January 16, 2008

Yoga Etiquette

Here are some reminders to help you and your classmates get the most out of your yoga classes.

1) Before entering into a yoga classroom, please remove your shoes. It is a sign of respect for the practice as well as a symbol of transitioning from your daily life to your practice.

2) Try not to eat for two hours before a yoga class, and if possible, for one hour after class. Food in the stomach makes some of the poses uncomfortable, and can actually create digestive and circulatory problems. Food and drink also dampen the internal fire or “agni” that is an important aspect of the practice. Never bring food or drink into the classroom. If you feel you must drink during the class, please be discreet and use water only.

3) Try to arrive five to ten minutes early for the class. This will give you time to sign in, get situated, and calm and clear the mind. It will help you let go of the days events and bring yourself into the present moment. Try to use the time for this purpose. Out of respect for the practice and the fellow yogis, anyone arriving more than five minutes late will not be allowed to join class.

4) Do not leave class early. It is quite disruptive to the class as well as unsettling for your body and mind. The Savasana at the end of class is extremely important. It helps to calm the mind and connect the preceding asanas to the spirit. Schedule your time appropriately so that you can enjoy the whole experience rather than having to rush in or rush out.

5) Yoga is a journey within to stillness...so please be sure to turn off all outside disturbances such as cell phones, pagers, watch alarms and any other external distractions.

6) Make sure to let your instructor know if you have any conditions that may affect your practice such as injury, emotional disturbances or pregnancy. And be sure to always work within your comfort level.

7) Avoid wearing strong scented products. Yoga increases our awareness of all the senses and perfumes or other strong scents may be disturbing for others.

8) If you have any questions about the practice please ask me! I want each and every one of you to get the very most out of your yoga practice. Communication is a key aspect of the learning process.

9) Consider beginning a “sadana” or daily personal practice. Whether you take class everyday or practice at home, yoga was meant to be a daily practice. It is hard to maintain the physical, emotional and spiritual gains of the practice by only taking one class a week. You needn’t do a whole hour each day, but see if you can commit to at least a few poses everyday and a moment of meditation. You will be glad you did.

Reach within your spirit, and execute yama and niyama, two of the basic principles of yoga –---codes of respect and restraint for yourself and respect for others-----