Rant: Know your yoga etiquette

Here on the fourth floor, we love our yoga. What we don’t love is fellow yoga-goers who don’t respect the peace, tranquility and silence (!) of the space. 

As much as we learn to focus internally, have a clear mind and not succumb to distractions – when the person behind you rips up their mat or casually walks out for a bathroom break, it really grinds our gears. 

Having dabbled in moksha, ashtanga, hatha, yin and a myriad of other practices (you might call us ‘yoga tourists’ – we’re still settling on studios and types of yoga), we compiled a pretty robust list of yoga pet peeves from our combined years of experience. We’re sharing this so hopefully others will practice good karma and respect the space and people around them. 

We think this applies to many aspects of life, but (for the purpose of this post) especially yoga. When you’re attempting to listen to your instructor speak and someone awkwardly steps over you, then asks you to move your mat so they can fit? Worst. Show up early, get settled in and help make the class enjoyable for everyone. 

Leave your mat behind
If you don’t have enough time to stay for final shavasana, (in our opinion, one of most important parts of your practice) then take your towel, water and tip toe out of the room. Here’s what always gets us – LEAVE YOUR MAT. Ripping your mat off the floor and running out is distracting to your fellow yogis and a little rude to your instructor – especially when you take off as they’re still talking. Leave your mat, then come back and get it after you’ve changed. 

Before the instructor walks in is not a time to chat with your friends about your day or the cute guy in the class (tempting, we know) – save it for the change room. This is the time when you’re trying to get in the zone and perhaps practice a little self-meditation, while prepping yourself for the class ahead. So, shhh.

cute kitten doing yoga! (we had to)
Bathroom breaks
–    Bathroom breaks are distracting. Double the annoyance if someone walks out while you’re trying to hold dancers pose. You know how long the class is, plan accordingly.

It’s way easier to hold pigeon when people aren’t accidentally bumping you.

Towel policy

We hate when yoga studios have a ‘towel policy in effect.’ This policy is supposedly to guard against slipping. Not everyone sweats a lot (even in hot yoga) and it’s annoying that we either have to carry a towel, a yoga mat, wallet and a change of clothes, etc. or rent one for $2.

Enormous class sizes
If you’re feeling like a sardine, you’re probably not giving 100% to your practice. We think there shouldn’t be more than 20 people to one instructor. Otherwise, they’re not able to watch everyone carefully enough and yoga can be dangerous, yo. Especially if you’re trying to pull off some more advanced moves or attempt a handstand. 

That’s a lot of OM. 

Tiny change rooms
While we’ve been making our rounds of the city’s yoga studios, we’ve noticed that there’s one thing in common to all: tiny, cramped change rooms. 

To make matters worse, classes start and end back-to-back, so everyone is cramming into the room at the same time. If studios can’t expand their room sizes, we’d suggest posting the following signDear fellow Yogis, please respect the following rule when in our tiny change-room: THE NAKED GUY/GIRL ALWAYS GETS THE RIGHT OF WAY. Thank-you, management”. That should help solve those awkward brush-bys.

A few more little things: 
  • Older men that wear too short shorts. Distracting, and not in a good way.
  • Deep breathers! There’s always one person who goes too far with the yoga breathing and it’s really distracting.
  • Farts. Obviously. It might be the only good reason to excuse yourself from a class.

Rave: Hot Pilates

After a busy couple of weeks packed solid with running around at events, eating at odd hours and pretty much living in heels, our bodies need a bit of TLC. Luckily, we’ve stumbled upon a new workout to whip us into shape – hot Pilates.

Image source.

One of the main goals of Pilates is to develop and strengthen your core, with the end result being a longer, leaner and more toned figure. Like the name suggests, hot Pilates integrates the basic principles of Pilates but is taught in a room between 35 and 40 degrees Celsius, just like hot yoga. It gets pretty toasty but is also kind of nice, especially as the temperature drops.

Turning up the heat promotes a deeper stretch and greater intensity, while simultaneously detoxifying your body. Not to mention that Pilates is a go-to workout for some of our favourite toned celeb bodies including Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Anna Paquin, to name a few.

Image source.
Moksha Yoga Uptown (1498 Yonge St., second floor) offers hot Pilates and is pretty much as green as it gets, for all you eco-philes out there. From bamboo flooring and VOC-free paints to filtered faucets and green cleaning products, the studio prides itself on being eco-conscious.

One of their hot Pilates instructors, Anna, throws in a little humour during the class, which is much appreciated when trying to hold a plank for an extended period of time. Moksha Yoga offers a one-month unlimited pass for studio newbies at $40 and individual classes for $17. 

Tula Hot Yoga (three locations, Duncan/Richmond, Liberty Village, Bloor/Ossington) offers a hot Pilates class and hot pricing; your first class is $10, second is free and they offer a variety of packages including early bird and lunch cards.

iam yoga (661 Yonge St., Suite 300) has a Core Flow Class which incorporates “sun salutations and poses that strengthen the core connected by downward dog flows, influenced by Pilates core work.”  For first-timers, one week of unlimited classes runs for $20, with class card options (10 for $160) and memberships (one month for $175).

Image source.

If you’re unsure about getting started with an intense hot Pilates class, but still want to introduce Pilates into your life, head to Body Harmonics. It’s a wonderful studio with two downtown locations (672 Dupont St. and 488 Eglinton St.), and has a wide variety of classes to make sure that you’re beginning comfortably and properly. The welcome package is a good option – you can try out an unlimited number of classes for two weeks, and you’ll shell out $49.99.

There are a few supplies you’ll need for class including: a yoga mat, two towels and a reusable water bottle. New to the Pilates or yoga game? No worries – most places offer all of the above for purchase or rent. 

One last thing – make sure you hydrate! We know it can be tough, but knock back a glass of water (or three) before the class.  Trust us, you’ll be glad you did. 

Image source.

With all the water consumption and detoxing, our skin will love us…and if we get some sculpted abs in the process, we’re okay with that too.