Please, please, please switch off that mobile phone, says Lexie Williamson

Yogis, by nature, are not sticklers for the rules. But in order for a class to run swimmingly there must be some dos and don’ts. Each yoga studio has its own list of polite requests, but here are my own random rules:

Mobile phones
A mobile phone on ‘vibrate’ is not on ‘silent.’ A vibrating phone in a handbag or deep in the pocket of a puffa jacket is hardly noticeable. A buzzing phone coming sharply to life and juddering across a wooden floor while you are all deep in the land of Savasana is a different matter. It’s a recipe for a heart attack or at the very least a severe case of bad vibes.

Territorial mats
Wherever you lay your mat, that’s your home (at least for the next 75 minutes). If you are a studio newcomer you may well have inadvertently pinched someone’s ‘spot’. But however much they give you the evil eye or huff and puff do not move. It is un-yogic to have a ‘spot’ in the first place. Embracing change is all part of the higher plan so you are actually doing them a favour.

Cover teachers
Play nice with the cover teacher. It’s not her fault that your instructor is away sunning herself in Goa for two weeks. Rather than snarling under your breath like a terrier as she enters, welcome her with open arms. Help her fathom the cryptic heating control panel or guide her gently to the dimmer switch. I speak from experience. Stepping into the space of a treasured teacher is nerve racking at the best of times.

Inappropriate clothing
Avoid wearing see-through leggings. Put all the lights on and do the bend over test in a full-length mirror to check. The person behind you does not want to see your pants in down dog. Men wearing running shorts: ensure that the crown jewels are safely housed to avoid doing an Alan Partridge in cobbler’s pose.

Wind cheaters
Never acknowledge a fart in class. Yoga involves a fair bit of contortion and the resulting occasional trump is perfectly normal and nothing to snigger about. We do, after all, have a posture called ‘wind relieving pose’ (Apanasana). The protocol if you or your neighbour does break wind – however loudly – is to simply stare stoically ahead (or up at the ceiling if in shoulder stand). Keep calm and carry on.

Lexie Williamson is a yoga teacher and health and fitness writer (pulseyoga.co.uk)

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