Yoga can be intimidating, particularly if you’re a newbie. Not only could it be challenging to learn the lingo (pranayama wha?) and master the poses, however the overall vibe of yoga is quite different from your typical fitness class. And while most yoga studios are extremely warm and welcoming to beginners, there are a few important etiquette tips that are useful to know before you hit the mat. (Even if you’re a practised yogi, this might be a good refresher!)
Don’t Allow Distractions
You’ll have a lot of other opportunities to be distracted. In order to effectively practise yoga, your mind needs to be in the present moment. This is not just to encourage proper technique. Mindfulness is a very important precept to the practice. Furthermore, if you permit distractions while practising yoga, you’re much more prone to injury. Yoga is a challenging science to master, and it requires synchrony of the body and mind.
Be Considerate About Where You Put Your Mat
You don’t want to set up too near to someone else (and risk smacking her during sun salutations), however in a crowded studio, it could be difficult for latecomers to find a place if all the yoga mats are spaced far apart. In a full class, a good strategy to adopt is to stagger your mat, so it’s not perfectly lined up with your neighbour’s. This will assist you to avoid colliding arms or having a butt in your face when you do side straddle.
Don’t Force Results
Mastery of various asanas in yoga is considered to be a high priority. That said, knowledgeable yogis too frequently see new practitioners trying to rush the process; specifically, attempting to contort their body into an asana for which they are not ready. Of course, doing so drastically increases the risk of injury. Yoga teachers steadfastly teach against forcing things and being too goal-oriented.
Limit Conversation Before Class
If you’re with a friend, try make sure that you keep your voices down while you’re waiting for the teacher to begin. This is particularly important if the classroom climate is quiet. People typically come to yoga to unplug and find their zen, so it’s challenging to do that when you’re surrounded by chatter.
Don’t Forget About Props
For the uninitiated, a yoga prop is “simply an object that is used to aid the practice of yoga poses.” These objects include things like wooden bricks, foam blocks, yoga bolsters, “sticky mats,” belts and blankets. The purpose of these props is to develop the bodily alignment and strength necessary to further advance proficiency. Of course, developing these physical attributes helps to prevent injury as well.
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