Hot Steamy Love {Yoga Class Etiquette}


I know I’m just asking for trouble with that title. Can you imagine the kinds of searches this is going to pop up in? Some people are about to be sorely disappointed and my spam blocker is about to be working overtime.

Anyway, today I’m going to discuss yoga class etiquette. (Sorry, creepers.)

In the multitude of classes that I have attended I’ve encountered some people who were occasionally disgusting, like this woman who insisted on repeatedly blowing her nose on her pant leg while in downward dog (and yet there were tissues like RIGHT THERE). People that don’t do a lot of yoga might also assume that I’ve heard a lot of random flatulence, but I haven’t. I can count on one hand the amount of times broken wind in class and it was never, ever me. I swear. Neither of these things are against the rules of course, as is not wearing deodorant although sometimes I wish it was.

However here is a short list of things that are generally considered to be standard and obvious for a yoga class:

  • No shoes in the room.
  • Try to arrive a little early. Obviously stuff happens, but it’s distracting when people are still coming in when class has already started. Some studios will lock you out if you’re late.
  • Things you may need: a mat, a towel if you think you might sweat a lot (one guy in my Bikram class used to bring a Shamwow), something to drink (preferably non-alcoholic), blocks, straps, or both. A studio can often provide many of these things for you if you don’t have them. Things you definitely don’t need: your iPad.
  • For hot classes, when you enter the room don’t leave the door hanging open unless otherwise instructed. It lets all the hotness out.
  • Don’t shout. Talking in a low volume is okay – unless you’re at Bikram and then they don’t really like you talking or making any kind of eye contact at all – but a lot of people get there early so they can get into their zone and it kind of kills the relaxing vibe when you are yelling at Melissa about the chai you just bought at Whole Foods.
  • No cell phones. Or at the very least turn it off. In my regular studio they have generously provided space at the back of the room where we can put our bags if we like, but nothing will kill Savasana faster than someone’s obnoxious phone.
  • No gum.
  • If you normally bathe in perfume or cologne, please don’t that day. In a heated room the smell gets exponentially magnified and it can be really nauseating.
  • Don’t eat in the room. You would think this would be a given. But no, I was in a class once where this girl next to me was eating what looked like the remainder of her lunch with a duffel bag full of garbage piled up practically on my mat. My head almost exploded. I wish I could have gotten up and moved, but I really liked my spot right next to the heater and I was there first. I also know I probably sound like a huge snob, but frankly I just don’t care. She could have finished that sandwich in the lobby. Which leads me to…
  • Be mindful of your fellow yogis. Everyone deserves to have at least a little of their own space regardless of how crowded it gets.

These things all seem pretty reasonable right? Well recently, I got to add something new to the list. This may not be widely considered to be an actual studio rule, but in my opinion IT SHOULD BE.

  • NO PDA. For the sake of everyone else around you just don’t. Please.

I’m not kidding…people were making out in the studio. I’m not big on public displays of affection as it is and maybe I’m a big ol’ prude, but the last thing I want to see when I’m waiting for a class to start are sweaty people whispering sweet nothings to each other or whatever they were saying because I was trying desperately to NOT hear or look directly at them. I love my husband to the ends of the Earth, but it was wicked hot in that room, never mind the fact that there are also 30 other people in there. There’s a time and a place and this, in my opinion, was neither of those things.

It’s probably my bad for putting my mat next to the two mats that were practically on top of each other when there was plenty of space to spread out, but frankly this was just not on my radar of things I would ever see in an innocent yoga class. I’m not talking about a high school or college-aged couple either. These people were at least 15-20 years my senior so now I’m wondering if when I reach a certain age, I’m just going to quit caring what other people think and do whatever I want in public. Maybe one day I’ll start going out without pants because I can and who cares if it’s offensive.

Who knows. Anyway I’m sure they are probably very nice and I’m happy for them that they are so in love, but the rest of us could have been spared the show. That’s not what I paid my $16 for.

Have you ever seen anything odd/funny/offensive in a yoga or group fitness class? Does PDA gross you out?

~ Salt


25 thoughts on “Hot Steamy Love {Yoga Class Etiquette}

  1. Laura says:

    Yes yes yes! I wish they’d post these on every yoga room everywhere!

    And I think you’ve just inspired my Vaientine’s Day workout (the class, not the PDA)!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Hahaha! I agree with you. One of the studios I frequent does have something like this posted in the locker room which is nice. Unfortunately some people still don’t pay attention to it.

    • runsaltrun says:

      Funny story…I came in the next day and told my coworker about what I had seen and she apparently had been out at an area bar just after I would have gotten out of the class and thinks she saw the same PDA couple in the bar. Those people apparently get around.

  2. txa1265 says:

    I think you just gave a new meaning to ‘Hot Yoga’! 😀 My older teen son says that PDA is why they invented movie theaters … or at least why he wants to go this week!

    I honestly don’t think it is an age thing – I mean, I love to hold hands, kiss, and so on and engage in light PDA in public … but there is a time and place for things, and there is also just basic showing respect for others. A little smooch as you enter before you each hit the mat is one thing … but making out in the studio?!?

    And really it all comes back to common decency vs. a sense of entitlement. Too many people have an attitude of ‘I am paying to be here so I will do WHATEVER I want’. Never mind that everyone else is also paying.

    People laugh or get annoyed at all of the ‘rule boards’ or the massive stack of fine print documents with every product we buy. But guess what? There are several idiots behind every one of those things! ugh!

    • runsaltrun says:

      I was just having that conversation with my husband the other night. We have a large plastic container that we keep a bunch of B’s toys in and on the underside of the lid there is a diagram of a baby in the container with a big X through it. He joked about it and I was like “well it’s on there for a reason!”

      I think hand holding and such in public is sweet and we definitely do that too. This was just WAY WAY WAAAAAY over the top!

  3. Kelly @ Turned up to Eleven says:

    But you don’t understand Melissa this Chai is EFFING AMAZING!!! And VEGAN! LISTEN TO ME MELISSA! (sorry that part made me laugh out loud in my office).

    PDA – simple smooches, no problem, full on make-out and/or groping EW. GET A ROOM! Even when one is drunk it’s over done and sick.

    I would think most of these would be a given but clearly people always surprise us, don’t they?

  4. Andrea says:

    I only went to hot yoga once and I loved that they told us to stop and do child’s pose whenever we needed. I felt light headed several times and definitely took their advice. I really hated though that they asked us not to leave the room at all during class. It made me feel really anxious when I started to not feel great. I could have definitely used all of your tips before my first class!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Oh that’s terrible! Child’s pose is great, but it’s not a fix for everything. In my vinyasa classes they do encourage us to leave the room if we start feeling really ill, which I think is important and something that I don’t like about Bikram. I’ve had instructors that have gotten really snotty towards people that left and it was such a turn off for me! If you feel sick, you feel sick!

  5. piratebobcat says:

    I’ve seen the craziest stuff in gyms and yoga class! I don’t understand people. Last time a lady went to the paper towel dispenser and emptied it one at a time into her purse! WTF?

  6. kristenk says:

    Haha this post is awesome! I swear that half of the people on earth are total idiots. I was nervous about taking a yoga class, but after seeing what some people do in class I feel a lot better about being a newbie 🙂 And no, I haven’t signed up for one yet, but there are quite a few free yoga classes in Philly in February (a new studio is opening soon and while they are building the studio they are having free Saturday classes at Whole Foods and free Sunday classes at Lululemon) so you may be getting a few questions from me soon!

  7. Run Pilou Run! says:

    Another big no-no from me: guys, if you do Bikram, please wear tight clothing, e.g. speedos, lycra boxer briefs, something that keeps the boys IN and OUT of view. I have seen quite a few boys, and I do NOT like! Put them away!

  8. beewhobabbles says:

    This made me laugh out loud.

    My friend told me that her boyfriend joined her for yoga recently and during one of the poses he actually (playfully) bit her butt cheek. Come on. It’s yoga, not a nightclub!

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