If it is your first time at the studio, or even your first time doing yoga, and if you are like I was at my first class, you may feel a little intimidated, or (let's be frank) have no clue what is right and wrong in terms of yoga etiquette. One way to deal with those worries, is to get familiar with some general practices for yoga studios and yoga practice. Some will be common sense, others may be new to you - but knowing them will allow you to stop worrying about doing something wrong, and getting the full benefit of your time at the studio. Plus, you will look like you have been doing yoga forever!
For more answers to frequently asked questions, check this page.
When you arrive, the first thing you do is take off your shoes at the door. Yoga studios are shoe-free zones. Yoga is practiced in bare feet and dragging in dirt from the outside is not just unhygienic, it is also considered disrespectful. Walking into the main studio with your shoes on is a big no-no.
It's good practice to arrive a few minutes early, and certainly not after class has started so as to not interrupt other students, or miss parts of the important warm-up sequence. Arriving early means you have time to take off coats, socks and switch your phone to silent, then settle on your mat and find stillness before class.
Turn off the noise
It is important to switch off anything that can ring, buzz or electronically knock you and others out of your mindful state - so switch off, take off and silence your devices. The same is true for noisy bangles, necklaces and suchlike. You may even consider leaving your fitness trackers at home. Having your attention with your mind and body will make a big difference to how you feel during, and after class.
Mind the smell
An important way to honour your body, your practice, your teachers and fellow students is by keeping smells to a minimum. All of us have bodily functions and fluids, those fluids and functions have their appropriate natural scents, and a quick shower or rinse before class can make all the difference. We do not practice hot yoga at the studio and smells are likely to be a lot less pungent for that reason - phew! What is worse than our natural body scents, however, is the opposite - perfumes, aftershaves, deodorants and body lotions. Many people are very sensitive to synthetic fragrances, it can literally make them feel sick, especially in a small space like a studio, hence we ask that you stay mindful and compassionate in that respect.
Once you enter the studio, it is time to find stillness, allow thoughts to turn inwards. For many students, the time on the mat is sacred, and we respect this wholly. We support building a community and hope you find plenty of opportunity to chat and socialise before and after class in our Unwind Room.
If you have questions during practice, ask them mindfully and quietly, give the teacher a sign so they can come to your mat and speak to you. Always let your teachers know about any injuries, health issues and the like before the beginning of class - they should ask you, but if you'd rather tell them in private, make sure you grab them when you come in the studio.
Can't stay for savasana?
Leave before it starts. Sometimes we just don't have time to stay to the end (although you should!). Gather your things quietly and leave before savasana starts to enable the rest of the class to enjoy it.
Yoga is prop-happy. Clean your mat at the end of practice (spritz and wipe down, we will provide you with our organic, home-made mat cleaner and towels), put away your bolsters, blocks, straps and whatever else you used. This saves time for the teachers, and leaving the space looking the same (or better!) than you found it is respectful to the studio and students after you.
We practice Ahimsa
Ahimsa is the yogic principle of non-violence. It means that we refrain from the intention of causing physical and psychological pain to any living being, and consciously integrate compassion into every aspect of our daily life. Be gentle. Towards yourself and others around you. Respect those who join you in practice and the space you've been given to practice in - this will create a safe, uplifting and truthful environment. This is one of the main teachings of yoga you can take off the mat and out into your day or night with you straight away.
Often at the end of class, your teacher will say "Namaste" to you. Namaste is usually spoken with a slight bow and hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest. This gesture is called Añjali Mudrā or Pranamasana. In Hinduism, it is your teacher's way of saying "I bow to the divine in you". You saying it back to them means you bow to the divine in them, thanking them for their teaching and guidance.
Unwind Yoga Studio is for everybody, whether you have experience in yoga, or none at all, we welcome you wholeheartedly. We have an open door policy - no question is a bad question. If you are unsure, drop us an email at email@example.com.