I recently saw a post covering proper behavior for your first yoga session, and decided that it would be wise to write a post on proper etiquette for men to keep in mind for their first trip to a studio. Here I list 5 guidelines to help ensure that you get the most of your yoga experience.
1) KEEP IT IN YOUR PANTS. I get it – yoga studios are quite often filled with attractive, flexible, and athletic women looking to get their sweat on. Despite the revealing clothing and often casual atmosphere, the yoga studio is not a bar. Many women attend yoga studios to escape the sexually-threatening world that men contribute to. There is a perception (often a true one) among many female yogis that the only reason men attend yoga sessions is to pick up girls. I’m not saying that frequenting yoga studios is not a good way to make friends. However, I would strongly advise against asking the girl next to you for her number while you’re demonstrating how good your Warrior 2 is. The best way to make friends at yoga studios is by communicating with people through an attitude that is sexually non-threatening. Establish right from the get-go that you are there to practice yoga, and not to pick up girls, and you won’t be known as the creeper.
2) LEAVE THE CLOWN SHOES AT HOME. Were you the class clown in high school? Do you always have something funny to say? The yoga studio is not the place for the aspiring comedian seeking an audience. I would compare cracking jokes in a yoga session to trying to make people laugh in a crowded lecture hall. You might make some people chuckle, but more likely than not it will just result in others thinking that you’re a pathetic attention-seeker. That doesn’t mean that yoga is without smiles or laughter. Most instructors will do what they can to lighten the mood with a joke or small quip here and there, but do yourself a favor and leave the joke-making to them.
3) LOUD NOISES. You were squatting 350 lbs and you screamed at the end of each rep? Cool story, bro. Not only is that annoying in the weightroom, but it’s definitely pretty taboo in the yoga studio. A huge part of yoga is control, and when you start breathing like a winded rhinoceros it’s pretty obvious that you’ve started to lose control. If you find yourself in this situation, try to decrease the intensity of the pose or work on breathing at a slower pace while inhaling and exhaling through your nose. Yoga actually encourages breathing in this manner, unless otherwise stated by the instructor. Every now and then, however, the teacher will instruct to you breathe out through your mouth, and “let it all out”. This is the perfect opportunity to sound as loud as you want to, and to release some primal, masculine energy.
4) TALKING. Yoga is not a good place to talk with your friend about the girl that you banged last night. The practice of yoga is meant to be a distraction from the outside world, and a time to focus inward on yourself. It is an experience lasting an hour or an hour-and-a-half that allows you to forget about all the crap going on in your life and focus on the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of yourself. Talking during yoga therefore not only distracts you from your goal of inner focus, but also distracts other yogis from focusing on themselves.
5) WEAR. BOXER. BRIEFS. There are a lot poses that can cause your man junk to come out unexpectedly, and the story of the unwanted-but-seen-nonetheless is all too common in yoga lore. Do yourself and your fellow yogis a favor – make sure to wear some underwear with some support.
6) If you’re early, you’re on time, and if you’re on time, then you’re late. Show up a few minutes early. It might be crowded and you won’t want to miss getting a spot, or you might want to get a spot in front of the mirror. But for fuck’s sake, just show some common respect and make sure that you’re not the guy who shows up late, walks through the whole class, makes two girls move so that he can fit in, and then noisily unroll his mat.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. This is simply a short list of some general expectations that will allow you to practice yoga in studio in a courteous manner. I just want you to have a positive yoga experience while keeping your junk in your pants. Namaste.