1. Arrive early
Arrive at least 10 minutes early. Rushing into a yoga class is stressful for both you and your classmates. Scurrying into a class after it is begun is not only embarrassing, but also distracting for your fellow yogis. Be sure to arrive on time, and give yourself the time needed to check in, put away your items, roll out your mat, and gather any props you will need for class.
2. Remove your shoes
Yoga is practiced with bare feet, and we prefer shoes to be kept at the studio entrance. By removing your shoes, you are not only helping to keep Leela clean, but you are respecting a space that is revered and cherished by others.
3. Be kind
Beyond the competition and showing off, please mind your mood. Gossip, complaining, and negative attitudes are not welcomed here. Be gentle and respectful in your communication. Like the saying says, everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind and respect others.
4. Notice the vibe
A yoga studio is by many considered a space for reflection, self-study, and focus, and maintaining a quiet atmosphere (if not an altogether silent one) supports this frame of mind. Granted, some days the studio has an air of social happy hour before class begins, and you will know this immediately upon walking in. But if you can see your fellow students enjoying the peace, meditating, and relaxing as you enter the yoga shala, keep it that way by refraining from chitchat. It is not only polite, but it is beneficial to your own state of mind.
5. Mind your personal hygiene
Apply the yogic principle of saucha, which means "cleanliness" or "purity." Personal hygiene is an integral part of practicing yoga. Ensure that you and your mat are clean before practice. Further, avoid heavy fragrances. Regardless of which end of the spectrum you are on, you’re subjecting those around you to your personal biome. Please make it a pleasant one.
6. Tell your teacher about any injuries
Many teachers like to give gentle (or sometimes more intense) assists in class, like guiding you deeper into a pose or shifting your position to correct misalignment. If you are sore, injured or just don not feel like being touched, please let your teacher know before class begins.
7. Devices are a no-no
No cellphones or other whistles, dings, and blips in class. By bringing your phone to class (even on silent!), you are distracting yourself and those around you. Expecting an important call or a do-or-die text? Consider skipping class altogether and returning when you can fully focus.
8. Make space for your fellow yogi
Yoga classes can get packed; when the last-minute stragglers file in, you will often see them scanning the room for a strategic spot to roll out their mat. Be neighborly by making room for them if it is available.
9. Be aware of your space
In a less-packed class, it is common courtesy to stagger your mats so that the person behind you has a clear view of the teacher. And unless you are practicing with your bestie or your sweetie, give your neighbor some breathing room. Lastly, mind your steps: it is polite to avoid walking on a fellow yogi’s mat.
10. Honor your limits
For your safety, as well as respect for the teacher and other students, do not go to a class that is beyond your current level. Work from where you are, not where you think you should be. Never force to hold or attain a pose. Ask for modifications and practice your moves with control.
11. Yoga is not a competition
Looking for a hardcore workout, complete with grunting, straining, and popping veins? Please look elsewhere. Leela is not the space for showing off your superhuman strength or your competitive edge. Remember, you are here for yourself - not anyone else.
12. Respect your teachers sequencing
Taking modifications of a pose is totally fine, for example, to replace upward-facing dog with cobra or do a child’s pose instead of a downward-facing dog when tired. But that does NOT mean going to handstand or taking a seated twist while the class is in Warrior II. Yoga is a collective and dynamic practice, and you are an individual within the collective. Your vibration and actions have an impact on the people around you, and you must be responsible for your how your energy impacts the space.
13. Cannot stay for savasana? Leave before.
Absolutely, positively have to leave class early? Let your teacher know before class, position yourself close to the door, and be sure to leave before savasana begins. When it’s time to leave, pack up and scoot out as quietly as you can. Many of your classmates live for savasana, and by packing up and shuffling out during the most meditative and restful stage of the entire class, you are not only denying yourself the benefits, but you are also disrupting everyone else.
14. Threat equipment with care
If you are borrowing the studio’s props (mats, blocks, blankets, straps, or bolsters), be sure to treat the equipment with care, clean them after use, and return them to their rightful place upon leaving. Fold your blanket; do not just drop it in a heap. If you borrowed a mat from the studio, wipe it down before replacing it. Better yet, bring your own mat! Leaving your space as clean as you found it is respectful to the studio and students in later classes.
15. Be mindful and efficient
Do not take up unnecessary time in the showers, using the hair dryer etc. Be quick and efficient, so everyone who needs it can have their turn.