The first time I walked in to a yoga studio, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had been practicing yoga at home for several years but had never stepped foot into a studio before where other people could watch me.
I was a nervous, awkward, anxious wreck (not exactly the vibe you want to bring in to a yoga studio). However, by the end of it, I was hooked on group classes. Not wanting anyone else to go through the near panic attack I did, I’ve put together some general guidelines for attending class at a yoga studio.
1. What to Wear and Bring
The most expensive pair of yoga pants is not going to enable you to jump into Handstand any better than a pair from the thrift store. The most important thing is to wear clothes that allow you to move freely and comfortably.
Your attire doesn’t need to be skin tight, but I wouldn’t recommend a t-shirt that will inevitably fall around your face while practicing Downward-Facing Dog. The only thing you really need to bring is yourself, unless otherwise specified by the studio.
Most studios have extra mats, props, and towels. I would however suggest you bring your own thermos for hydration. A paper cup doesn’t stand a chance when practicing kick-ups.
2. No Shoes
Shoes are a no-no when it comes to the yoga studio. Since most studios are equipped with hardwood floors, shoes are not the safest thing. They can scuff the hardwood and can leave a mess behind. Best to leave the fancy footwear in the designated area while enjoying your class time.
3. Turn Off Mobile Phones
A big part of a group yoga class is the chance to share your practice with others. Cellphones and smartphones can be a huge distraction for you and everyone else around you. There is nothing worse than the Star Wars ringtone blaring out during savasana. That is, unless it’s your phone.
It’s best to leave the phones behind or at the very least silenced with no vibration.
4. If You’re Late…
It happens. You rush to get to class only to find everyone has already begun the first ‘Om’ when you reach the door. Do you go in, wait for the next class, or quietly turn around and leave hoping no one saw you? The polite thing to do is wait.
Wait for the opening meditation to be completed, then quietly enter the room, lay down your mat, and pick up wherever the class is. This allows for the least bit of distraction while allowing you to also partake in the class.
5. If You Have to Leave Early…
Honestly, this is something that should be avoided. A class is made to be well-rounded and balanced, and if you leave early, you leave unbalanced, robbing yourself of the benefits of your class. If you skip Savasana, you skip allowing the body to absorb the benefits of the class you just practiced.
However, this is life, and sometimes things come up and that’s understandable. If you must leave class early, try to sit in the back near the exit. Gather your things as quietly as possible and slip out the door in full stealth mode.
6. Be Prepared for Class
Try to have your towel, hydration, and all necessary props set up before the beginning of class. This will eliminate the need to leave your mat to retrieve them later. If the teacher does not tell you at the start of class what you will need, either ask them or get a couple of blocks and a blanket as a safety net.
7. Clean Your Area after Class
Take all props back to their appropriate location and wipe down your mat if you borrowed it from the studio. This saves the teacher from having to put everything away before they can get on with their day.
8. Respect the Teacher’s Time and Attention
If you have any medical issues or special needs, inform the teacher before class. You don’t want to wait until the middle of Headstand to tell the teacher you had surgery on your cervical spine two months ago. Leave most questions until the very end of class after the Namaste.
If you must ask a question during the sequence, throw a hand up and keep it short, teachers are more than happy to answer but remember, there are other students to be taught as well.
By following these simple yet powerful guidelines for attending class at a yoga studio, you, the other students, and your teacher can have a fun, fulfilling class. Just remember, if there is anything you aren’t sure of, just ask. We’re yogis and we’re not ones to judge!