What to and what NOT to do on your mat at a yoga studio
Every studio has it's own vibe. Some have rules that are more stringent than others, like please don't talk to your neighbor while on your mat - have the conversation in the lobby. Some want you to lay your mat out as close to the next person as possible so that the studio can fill the room, others you leave at least a foot of personal space. Those are all flexible rules of etiquette. However, there are a few things you should and should never do in a yoga studio! Let me be your guide...
I really thought this one was a no-brainer. I really did! But guys, it is absolutely NO OKAY to sing along with the music, at any time of the class. Nobody want to hear you. Especially at the end in peaceful savasana! So leave your singing skills to the shower, shut your mouth, and focus on breathing, mmmmk? That said, it's totally ok to breathe, and breathe loudly. That's the whole point of yoga! So please, breathe on! But if your jam comes on, keep your trap shut.
And please; don't strike up a conversation with the person on the mat next to yours mid-class. I feel like that's also really obvious but it happened last week in a class I was at. No - I do not go to yoga to listen to you complain about how hard the class is for you. Keep those thoughts to yourself until after class, and find a friend to complain to if you feel so inclined!
It's completely ok to show up to a studio without a yoga mat! Every good studio will have them for you to use. The jerk studios charge you to use them and the good studios let you use them for free. But let's just talk about how you clean those communal mats. Usually, there's a bottle of cleaner somewhere in the room. The proper way to do it is to spray the mat, wipe it down (with a clean towel, not the sweaty one you were using in class!) and then hang that mat up to dry. You don't want to roll up a wet mat! It will get so funky so fast. Plus, have you ever rolled out a mat, sat down to collect your thoughts before class begins, and as you're sitting there you realize your bum is getting wet... It's so gross! So please. Wipe your communal mat down and hang it to dry. Not down with communal mats? Me either. Here's one of my fave yoga mats to buy and bring with you.
Ahhhh, yoga pants, everyone's favorite! Myself included. If you invest a little cash into your yoga pants, odds are good you can wear them out and people will think nothing of it because they look so good! Now, you don't *need* to have expensive yoga pants to hit up a yoga studio. You do, however, need to ensure they're not see-though when you bend over. In yoga, you're going to spend about half that class bent over to some degree with your bumbum in the air. It reverses the blood flow to your brain and strengthens (read: tones) your arms. Yay! But that also means the fabric stretching across your butt is stretched thin. So do a test before you head out to your favorite yoga studio: Bend over in good light and make sure nothing "comes to light" if you catch my drift... These are my favorite go-to opaque pair to wear, FYI.
In a yoga class last month, a woman's pants were so bad, it was pornographic. I could see everything! I didn't know her, but I approached her after class to let her know (I'd want someone to tell me if you could literally see all my lady parts - all of them). She looked at me and laughed and said, "Oh, thanks for letting me know!" Then she showed up the following week in the same pants. I don't think she got it. If a stranger tells you your pants are see through, they're SUPER see through! When your pants become so sheer that there are no mysteries as to what lies beneath, it's time for a new pair.
While on the subject of apparel, let's talk about the other end - your chest! Now, I'm speaking from experience here. I'm guilty as charged. While you're doing the bend over test with your pants, make sure the girls stay in your top! This has actually happened to me twice... First time was at an outdoor yoga class when I still lived in Minneapolis. It was a warm summer day, and I had just been to lululemon and bought an adorable ballet-slipper pink top. I didn't try it on before I bought it because it was so cute I had to have it! Fast forward to this outdoor flow. I'm flowin' and zenin' and all is well until I flop out of my top. Again and again. It was cut SO low, all hope was lost for that shirt. Then again when I was pregnant, I had a shirt that had passed the boobie-test. But with pregnancy comes a larger chest, and a larger chest wasn't going to work with this top... While I didn't fall out outright like I did with the pink shirt, I was spilling so far out of it there was no way I could be comfortable during class! Lesson learned. Do a boobie-test pre-yoga class. Here's one of my favorite, spill-over proof bras to invest in for a happy, peep show free class!
T&A, friends. Make sure yours is covered! And guys, this applies to you, too. Make sure your shorts have a liner in it or you wear compression shorts under them. Letting your member fly free for the whole class to see isn't very zen-like of you, k?
Yoga studios are heated to various degrees. They're crowded. So you'll want to bring a good water bottle like this one. The "yogi way" is to bring a reusable glass or metal water bottle. Most studios will have a drinking fountain or a water cooler with cups. Please - don't bring a cup of water into the studio! Someone WILL knock it over. Perhaps the teacher his/herself as they walk around the room adjusting! Or your neighbor as they bust out their side crow pose. So go ahead and bring a water bottle that won't spill if it gets knocked over, lest you ruin those beautiful bamboo floors your studio just installed!
Yoga studios all have their own sets of rules and etiquette. But some rules are standard across the board! Please, don't make these etiquette mishaps. Follow the rules of the yoga studio land and be respectful to the yogis around you! Namaste.