Arriving 10 minutes early to the class allows you time to get your props, settle on your mat and turn your mind to what you are about to do. Being on time also shows respect for the teacher and the other people in the class. Having said that, we sometimes all unavoidably run late. If you are only a few minutes late, please still come! If the class is still in the middle of a 'centering practice', just sit quietly inside the door until we open our eyes and can make space for you. If you find yourself regularly running late, it might be time to become curious about why and how you can address this.
2. Come with an empty stomach
Ideally, we should practice yoga on an empty stomach. Try not to eat a meal within 2 hours of class but if you really need a snack, have something very light. Practising on a full stomach can lead to cramps or nausea, especially when doing twists, inversions and forward bends. Drinking a lot of water before class, or drinking during class can also make you feel nauseous.
3. Make space for others
Some days everyone decides to come to class on the same day and the room can fill quickly. Trust me, there is always room for more and we each only need the space of our own mat. It is time to practice 'non attachment' to your usual spot and 'non-greed' to the space around you. As people arrive, please move your mat and props to make space for them, allowing to stagger the mats forward and back if need be. Lots of people practising together creates a vibrant energy so try to enjoy the experience!
4. Leaving early
For several reasons, the relaxation pose at the end of class ('savasana') is perhaps the most important pose we do! But if you really need to leave early from a class as an exception, please be sure to let the teacher know in advance, and place yourself near the door so you can make a discreet exit. Leaving before everyone settles into relaxation avoids distracting others.
Cleanliness ('saucha') is one of the yogic practices and reminds us to come to class with clean feet, to avoid strong perfumes or body odour and clean the mats you use (and any props that get sweaty) with the mat spray provided at the studio. We always leave our shoes at the door and it is considered good etiquette to avoid walking on other people's mats.
6. Be friendly and respectful
One of the loveliest parts of the yoga classes at Northbridge Yoga is the yoga community that has evolved. There is a sense of connection and acceptance between people, whether you are a regular or an occasional visitor. A smile or greeting to someone new in the class immediately welcomes them and includes them in our community. At the same time, respecting someone's need for space and silence is also appreciated, especially before the class. Tune into the cues and relish the peace.
If you have a new injury or not feeling well, always let your teacher know before class. If you need to make modifications to avoid pain, please do! Our own body is our best teacher and part of the yoga practice is learning to listen to its messages.
8. Mobile phones
Please leave your mobile phone in the car or turn it off. Even phones switched to silent mode have an embarrassing way of vibrating in the middle of relaxation.
9. Practise non-judgment
During class, challenge yourself to drop any judgment of both yourself and others. Keep in mind that yoga is non-competitive. We all have different bodies, progress at a different pace and so much of the practice is in fact internal and' 'unseen'. Practise bringing your attention inwards, feeling the pose you are in and noticing your own breath. When your fellow yogis break any of the yoga 'etiquette code', find compassion for them and try not to let it bother you. Use it as an opportunity to stay centred in your practice despite the distraction, to acknowledge that we are all human and make mistakes, and hope that others are as forgiving of you when it's needed.
10. Take time to absorb
After class, it's important to move calmly and to take time to reflect on how you feel, what you did in class, and anything new that you learned or that resonated with you that day. In this way, your practice will really deepen. If you feel unsure about anything or experience any pain as a result of the class, be sure to talk to the teacher about it. Questions are always welcome.
11. And the icing: Enjoy yourself
Be grateful for the body you have, find the pleasure in doing something for yourself, and spread the 'yoga vibe' with everyone you interact with throughout your day. Enjoy!