And never, ever walk, stand or sit on another's yoga mat unless you are invited to do so!
...Not chewing gum in class seems so obvious, and yet that's another reminder that we're all in a different place in our practice. What I appreciate from a teacher is one who can help raise awareness in the class about how to work with sensory withdrawl (pratyahara) for those next to the gum-chewer, as well as recognizing the noise we make inside our own minds (vritti?). The distractions are ever present in class while the awareness is transferrable to any situation.
Please take your shoes off as you enter the studio! Please DO NOT walk through the studio with your shoes on! Drives me crazy!
As a Yoga teacher gum chewing is one of my pet peeves. The reasoning behind not chewing gum in class is really very simple, the mind is focused subconsciously on 'chewing' we want to slow and tame the mind so we give it the breath to focus on. Its always interesting to me to watch gum chewing as well as the movement of hands, within those lies a lot of information about the minds neurosis. Often when a yoga student is in a posture the hands will display dis-ease, as in 'signing' the neurosis that the mind is still holding onto.
Regarding moving your mat to accommodate others, this is probably my biggest pet peeve. So much is said when watching students place their mats. In LA, where I had my Yoga training, there was very little problem with moving your mat without discussion, it could be likened to driving on the freeway, if you learn the language of change and accommodation on the freeway you are likely to not get hurt, if not, the results were immediate. In Denmark where I teach this is not a skill that has had to be cultivated, in other words, there is still the attitude of 'my space'. So get into the flow, you are much more likely, although uncomfortable initially, to finally realize there is no 'you' and no 'them' just one breath and one-ness.
I would like to add something: Make room for others. Don't be territorial. If necessary, move your mat so that another person can have a space in the class.
Several years ago I decided I wanted to learn more about yoga. I went to a class at our local fitness center. THe large room was really full. I had onle been to one other yoga class in my life and I had no idea what I was doing and feeling very clumsy and self-conscious. About 15 minutes into the class, the instructor YELLS out, "Girl in the back! get rid of your gum. E don't chew gum in yoga!" She leterally screamed this at ME. Of course, everyone turned around and glared at me. I wanted to die right there and have not been to a class since. This year I have resolved to leave this awful experience behind me and have started a home practice. Now I totally get why gum is a no-no and not to mention a nasty habit, but at the time I was clueless.
Our teacher recommends eating an apple about an hour before class and I find that really helps my energy level. I also do not get nearly as much out of my practice if I am hungry - shakes, weakness, etc.
@Laura--Try to eat a filling and balanced four hours before so you won't be hungry during class. If you have to eat right before class, try something light suchas fruit or yogurt for energy.
I get that you shouldn't practice yoga on a full stomach, but I find it extremely bothersome to practice it on an empty stomach. When I'm hungry, my entire body feels weak and I find it really hard to hold standing poses or balances without shaking or wanting to give up. Plus I always leave class feeling weak and drained of all energy. Any tips?
Don't walk in the yoga practice area with your outdoor shoes.