Yoga Studio Etiquette: Top 10 Things to Remember When Visiting a Yoga Studio for the First Time

Growing up, I had a VERRRRY strict grandmother.  I mean, etiquette school level strict. My mother and aunts all went to etiquette school–which I didn’t really believe existed until much later in life and I saw the Mad Men Episode that had one in it.  (Who said you can’t learn from television!) At any rate, I know which fork to use at any given time, I know how to handle my glass, and I even know how to fold a few decorative napkins…Judson’s a lucky guy (my husband).

Since it is the new year, and we have a LOT of new folks coming into the studio, and because I visited a new studio today, I thought I would channel my grandmother, and teach you a little Yoga Studio Etiquette.

Let’s keep in mind, each studio is a little different.  I’m super proud of Our Studio because we are very low key, relaxed, and familiar–which I LOVE–and not all studios are like that, so remembering that not all studios are as laid back, here are some tips to make your first trip to a new studio comfortable and successful and as stress free as possible.

  1. Check the schedule and make sure you know what sort of class you want to take.  If you have questions, CALL. You can call us anytime at 423-290-2326. If someone is not at our front desk, we forward the phones directly to me, so you should get someone.  Now, not all yoga studios have that sort of 24/7 connection, so you may have to leave a message, but–at least here at Thrive, you’ll get someone.
  2. Arrive AT LEAST 10 minutes early.  Every time you visit a new studio, there are things to be done: waivers to sign, packages to purchase, usually a tour of some sort.  Come early enough to do these things without holding up the class or feeling stressed.
  3. Bring water.  Even if you’re going to a more gentle class, you’re going to need to drink water.  Yoga is a union between body and breath and when you breathe and move -you’ll need to drink some water.  The more active the class, the more you need to drink. Honestly, and this is from back in my Bikram Yoga days–you should probably have already had a LOT to drink before the class, in order for your body to properly flush the lactic acid that you will probably create during class.  (this is perfectly normal and proper hydration helps to really keep the soreness from lactic acid build up at bay.)
  4. Bring a yoga mat.  If you don’t have one, be sure to tell the person at the front desk, and ask if they have any you can use or rent.  Most studios require a mat rental, we do not, but definitely find out before you go (if you can), or bring your own.
  5. INSIDE VOICES! I know I’m forever guilty of NOT doing this…but especially if other classes are going on, be sure you talk with your inside voice.  Yes, we are supposed to be practicing yoga, and not being “attached” to the world outside of, but it’s always good to help the others that are practicing facilitate that practice by not being too distracting.  😉
  6. If you want to buy something, AWESOME!  I recommend buying it after class if you aren’t 10 minutes before the class starts.  
  7. Talk to your neighbor!  Now, this may be sorta sacrilege in some yoga studios–but by golly, I’m going to recommend this til the cows come home–which may show you my southern roots.  Folks need to be nice in yoga studios! I hate going into stuffy places where I feel like an outsider, so I try my best to at least smile, say hello, and be open to the possibility of a relationship forming.  Yes, I know not all studios seem to have that sort of atmosphere, but you can “help” them. 🙂
  8. Practice your practice.  Listen, yoga is a lot like golf.  You’re never gonna beat it. The person to your left may have been a gymnast in a past life, so legs behind his/her head was something they were basically doing from the womb–you don’t know, but don’t let what they’re doing distract you from what you’re doing.  Your practice, your yoga, is the marriage between your breath and your movement so breathe and move. You’re doing the right thing.
  9. One of my favorite memories of the first time I visited the studio I would later train with–the teacher–it was a heated power yoga class–he looked a little like Rocky’s coach, and sounded  JUST like him (he was from South Philly)–he said, “listen, if you don’t know what you’re doing, who cares? Just get in the back and fake it til ya make it.” I LOVE THAT! Yes, some schools of yoga are MUCH bigger sticklers, but as for me and my studio and my practice, just go in there, breathe and move and “fake it til ya make it.”
  10. This is YOUR PRACTICE.  Remember that. The teacher gives you cues.  If the cue he/she gives hurts/doesn’t feel right/isn’t resonating with you…then by all means don’t do it!  Teachers are there to inspire, to encourage, and to inform–they/we –aren’t the be all know-alls. We 100% aren’t in your head or in your body….SOOOO–practice what your body says.  If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it. If your body says CHILD’S POSE, STAT–do it! I don’t care if everyone else is in Warrior II or walking around the room like crabs..you practice your practice, and your body will thank you.  

I promise if you do these things, you’ll have a good experience whether you’re in a beginners class and you’ve been practicing 25 years, or if you’re in a heated yoga class and it’s your first time ever.  You may not be able to do every pose, but you do what feels good to you and you have a good time. Remember, don’t compare yourself to the person in the front or to the side. Your body is different. God made you perfectly.  It took your entire life for your body to be the way it is today, one yoga practice isn’t going to undo it all. It very well may strike you to the core, but you have years to practice yet, so take your time and enjoy the practice and the journey that is a regular yoga practice.

What do you think?  How was your first visit to our studio?  Have you ever had an amazing first visit to a studio?  What made it awesome? Have you ever had a HORRIBLE experience?  Please, let me know! That’s the only way we can get better. Until the next time, keep practicing!!