Creating a Sanctuary in the Yoga Room

The yoga room is a sanctuary. Leave your shoes, worries, and attachments outside.

We all love yoga because it’s so much more than a workout. In the yoga room, we find inner strength and focus. We find patience and serenity. And most importantly, we find our Selves. In this way, a yoga class is very different from a gym or a fitness class. And for this reason, we invite you to think of the yoga room as a sacred space – a sanctuary – where we heal our bodies, yes, but also where we enter into a state of moving meditation, share energy with our fellow yogis, and nurture our spirits.

Practicing with Intention
Because yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual endeavor, it’s important to practice consciously, with intention. That intention begins the moment we set foot in the studio. The etiquette that we encourage in the yoga studio grows out of this idea that every action has an intention behind it, and every action can contribute to the energy and success of others.

  • Arrive on time: Be in the yoga room, settled in, and ready to begin when class is scheduled to start. Everyone gets the most benefits when we start promptly. The teacher can devote adequate time to each step of our practice, and students worry less about running late or what they have to do afterward. Strive to arrive ten to fifteen minutes before class time to give yourself plenty of time to sign in, get situated, and find your focus before we begin.
  • Travel light: Bring only your mat, your towel, your water, and your Self into the yoga room. Other belongings–cell phones, keys, wallets, shoes and yes, your watch–should stay outside the yoga room, either in the lobby or in your car. These items can become distractions during practice. Even if you don’t touch them or leave them in a corner, these items are visual clutter that reminds us of “life outside of yoga”: our responsibilities, obligations, and attachments.
  • Be sip savvy: You may have noticed that there’s only one “official” water break during our 90-minute hot classes, and no water break during 60-minute classes. That’s because the best time to hydrate for class is…before class! It takes your body at least twenty minutes to absorb fluids once you drink them, and stopping to drink water can break your focus. If you really need a drink, make sure it’s water–and wait until the entire class is between postures, so that your action is less distracting to your fellow yogis.
  • Embrace the sweat: Sure, sweat may be running down your face, and it’s tempting to simply wipe it away. But the sweat does more than expel toxins from our bodies — it helps our bodies cool down. Wiping the sweat away actually may make you feel hotter (not to mention using up valuable energy best saved for the next posture)! Save all the towel action for your post-practice shower.
  • Strive to support your classmates: During yoga practice, we gain strength from the shared energy and support in the room. Help classmates maintain their focus by maintaining your own! Save conversations for outside the yoga room. Aim to move in unison with your fellow students. Think about how your actions in the yoga room will impact those around you.

Bringing this added level of awareness to your practice will deepen your experience right away. Being conscious of others helps break us out of our own mental “bubble” and allows us to plug into a group energy that is uplifting and energizing. Not only that; it’s remarkable to realize how often – both on the mat and off – we mentally go on autopilot. Moving with intention in every aspect of your yoga practice is the key to elevating your daily workout into something truly transformative.