Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year Reminders

A new year tends to also bring new students.  This is a great time to gently remind the regulars and start our new students off on the right foot with some class basics.  Don't assume everyone knows proper class etiquette or mat basics.  If possible, post the list in a spot where people can read it while waiting for class to start. 

Yoga Class Dos and Don'ts

By Tim Noworyta (

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Here are some ways to get more out of the yoga classes you attend:

DO arrive early. Getting to class about 10 minutes early can help you settle in and align your attitude with the purpose of the class. While you're waiting you can practice a pose, do a few stretches, or just sit or lie quietly, breathe, and get centered.

DON'T eat for two or three hours before class. If you practice yoga on a full stomach, you might experience cramps, nausea, or vomiting, especially in twists, deep forward bends, and inversions. Digesting food also takes energy that can make you lethargic.

DO let your teacher know about injuries or conditions that might affect your practice. If you are injured or tired, skip poses you can't or shouldn't do, or try a modified version.

DO create an intention. To help you focus, you might find it helpful to dedicate your practice to a certain intention. This might be to become more aware and understanding, more loving and compassionate, or healthier, stronger, and more skillful. Or it might be for the benefit of a friend, a cause—or even yourself.

DON'T bring pagers or cell phones to class. Leave socializing and business outside the studio, so the peace of the practice is not disturbed.

DO be quiet. It's great to share a class with people you know, but it can be distracting to yourself and others to have an extended or loud conversation.

DO bring a towel or your own mat if you sweat a lot, and arrive clean and free of scents that might distract or offend others.

DON'T push it. Instead of trying to go as deeply or completely into a pose as others might be able to do, do what you can without straining or injuring yourself. You'll go farther faster if you take a loving attitude toward yourself and work from where you are, not from where you think you should be.

DO pick up and neatly put away any props you use.

[If possible] DON'T enter class late or leave early; it's disruptive to others.

DO take time afterwards to think about what you did in class, so you can retain what you learned. Review the poses you practiced, and note any instructions that particularly made sense. Even if you remember just one thing from each class, you'll soon have a lot of information that can deepen your own personal practice.

I'd like to add, that some of the above needs to be tempered by reality - ie, where you teach may play a huge part.  For those of us who teach in a gym setting or with a community ed program, you probably will have people coming in late and leaving early.  I try to accommodate the latecomers by having space available so students already grounded will not have to move their mats around.  Often easier said than done, some people just don't like to move their mat once settled.  Ask people to roll mats out quietly rather than with that rushed "smack!". 

Same for people leaving early.  This may be their only opportunity to attend a yoga class, and all they have is that one hour for lunch.  That means 10 minutes to change, 40 minutes for class, 10 minutes to shower/change and return to work.  Not much time. 

And I can't emphasise prop cleanliness enough.  Please stress to students to clean the borrowed mats off.  Even better, encourage students if possible to obtain their own mat.

If you have any other observations, please share!  We're all in this together...

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1 comment:

Eco Yogini said...

wonderful dos and don'ts.
I agree- sometimes reality happens. Like cell phones and pagers.
Since working with special needs children and their parents I have quickly come to realize that parents really need to be 'on call' at all times in case of emergency.
Generally, a phone call is not a good thing- and one hour really can make a difference if your child had a seizure at the daycare....

At the same time, it's difficult to think of that when someone's cell phone goes off in class... lol.