Class Etiquette at Janati
Foundation Yoga Practices – Yama and Niyama
The Yoga Tradition has ten suggestions for maintaining harmony in our external and internal environments, known as in sanskrit (the language of Yoga) as “yama” and “niyama”. Many would say that the practice of these two limbs of yoga are the most important, as they are the foundation for the rest of the practice. Below, under the headings described by the sage Patanjali, we have included options for each practice. Please consider the following.
Practices to cultivate harmony with the external environment (“Yama”)
1. Love, kindness and respect for all (in Sanskrit, “Ahimsa”)
- Arrive in class on time. Late arrivals are not permitted.
- Relish the quiet J Practice rooms are a sanctuary from a busy world. Please enter, setup and practice quietly.
- Yoga Mats are sacred space. Please do not walk on, touch, or move someone else’s yoga mat without permission.
- Turn off the electronics. Our practice is an opportunity to unplug.
- Respect the teacher, the traditions and the teachings.
- Stay until the end of class. The relaxation-based meditation at the end (“savasana”) is the single most important part of class. This is where the practice and its benefits sink into your cells (cellular memory develops from here) and where your body-mind integrates into wholeness.
- Refrain from cursing, gossip or bringing drama into the space.
2. Honesty & Integrity (“Satya”)
- Communicate information about any injuries (past or current), limitations, or concerns to the teacher before the beginning of class.
- Notify the teacher immediately if a posture or assist/adjustment/enhancement/correction is uncomfortable – especially if it causes pain or discomfort.
- Listen to your body, it knows. Use your yoga practice as an opportunity to foster a meaningful relationship with your body-mind. Don’t do anything painful – it will not benefit you and is not “yogic”.
3. Not taking what is not earned or freely given (“Asteya”)
- Stay immersed on your mat and in your own practice. What others are doing is their business.
- Remember to pre-pay for your session before taking your first class.
- Cultivating a generous and considerate attitude towards others.
4. Moderation and Action from Pure Intention (“Brahmacharya”)
- Wear practical, non-revealing yoga clothing.
- Let go of envy, judgment and criticism – they hurt the one carrying it more than anyone else.
- Honor where you are at today and what you can do today – yoga is not a competition and no one is watching.
5. Simplicity, non-accumulation (“Aparigraha”)
- Your belongings will come in the practice room with you, and go into one of the empty cubbies. Please only use one cubby, and refrain from leaving belongings on the floor where they can become obstacles to practice.
- We do not sell bottled water, however we welcome you to refill your reusable water bottle from the cooler. This helps us keep our footprint small.
Practices to cultivate harmony with the internal environment (“Niyama”)
1. Cleanliness (“Shaucha”)
- Remove outdoor footwear upon entering the space. Coats and shoes can be left in the entrance. Socks and bare feet only once we get to the carpet please.
- Consider personal hygiene. Please shower prior to attending class; using soap, deodorant, toothpaste and mouth wash as needed. Perhaps bring a small towel for perspiration.
- Avoid perfumes, colognes, and anything else aromatic. Strong scents can create difficulty in breathing.
- After class please tidy up your area: mats, props (blankets, blocks, bolsters, straps), and water bottles.
- If you are sick, stay home. With 24 hours notice we are happy to offer you a make up class within the session.
2. Contentment (“Santosha”)
- Keep an open mind. The cultivation of contentment involves being present with what is without expectations or judgment. Not everything is to our preference, and that’s ok. Let’s be patient with each other and give the benefit of the doubt.
- Practice gratitude for your practice, experiences, group (known as “sangha”), teacher, and the teachings.
- Smile and Enjoy – after all, Yoga is awesome
3. Discipline, dedication (“Tapas”)
- At Janati Yoga School we offer guided yoga practices. Please do the practice as the teacher is teaching it. If something does not work for you, please connect with the teacher to learn appropriate variations and modifications. There is method behind the perceived “yoga madness”
4. Self-study and understanding (“Svadhyaya”)
- Yoga is most comfortable on an empty stomach.
- If you need to eat, be aware of what you eat and when you eat before coming to class. Typically a meal is eaten 3 to 4 hours prior to practice, and a snack is eaten 1 to 2 hours prior to practice. If you need a quick energy boost before practice – perhaps a piece of fruit (half an apple or banana), a handful of nuts, or half a granola bar.
- Stay appropriately hydrated, which means being hydrated before coming to class.
- Keep posture variations appropriate – understand the importance of foundations.
5. Faith in a higher inner knowing (“Ishvara Pranidhana”)
- Open your heart to the potential of all possibilities.
- Namaste – this traditional yogic greeting translates to “the light and the good in me sees and honors the light and the good in you”