Yoga 101: Etiquette For The Mat

Some helpful tips on what to do in your yoga classes.

  • Be early: don’t arrive to class in a crazy rush. Allow time so you can arrive 15 minutes early to soak up some of that Zen peace before the practice begins. Also, some studios tend to lock the rooms once class get started so you won’t even be able to get in! Knocking on the door is not going to generate any good karma.
  • Head’s up: don’t be embarrassed, yoga teachers love new students. Be sure to always let the teacher know you are new to class, and of any injuries you may have. This way they can take much better care of you, and you are more likely to get special attention. Bonus.
  • Placement: definitely make a beeline for the middle of the room if you you are new. This way you have people all around to use as good guides on what to do. Not all teacher’s demonstrate, and if they do, don’t feel like you also have to replicate them exactly. Snapping off your own leg is a hard story to explain in the ER. Just go gently and do your best to replicate within your capabilities the postures which are taught.
  • Props: a block and a yoga strap are super handy to have, especially if your idea of stretching is touching your knees. The strap will be your Go Go Gadget arm to help you find your foot when your hands can’t.
  • Mind the perfume: little known, but definitely an insider’s tip, do not be heavy handed with your favourite scent. Simple deodorant is good, but if your eau de toilette is a halo you travel with, don’t go there. You breathe through your nose in yoga so if you see people moving their mats away from you, take it as a hint. Less is more here. Also, use toothpaste or mouthwash, you can be super close to your neighbour and your teacher, so prepared is always best.
  • No shoes: and no socks. Let your toes be free (and ideally pedicured beautifully) when practicing. You’ll need those little gems for gripping the mat.
  • Quiet zone: most studios encourage whisper talking or none at all, best to respect this vibe or endure eyes boring into the back of your head, or a pretty severe smack down from the studio manager.
  • No phones: okay, we completely get that is attached to your ear, but this is one time to stow it in your locker. The shame of your phone going off during class (savasana is even worse) or of being caught checking that text is just not worth the pain.
  • Dress code: comfortable active wear is best. Don’t go to short of skimpy or you may regret delaying that wax. Plus, the truth is, if you don’t want to see it, who on earth would want to?
  • Child posture: if you remember nothing else, but this for your first class, it will save you. If you feel completely overwhelmed and your sweating is so perfuse that you can’t see the teacher any more, just drop to your knees and stretch forward. This way you can take a time out whenever you need it and you look like you know what you are doing even when you don’t. #Winning.

About Martine

Martine loves combining breath work and movement, and her classes are a balanced mix of challenging poses and relaxation techniques. She has been practicing yoga since 1995 and started teaching in 1999. Martine originally trained in Iyengar under Anna Prior and later trained in Hatha before discovering her love of Ashtanga.

If you would like to attend Martines yoga classes at Elixr have a look at our timetable.