Heading to your 1st yoga class? Then read out 10 tips for etiquette in the studio so you’ll have a fantastic experience.
Etiquette for your 1st Yoga Class
You’re not alone. Every day, hundreds of people from around the world head to their first-ever yoga class. They’re anxious, nervous but also excited. Much like you, right?
Etiquette in a yoga class can be confusing. “How should I act in my first yoga class?” is probably something that is on your mind. You should firstly relax. Yoga isn’t hard and going into your first class isn’t your first day at school.
Instead, quite the opposite. Yoga studios are warm and nurturing for the most part with good vibes to help you calm the mind and recharge the body.
But there are some things you should do to ensure a great first-time experience.
1. Pack and plan accordingly
Some yoga studios allow students to borrow mats for free or for a small charge. Others only allow students in if they have their own yoga mat, even if it’s your 1st time.
Check the website first of the yoga studio that you intend to visit. Often they will have an article similar to this with information for new students with all the details you need.
2. Good etiquette to get there early
There is nothing more embarrassing than being late for your yoga class, especially your first one. And nothing more frustrating than hearing a fellow student unroll their mat while the rest of the class is ready to go.
Aim to get there 10 minutes beforehand. They might have an earlier class that is just finishing up, in which case, just wait in the foyer in silence or break some quiet conversations with other students.
3. Leave your phone alone
Before even arriving, turn your phone completely off. We don’t mean to silent…we mean off. Where you can’t glance at it while waiting in the foyer in a bid to avoid conversations.
Leaving your phone alone is your 1st step towards calming the mind. No distractions, no notifications. Just you and your own thoughts to process in the preceding 60 minutes.
4. Take your shoes off
Every yoga studio has a shoes-off policy. That is – you take them in and place them on a rack at the front of the studio, much like most Asian households. Doing so keeps the energy off the mat.
Shoes don’t come inside so don’t bring them in and place them by your yoga mat. Simply follow what others are doing and you’ll have no problems at all. Your socks can stay on until you’re up on your feet.
5. Introduce yourself
Don’t be that “new person” that hides in the corner. While you might be nervous, at least introduce yourself to your yoga teacher who will be glad to meet you.
Tell ’em it’s your 1st class. They will appreciate this and won’t “single you out” in front of everyone, but instead simply guide you subtly through the entire class.
6. Progress, not Perfection
Yoga isn’t about impressing upon everyone else about what cool tricks you can do. No doubt you’ll see people doing amazing bends and poses in your 1st yoga class. Guess what? They never started there and those Asanas are broken often. You just didn’t see ’em slip 3 seconds ago.
Practising yoga is a journey, and for many people, a life journey. One that requires progress as opposed to impressing anyone. Avoid the need to follow your teacher perfectly and you’ll do just fine.
7. Know your Limits
This ties in well with focusing on progress. You need to know your limits and respect them. Given that this is your first yoga class, you need to respect your own body and its limitations. Many of these muscles probably haven’t been stretched since high school!
If you feel pain when stretching, then back off. However, if you feel tightness, then hold right there; that’s your limit. Pro-tip: Look on timetables that say ‘Beginner Class’ as you won’t inadvertently go into a class which is beyond your skill level.
8. Savasana comes at the end
At the end of your practice, the most important pose is Savasana, pronounced “SShah-VAHS-uh-huh) which is Sanskrit. It’s purely a relaxation pose that appears like the students are sleeping.
It’s the pose that everyone looks forward to as the muscles relax and unwind while the body catches up. Avoid the temptation to open your eyes and look around – everyone is in stillness. Ohmmmmm!
9. Pack up properly
Unlike a restaurant, students in yoga classes have the etiquette to clean up after themselves. This includes putting away yoga mats, blocks, blankets and bolsters that they have used.
Often they will supply eco-friendly antibacterial spray. Use these on any mats and blocks that you’ve used as other students will appreciate it. Fold your blankets too.
10. Take it easy
After any yoga class, and especially after a Yin yoga session, it’s easy to feel a bit mellow. If you’ve driven to yoga, then take a few minutes to ‘come back to earth’ before heading off.
Just remember that your yoga studio may have a class immediately afterwards. If that’s the case – keep chatter to a minimum and put your shoes back on so others have some space for theirs.
Still nervous? You shouldn’t be. It’s likely that someone else will be doing their 1st yoga class as well, but may not know the etiquette expected.
Now that you personally know the etiquette for your 1st ever yoga class, it’s time to find the right studio for you. We recommend beginner classes where others just like you are in the early days of their journey.
Once your first class is over, look for other studios in your local area. You can find several different studios to try and later find the one that best suits your vibes.
Lastly: Namaste means ” I bow to you” as a respectful gesture between yogis and yoginis. You’re bound to hear this at every single yoga class now for the rest of your life.
We’ll catch you in class!