Teaching Yoga

5 Ways to Break the Ice Before Class

For exclusive access to all our stories, including sequences, teacher tips, video classes, and more, join Outside+ today.


Those few minutes before class
starts can be mighty awkward in some studios. In some scenarios, you see the
same people on a regular basis, but never speak to them. It’s hard to make
friends in yoga class. You’re not supposed to talk during the poses and it can
be hard to strike up a conversation when people are starting to get into their
“yoga zone,” mentally preparing for class. After all, a lot of people
come to yoga to get to know themselves better, and don’t
really want to socialize.

Whether you want to make friends in
yoga class or not, I’ve found that it can be a lot less awkward if you chat at
least a little bit with your neighbors before class starts.

Here are a few of my favorite ways
to break the ice:

Ask a yoga question. “Are you in the teacher
training?” I love to ask people about teacher training because either
they’ll start spewing about their training or talk about how they want to be in
a teacher training someday.

Tell a yoga joke. My favorite is: “Wow! Close quarters,
huh? I apologize in advance for all the times I will bump into you during this
class–I’m sure it will happen!” Of course, this doesn’t work if you’re not
in a crowded class.

Find common ground. You’re both in yoga class, for starters.
Do you love, love, LOVE the teacher? Are you using the same brand of yoga mat
as your neighbor? Instant conversation starter!

Give a compliment. I’m big on compliments. When I can’t think
of something to say to someone, I find something I like about their appearance
or their belongings and I pay them a sincere compliment. Everyone loves
compliments, and it’s a great practice for me to seek out the positives around

Don’t sweat it. If all else fails, don’t worry about
making friends in yoga. Show up, do your practice, and let friendships develop
naturally over time.

How do you break the ice?