Being a longtime Kripalu Yoga instructor, I imagine myself as being accepting, compassionate and easy going. I try to create a casual and loving atmosphere for class. You might not know, but there are some common rules of etiquette that go a long way to make your yoga experience a lot more pleasant for you, your teacher, and everyone else in the room.
1. ARRIVE EARLY
The theme and general direction of class is introduced at the beginning. This carries throughout your practice during the class. The initial centering that follows drops us into a meditative space focusing inward moving towards pratyahara, a yogic term meaning withdrawl of the senses.(turning inward). Turning outward is what happens to everyone else, when a student arrives late, dropping keys on the counter, thwapping a mat open, loudly moving across the floor, or requiring that others move their mats to accommodate a place for them. For some it is distracting and appears inconsiderate.
I hate being locked out of a yoga class because I am late. I will not do that to students, because we all occasionally have things that slow us down. Please regularly arrive early. If you are late, still come to class, but be considerate. Always drive safely. It's not worth hurrying up to slow down. Just plan better.
2. REMOVE YOUR SHOES AT THE DOOR
Yoga is practiced barefoot. Please don’t track water, mud, dirt and street grime into the practice area. It has been swept clean prior to class. Our noses are often near the floor and our bare feet don't appreciate stones or water if asked to step off the mat. Place your mat and yoga accoutremont after you removing your shoes at the door. If your health or safety requires shoes during practice, please make sure they are clean and dry before coming in to the practice area.
3. TURN YOUR CELL PHONE OFF
I have been guilty of this 2 or 3 times in 30+ years of teaching. It is best to leave your phone in the car. If it must come in, turn the sound off. Yoga class is a time to unplug and unwind. Emails, twitter, facebook etc. will all still be there when you leave.
4. UPDATE YOUR TEACHER ON INJURIES, SURGERIES AND RECENT HEALTH ISSUES
The initial registration form informs me of past history and I teach to what I know about. If you have had recent health concerns, please bring it up to me before class, so that I can make general suggestions to you for modifications. I will also inconspicuously suggest modification during class if needed. They are important to help keep you safe.
5. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Anyone can practice yoga. Practicing it safely depends on you. No Pain, No Pain is my motto. If it hurts, stop. If it is uncomfortable, breathe, then ask a question, modify, or ease out of it for a moment. Everyone can benefit from your question.
Do not compare your practice to someone else's practice. We each have limitations that are unique to our body. There are ways to practice every pose with modifications that will get you the best stretch for your body at this time. Practice is this: a repeated set of movements that, over time, improves our ease of mobility, strength, and health.... over time means... sometimes minutes, weeks, years, and sometimes we might not ever look like the cover of Yoga Journal in this lifetime. Love yourself!
Lisa Davidson has been teaching Kripalu Yoga in the Boston Metrowest area for over 30 years. She is a Polarity practitioner and Reiki Master and Teacher. Lisa creates a safe yoga class that encourages strength, ease of movement, and meditative awareness while learning and modifying for the limitations of our bodies as we age. To schedule a private yoga session, polarity or reiki, email Lisa or contact Longfellow Health Center at 508 358-4900.