By Laura Hansen.
One of the most important goals of yoga is to attain liberation from self. We can practice selflessness by thinking of others. Instead of focusing on our own needs in a yoga class it is helpful to focus on supporting others. While this article does include some specific tips, it is impossible to plan for every eventuality. Maintaining humility and showing respect for others can guide us to the right behavior in any situation.
Show respect for the teacher.
Each teacher may approach the practice a little differently. A different approach is not necessarily wrong. Practice mental flexibility by going with the flow and staying in the moment.
If you have injuries which will limit your ability to perform certain poses tell your teacher before class (Do not disrupt the whole class).
After the class, thank the teacher. If you have a lot of questions for the teacher, you may want to schedule a private session.
If the teacher has made a difference in your life or in your practice it may be appropriate to provide small gifts to them at auspicious times for example incense at holidays.
Show respect for other practitioners.
Get to class on time and get settled prior to the start of class.
Turn off all electronics.
Be careful about where you place your mat. In a room with mirrors, make sure you stagger your mat so the people behind you can see. Never set your mat down right in front of someone. Give other practitioners as much space as the room permits.
When practicing, stay on your mat. You may have to adjust your position so that your feet don’t hit your neighbor in the plow pose.
Keep your eyes on your mat and your practice. Don’t stare at other people.
Limit distractions to others which might include things like heavy cologne, hot-dogging, bathroom breaks and leaving early.
Show respect for yourself.
Maintain proper personal hygiene. Some yoga classes leave little personal space for practitioners. When you are in close contact with others, personal hygiene becomes very important.
Avoid clothing that might be offensive to some people.
Show respect for the studio.
Pay for your classes, and sign in when you arrive.
Pick up after yourself in the dressing room and yoga room.
Consider bringing small gifts like a bowl of hair ties for the women’s locker room.
The practice of asana (postures) follows the practice of the Yamas and Niyamas in traditional yoga. This means that asana is only practiced after we make some progress towards selflessness. Truly, the ego must be left at the door. When we learn to leave the ego at the door the following things occur:
Judgment of other students and teachers is replaced by acceptance, humility and compassion.
Fear and anxiety are replaced by peace of mind and faith in the process.
Self-seeking will gradually dissipate and we will become more interested in others.
The practice of selflessness is considerably more challenging than asana practice but the benefits are worth the effort. Until it becomes natural to think of others, use the tips provided as a guide for how to approach a studio yoga practice.
- Read more of Laura Hansen.
- Kundalini Yoga
- 8 Limbs of Yoga
- 101 Yoga Quotes
- 101 Karma Quotes
- 101 Spiritual Quotes
- Yoga and Buddhism
- Practice Makes Perfect?
- Beginner's (Mind) Yoga
- Setting your Intention
- Cheap Yoga in Toronto
- Keeping a Light Heart
- Clearing away negativity
- The Ethical Code of Yoga
- Are you a Yogi off the Mat?
- A Yogic & Holistic Perspective
- Feel Better & Get Fit with Yoga
- Earth Web: We are all connected
- A yogic Transformation of a Cynic
- When you Fall off the Yoga Wagon