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|Manners, Mindfulness and Muscles|
|Proper Etiquette at the Yoga Studio and at the Gym|
It's probably happened to you at one time or another - some guy is hogging the weight machine you
want to use, grunting away, and when he finally finishes he leaves a disgusting pool of sweat all over
the seat. Or you're ten minutes into your Yoga class and some girl shows up late, plunks her mat next
to yours and manages to hit you not once, but three times while practicing various Warrior poses - then
her cell phone starts ringing during the final relaxation. Thoughtless, rude people can ruin a good
workout or destroy your serenity, but before you start pointing fingers, look at yourself for a moment.
How's your own etiquette? Are you always courteous and considerate when you venture into the gym or
Yoga studio? Or - and let's be honest about this - are your manners just a tad lacking? On the next
couple of pages you'll find checklists so that you can see exactly where you stand. If you find that
your own behavior isn't up to what you expect from others, don't despair. All of us could probably use
some improvement. Remember: knowledge is power, and becoming aware of bad manners or discourtesy gives
you a wonderful opportunity to change and grow.
(Article continued below.)
Yoga Studio Etiquette:
- Be on time - in fact, show up early!
By the time your Yoga class begins, you should be mentally prepared for it. That requires you to
arrive a few minutes early so that you can take your shoes off, sign in, lay out your mat and either
meditate, sit quietly, or do a few easy stretches. Showing up late is disruptive to the mood of the
class, and you don't get the full benefit of the practice either - a rushing, hectic frame of mind is
the antithesis of what Yoga is about. If you are unavoidably late, set up as quickly and quietly as
- Be clean.
Yoga is practiced barefoot, in comfortable clothes. If someone has dirty, crusty feet, you certainly
don't want to walk where they've been stepping, do you? And just because you're dressed casually in a
tee shirt or crop top and leggings, that doesn't mean they have to be ready for the laundry hamper.
The temperature can get pretty warm in many studios, heightening any body odors that are already
present. Make sure that both your clothes, and your body, are odor-free.
- No perfume, please!
Speaking of odors... some people are allergic to perfume, and not everyone may like the same scent
as you. It's especially unpleasant if you like drenching yourself in fragrance - that can get really
stifling in a Yoga studio. The best scent you can have in Yoga class is that plain, freshly-washed
smell. Save the perfume for after class.
- Turn off your cell phones and pagers.
This should be a no-brainer. Few things are more annoying than ringing or beeping when a class is
deep into Shavasana.
- Be aware of the space around you - avoid bumping into your neighbor.
With the growing popularity of Yoga, some classes do max out and you find yourselves crammed into
some very tight spaces. Still, it's only courtesy to do your best to keep from accidentally hitting
the people on either side of you. Be aware of their existence, and if you do happen to collide, adjust
your position so it doesn't happen again. Repeatedly bumping into another person is just plain inconsiderate.
- Silence is golden.
If you're attending class with a friend or romantic partner, leave the conversation until class is
over. Talking or whispering will disturb the class.
- Take the class that's appropriate for your level of experience.
If you leap into an advanced class before you're ready, the teacher will have to give you extra
attention, thus slowing the class down for everyone else. If you're advanced and, perhaps because of
scheduling considerations, you wind up in a beginner's class, don't be a showoff. Yes, you can twist
yourself into poses that no one else can touch, but don't make a display of your abilities (and yes,
you do know the difference between just doing a pose and subtly making a statement) - leave your ego
at the door.
- If you must leave class early, do it before Shavasana (the final relaxation pose).
It's just plain rude to get up and walk out when everyone else is relaxing into that special, quiet space.
- Be neat and considerate.
If you're using the studio's mat, blankets blocks or straps, make sure you put them away exactly
as you found them - or even more neatly than you found them. Clean up any mess you've made, including
and especially any sweat. And don't make a commotion when you leave - especially if there are other
classes going on at the same time. Being too noisy could also disturb the studio's neighbors - and yes,
Yoga studios have received complaints about noisy students. Quiet conversation is usually fine. Shrieking
and loud guffaws are not (and frankly, you shouldn't even be in this type of a space after a Yoga class).
Next page >> Gym Etiquette >> Page 1, 2
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