresh their memory and this will be their prompt. Succinctly, you SIGNED an undertaking and these constitute part of our TERMS.
It ALWAYS pains the instructor to have to deal with etiquette breaches as we do not see this as part of what people are actually really paying us for (primarily they want Yoga instruction). There is never a good time other than the moment to deal with these issues; if we let it slide to deal with it on the quiet later, other people perceive that as YM acquiescing to a new behaviour and suddenly that breach multiplies (fact) and so we believe a ‘hit & run’ approach – deal with them in the moment, job done, is best.
We have briefly toyed with throwing the etiquette book out the window saying ‘que sera sera’! 🙂 IT SEEMED A MARVELLOUS IDEA FOR ONE HOT MINUTE! 🙂 . It would certainly bring much freedom and lightness to the instructors to not have to ‘manage’ such things in future. However, these rules are essential for the ambience of the environment and managing the process. With 20ish people in one room all with differing ideas of what etiquette is, if we don’t ‘enforce’ the rules, the ambience would very quickly deteriorate.
In defence of ‘the rules’ in a studio where there is ONE instructor doing everything that would be done by a team in a gym or a glossy Yoga studio, they are essential if we are to keep things smooth running and so we shelved that notion of throwing out the rule book and went back to the standard! The rules are a way that you can help us out here. It’s impossible to find a good quote in support of rules; there are plenty about how good ‘breaking the rules’ are (fun and all that 🙂 ). This post is one of our attempts to influence a few to freshen up on Yoga etiquette practices. Please do see website LOVE PREP and scroll down to etiquettes before, during, after class and also see HOW TO BE A YOGA STUDENT… written 5 years and go and still very much valid so please read.
I highlight hereafter a few themes that seemed to be recurring this year:
~ WATER. You MUST have water in YM class. It doesn’t matter what school of Yoga you come from or how experienced you are. In our YM environment this is not optional. It is your responsibility to ensure water supplies are adequate. You must have that supply to easy hand i.e. you cannot share a bottle with a fellow practitioner. You may not fill up the bottle during the course of the class from the tap. There is a sign at the tap to that effect. This includes no filling during end Savasana.
~ ON ENTERING THE STUDIO AND SPOTTING A FRIEND; please attend to your mat laying rituals/toilet arrangements FIRST and leave the catch-up with your friend ‘til second; please do not leave it until teacher turns light on to start class and realise you have not found your space or gone for that much needed wee. There has been a recent increase of people running into the loo after Pranayama because they got distracted and forgot to go just prior to class.
~ SAVASANA. This pose is the ‘SEALING IN’ of your practice benefits. Out of necessity we HAD to build in a 2 minute conscious relaxation to ensure peeps at least slow their heart rate down and get their breathing back to normal before speeding off their mats. Read ‘IT ISN’T OVER ‘TIL THE SINGING BOWL SINGS…’ Even as the singing bowl is fading some people are up and moving. To those, PLEASE leave the room like you would that of a sleeping baby. Do not pack up your bags in the Yoga room whilst even ONE person is still laying down. Plastic bags and empty plastic bottles are NOISY. Some people are heavy footed naturally, please get your ‘head’ to check in with your ‘foot’ fall 🙂 and perhaps consider ‘gliding’ out of the room and make that effort a part of your Yoga practice. Please don’t be heavy handed on the doors either.
Effectively when Yogis sign in at their first class they effectively ACCEPTED to read and comply with these etiquettes amongst other things. Please make reading them part of your Yoga practice. We have also written many posts/blogs related to etiquette matters to press these points in the past so there is no shortage of information on our website. They are not a secret. Please Try. When a student embraces the etiquettes it enhances their experience AND it frees the teacher up to actually teach more.
Om Om Om Found a Quote! “Rule Your Mind or It Will Rule You” Buddha