Finding our feet - a light-hearted, semi-serious look at studio etiquette

We’re a few weeks into September now, and I am loving seeing lots of old faces - or should I say, previous students - back at the studio after taking the summer months, or even longer, off and away from their mats. I know full well of course, that often, life gets in the way of even our firmest of intentions, but I am always a little worried when I stop seeing my regulars around the place. And then of course, as soon as I call them to mind and am about to pick up the phone or drop them a text to check in, they show up! I swear it’s the universe at work every time!

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Along with our returning regulars, I’m also thrilled to welcome many new students to the studio. September can have that effect on people, and spur them into trying something new. We love beginners; I always tell them how excited I am for them to bring yoga into their lives, and applaud them for taking that first step. We were all beginners once, and remember that walking into a yoga studio for the first time can be a little daunting, and while studios vary a little in their culture, there are generally a number of unwritten rules, or protocol, that it is helpful to know as a new student, and perhaps, as a seasoned yogi, be reminded of once in awhile:

Please arrive on time for class, both for your own safety and out of respect towards your teacher, and your fellow students. We have a door locking policy once class is in session, and since actually getting out the door and to the studio is often the hardest part, it would be a shame to have made all that effort and be locked out! Nooooooooooo!

Please be sure to turn off, or at the very least, silence your phone and leave it outside the studio in one of the cubbies. Better still, leave it in your car. Also, please remove Apple Watches or devices of that nature that may go off during class and disturb not only your peace, but that of those around you. You will survive an hour without it, I promise!

Practice Ahimsa (non-harming): adopting a gentle, peaceful voice and attitude upon entering, exiting, and within the studio demonstrates respect both for the practice, and for those who come to yoga for a safe, centering and nurturing experience; where possible, reserve conversation for the lobby, especially anything vaguely political, in fact, don’t even go there - it’ll totally ruin your bliss!

Practice Saucha (cleanliness): please remove your shoes outside the studio in the designated area, in order to keep the practice space clean and safe underfoot. Socks too. Yes, yoga is a barefoot activity. Time to get over that foot phobia...

Please refrain from wearing strong perfumes that might cause irritation to those around you. Does anyone even wear perfume anymore?? We are a Young Living Essential Oils studio, which are completely non-toxic and furthermore can radically enhance your health and wellness levels, but don’t worry, we don’t diffuse like crazy and are mindful if folks are a little sensitive to certain aromas.

On the flip side, please mind your, uhum, personal hygiene. Of course you’re gonna sweat a little during class (or a lot if it’s Ashtanga…), but at least start off with a clean bod.

Please wipe down (rental) mats, and props after class, and put them back where you found them. Not that I’m at all fussy when it comes to neatly stacked blankets, without fringes showing, or different colored blocks in their designated cubbies….

Practice Asteya (non-grasping): in a full class, please be accommodating and make room for your fellow yogis. Yes, you most likely have that favorite spot; back row, away from the door, but remember change is good and us yogis are really skilled at non-attachment, right?....

Please mind your mat: avoid stepping on another student's mat. It’s sacred.

Never leave before, or during, Savasana. No, really. (And yes, people do.) It’s the best bit, and why we’re all here in the first place.

Try and stay focused on your own practice, instead of that of your fellow students, and then not what it looks like but how it feels - there’s a reason there are no mirrors at Breathe. We are all walking the same path, it’s just that we are at different points along that path.

Should you have questions, comments or concerns, please, where possible, address the instructor before or after class. As practicing yogis, we are all the most calm, patient, serene beings found on planet earth and are never in a hurry or rushing off to teach another class or finally eat something.

Lastly, remember to BREATHE! Your breath is the singular most powerful tool you have at your disposal your entire life! Let it nourish you, navigate you out of the rough patches and bring you the energy and vitality you need to live a wonderfully rich life full of love, light and joy!


Sue Whitmarsh

Please feel free to reach out with any questions.