For some reason this week I’ve been seriously craving yoga.
My workout preferences definitely vary with my mood and I’ve just really been into the calming effect of being on my yoga mat and getting lost in my practice recently.
I know I typically talk a lot of running around here, but since I’ve been spending so much time at the yoga studio this week (both teaching and taking classes), I wanted to share some thoughts & observations that may be useful to both new and veteran yogis!
Turn off your cell phone!
You’d think this one would go without saying but all too often I find myself being jarred back to reality in the middle of my practice by obnoxious ringing or vibrating – PLEASE turn off your phone before entering the class! (**even if you leave your phone in your bag, if it’s IN the room please put it on silent or off…I promise you, those of us closest to your bag CAN hear it vibrating during class!)
If you arrive late enter quietly!
Again, it amazes me that I feel that this needs to be pointed out, but in the class I went to last night alone 5 people walked in late. It was interesting to observe those who snuck in quietly, rolled out their mat gently and joined the class like they were there all along versus those who stumbled in, dropped their armload of stuff with a thud, slapped their mat onto the ground and managed to disrupt everything and everyone around them in the process.
I understand life gets in the way and you may be running a few minutes late – hey, we’re glad you made it! – but please be considerate and enter the room quietly!
Contain your mess to your mat!
Most yoga studios or gyms will have some sort of locker of cubbies you can leave some of your stuff in – use them! You don’t need to park your large purse and winter jacket on the floor next to your mat. Try to limit the items around you to yoga related props (blocks, blanket, etc.) and a water bottle if you need one.
There’s limited space in the room so be a friendly mat neighbor and leave some room for your yoga buddy next to you! (Plus, as a yoga teacher I like to be able to navigate the room without worrying about tripping over your mountain of unnecessary stuff!)
When the teachers asks if you have any injuries tell them!
I promise you we’re not being nosey! We learn a lot about anatomy in our training and we’re knowledgeable as to what poses you should avoid if you are dealing with an injury – the last thing we want is for you to get (more) hurt in our class!
A good yoga teacher will tell you if there is a pose you should skip, if there is a way to modify it so it will put less stress on a certain body part, or if there is an alternate pose you can do instead!
Listen to your body
If your body is telling you that it needs a break, then by all means, take a break! I promise no one is going to think you aren’t good at yoga or can’t keep up. (Heck, for all they know you just ran 20 miles the day before training for your next marathon and your legs are a little tired!)
And here’s a secret…if you’re just not feeling a certain pose one day – don’t do it! Really! Feel free to make your practice your own and skip a pose that may not be working for you for whatever reason.
Props and adjustments aren’t just for beginners
Yoga props and adjustments from a teacher aren’t because you can’t do a pose and need “help”. Props and adjustments are to help you get the most out of the pose. Please don’t feel like you’re doing something “wrong” or are “not good enough” if you need a prop or a teacher comes over and gives you an adjustment – in fact I bet most teachers would tell you they LOVE getting adjusted during a class, it usually helps you access the pose a little deeper than you could on your own!
Don’t give up!
If you go to a yoga class and absolutely hate it, please don’t give up! There are many different styles of yoga and many different yoga teachers and you may just not have found the right fit – I can’t tell you the difference a good yoga teacher makes!