Hello, my friends. Students. Fellow helpers. Here. There. If you’re reading this, I hope it helps you. It may not pertain to all studios or practices, but I would find that most of it would be relevant wherever you practice. No one has ever spelled these things out for me, but I would imagine they would be helpful to hear. I’m learning more and more that my job is to spell things out for y’all. I realize that not everyone has devoted their life to the study of yoga, and I totally respect that. Part of my responsibility is to go out and get these experiences so that I can share them with you, should they be beneficial to your evolution and healing. Some are on the website, some are posted throughout the studio, and I address some things in class, but I’m usually telling you where to put your hands and your feet, or what book to order, or what’s in my smoothie…. So I understand that there are always gaps, and of course…. We are so incredibly human, thank goodness, and we forget…. So here goes…
As we all tend to do as we get around family, we have gotten a little less mindful, and a lot more comfortable. Which. I. LOVE. The family part. Not the less mindful part…. It is honestly beautiful to sit around and watch new friendships happen in the studio and to watch people connect. That is the soul reason these doors are open. For connection. But just like my twang starts to get thick when I get around my family…. Our mindful practices have gotten a little thin. Don’t worry. As your teacher, I take full responsibility. One- I’ve been away. Two-I’m pulled in a lot of directions telling a lot of people a lot of things, so of course, we must always go back to the beginning. My favorite thing to do is hug it in and start at the beginning. Three-I realize maybe I never told you. So here I am with the 411. On this new moon. In this new infinite year…
There are NO cell phones in the yoga room. None. Nonezo. Notta. Under any circumstances. Yoga is the one place where we can practice turning it off. The noise. The stimulation. The dinging. The ringing. The distraction. The very sight of a phone is distracting. So. You cannot bring it in the practice room. None of you. Any of you. If you feel the need to be hooked into your phone right up until class starts, that is entirely your business, and I will love you, always…. you can sit in the lobby. With me. And my phone. As it dings and rings and I try and get just the right playlist…. If you have people that may need you, you can practice trusting that the world will be ok for the hour that you take care of yourself. I have been a single mother for 17 years. And she’s driving now. And she can’t get ahold of me when I’m practicing or teaching. And it drives her nuts sometimes. And I worry. And no exceptions. If you see someone with their phone in the yoga room, feel free to kindly let them know our studio policy.
When the teacher comes in, it is time for you to stop telling your story. Immediately. Not when you’re finished. Not in a quieter tone. It’s time for practice. This would be best practice anywhere. With any teacher. In any space. You have the opportunity to raise awareness here, to be the example, whether you are the talker or the listener. Shhhhh…
Keep conversations on the quiet side. Again it is amazing that we are a family. For some, actually many, they are new, and they are coming into perhaps the ONLY peaceful place they go, ever. Classes are crowded now, and there are more and more beautiful conversations to be had. Let’s just be conscious of the noise level and the content of the conversations. The energetic/vibrational quality. Is it kind? Is it necessary? Lately the conversations are getting louder and louder, sometimes gossipy and negative, so your work is to be mindful and keep the environment inviting for everyone, not just friends or groups.
Look around. Especially you OG yogis. Extra especially if you’re a studio ambassador or instructor. Is someone new? Newer? Do they look like they have a question. If you did not see me personally explain the studio and props, or you see they do not have blocks, please offer kind, simple assistance. Going to yoga is weird. We all know that. Try and think back to when you began yoga. How did you feel? Did someone help you? Let’s connect on a higher level.
Shoes/purses/yoga accessories…. all the STUFF that y’all bring to yoga, leave it in the lobby. Or your car. 1-the classes are crowded, and there’s just no room for more stuff. 2-y’all don’t need it. Blocks are good. Perhaps a strap/blanket. Bolsters are not needed until the end of class unless you are at a particular class. Less is always gonna be more.
Clean up after yourselves. Take a few extra seconds to make sure the things are put back neatly, and ready for the next practitioner to come in and get to be in an orderly place. Help each other ❤️
Food…. For most, you should not eat two hours, give or take, before practicing these special practices. The entire experience of yoga is to be lighter. Higher. It’s hard to get into all of the dietary and philosophical teachings of yoga and diet in a class or a quick blog, but they are all intimately connected, and I believe, incredibly important. The first tenet of yoga is to not harm. This is practiced in our choice of food, and how the consumption of our food affects us. Whatever you ingest will affect your practice. Your body. Your mind. Your spirit. Eat light. Eat kindly. If you don’t believe me…. Dig in. Eat it all. Have dessert. Go to yoga. Observe how you feel. Adjust.
Water…. Your hydration is extremely important, and ultimately, like everything else, your responsibility. You’re gonna need a LOT of water, here on earth as a human being…. But you don’t need it during practice. When you grab your water bottle, no matter how mindful you are being…. you are coming out of your practice. You are coming out of any conscious breathing and moving that is available to you in that time. It’s another distraction. To help in these thirsty situations, I try and make sure I drink enough water. Daily. Then, I do not take my water bottle in. If I find myself fidgety or ‘thirsty’ I try and acknowledge those feelings, those desires, witness them, and let them pass until my practice is over. I get back to my practice.
It’s ok to come out of a pose. It’s ok to run pee. It’s ok to ask a question. It’s ok to run grab a prop. It’s ok to be kind.
If you come in early, before other classes are finished, you should not talk in the lobby until someone opens the door to signal class is over. The yogis that are still in practice are in the most difficult and important part of practice, and our little lobby wall is not soundproof. In fact, you can hear everything in the practice room that happens in the lobby. Please come in silently until we come out of the room all yoga dazed and confused.
If you’re hot, rest. Dizzy? Rest. You’ll learn as you go. You’ll get stronger soon. You can come in and out of practice as you need, and as you are able to regulate your own breathing. Diet, breathing, and pacing will have a huge impact on your body temperature, as well, and the good news is you’re in control of those.
If you are practicing with an injury or illness, please speak to me, Dani, to help you with modifications. I am a certified yoga therapist, as well as a professional counselor, and I am here to help. There may be options as you heal or recover that may make your practice more accessible and helpful.
The speaker is where it is. It ain’t even fancy. It’s one speaker-hole where all of the sound comes out. If you are sensitive, you’ll have to move away from the speaker toward the front of the class. If I ever get to writing Ellen, maybe we’ll get some surround sound… In the meantime, do not ask the teacher to adjust. You adjust. More volume, close to the speaker, less volume, away from the speaker.
Where the mats go. I will try this week to have some sort of marker for rows. You do not have a space. I know this is hard, I, too, have a favorite spot. Let’s be unattached. It’s a practice…. From now on we are leaving the spots around the walls for those who need the wall support. If you practice regularly, and it’s one of the crowded classes, you will need to move toward the interior of the room so that anyone who needs the wall can have access to it.
If someone comes in after class starts, move closer to each other side by side to make room. Don’t hesitate. Just be helpful. No one comes to yoga late on purpose. They’ve made a great effort to get there, and still walk in, even though they’re late, so let’s make it kind.
This is all I can think of for now. Of course, there is always more. If you do get ahold of this article, please be a helper, as the studio is always a reflection out into our community. I hope you find it all useful, and can even carry it into other mindful practices and relationships that you have outside the studio.
ALL my heart,