In the eight years that I have been doing yoga, I have learned a thing or two about proper behavior in a yoga class. I have taken classes in big cities and small towns, in candlelight and in pitch black, with untrained teachers and yogi masters, in a storage unit and on the 17th floor overlooking a beautiful skyline. I have seemingly seen it all, done it all and experienced all the highs and lows of the yoga experience!
Usually I attend vinyasa or yin yoga classes, but tonight I had my first try of a Svaroopa® yoga class, a rather low-key form of yoga focusing on opening your body and releasing tensions. The class itself was relaxing and interesting, but the happenings around me were rather disturbing, causing me to focus more on what I wanted to write in this piece than on the poses themselves.
Imagine yourself lying on your back, eyes closed, legs propped up, and arms open on the floor – you’re in shavasana or corpse pose. Soft music plays in the background and you are breathing in and out using your ujjayi breath or long, deep ocean-sounding breathing. You are completely relaxed and calm… until the person to your right starts coughing, the person to your left is snoring, and the lady behind you gets up and leaves the room, banging the door closed! I am no yoga guru where I can block out the sounds of others, so instead of being totally into my breathing, I am totally into listing out in my head everything you should not do at a yoga class:
- If you’re sick, stay at home. No one wants your cold and your sniffles are making everyone’s skin crawl. I cough too at class (and honestly always feel really guilty and try to suppress it for as long as possible), but when I have a cold, I lie in my bed and drink tea, not go to yoga and disturb the zen.
- Take a nap before class, not at class. I get that the music is calming and the instructor uses a lilting soothing voice, but your snoring just keeps us all awake.
- Please don’t leave class in the middle, walk in late, or leave early. It is not only rude to the instructor, but it also disrupts the flow of everyone’s peace.
- When it’s time to do shavasana, lie still, enjoy the moment and be at peace, but please don’t move around and shuffle your feet or sigh and huff because you’re frustrated that you can’t stop thinking instead of have a blank mind. When you move and people hear you move, now no one has a clear mind because all we can think about is who is doing that and why won’t they stop?!
I appreciate that everyone wants an enjoyable yoga experience, but common courtesy for others is always a top priority in public classes. I am not a perfect yogi, but I do try my best to respect others’ yoga and refresh time. Maybe it’s time everyone does the same.
Do you have any other yoga gripes? Let us know your experiences in the comments below!