Bikram Yoga Etiquette Guide

Bikram Yoga étiquette guideThere is much more to yoga practice than building a strong, healthy, flexible body, or a calm focused mind. It can become a way of life and a way of being. Yoga practice starts on your mat, but its influence can go way beyond your mat, into every aspect of your life: in fact, it needs to for your yoga to have real meaning in the world.

In this page, you’ll find a useful yoga etiquette guide that will give you more from your practice, and, if you’re a beginner, enable you to walk confidently into the studio.

These points are offered as a means of bringing awareness to how we operate the studio so that you can begin without fear of embarrassment, and share the space with others so that it is a great experience for everyone.

We invite you to be an example within your studio community by showing respect for the space and your fellow yogi. Here are a few yoga etiquette tips that should help:

Ten Yoga Etiquette Tips

On time: 

Please show respect to the students who have already arrived by being on time. If you are regularly rushing and often late, there’s something there for you to see and adjust. We are very particular about this. Think of a yoga class as being like an aircraft flight: once the aeroplane leaves the gate, no amount of pleading with the ground-crew will get you on board. In other words: there’s no late entry. When the teacher enters the room, that’s it! By the way, “on time” means being in the room, on your mat, ready to go, and does not include just making it into the registration area, just reaching the top of the stairs, just arriving in the car-park, or just entering the 2066 post-code area.

Mat placement:

Be aware of others when choosing your place in class and please make room for others when necessary. Do not stand directly in front of someone who is already there, and know that if you choose the back row, there’s always a chance that will happen. On busy classes, please use the lines on the floor, with the line through the middle of the mat.


Come to class looking and smelling clean, with clean gear and mat. (In busy classes, feet and faces can become very close!) If you tend to sweat a lot, consider using two towels, drink a little less during the class, and more after class. Strong perfumes and body odours can become pronounced in the hot room, so you’re always welcome to take quick shower before class if you need one.

Quiet please:

Please be aware of others in savasana before and after class. The yoga room is intended to provide a calm, meditative environment, so every student can enjoy a focused, undistracted experience in class. Please maintain a respectful quiet in the room.

Together, please:

Keeping with the pace and flow that the teacher creates benefits you and everyone around you. The practice is both a personal and a communal meditation, and the energy you project in class, whether you are aware of it or not, affects the whole room. When we focus together, and practice the same postures together, the energy builds and builds, and every student leaves the yoga room energized and glowing.

Stay the Distance:

Just setting your intention to stay throughout the class will make it easy to stay and enjoy a full practice. Leaving the room during class should be an rare exception in your practice, not a rule. The series was designed as a balanced 90 minute class, and you’ll miss elements of balance in the whole if you consistently leave your practice unfinished. Struggling through hard moments in your practice is often followed by a breakthrough, and staying through the whole class keeps the energy of the room intact – your fellow students feel the loss of your energy if you leave the room.

Help keep the studio tidy:

Pick up after yourself and others. Tissues in the bin: bottles to recycling bin.

Mat matters:

Refresh your mat with a little spray, and store it in a mat bag on the shelving provided if you wish to. Take it home for a wash sometimes. Studio hire mats should be hung neatly over the bar of the storage rack after use.

Shower time:

Please be aware of others waiting for showers. Please keep your showers to two minutes or less, and leave the shower cubicle or basin just how you would like to find it, if you were the next person.


Please don’t take a larger locker than you need, and share with a friend/partner if you know it’s busy. Use the pigeon-holes in the room if you’re travelling light with just wallet and keys.

“Be the change you want to see”: Please support others in these changes by your own demonstration. If you see a new student who might need help, please welcome them warmly, and show them how the studio works, where to put shoes, etc.

Remember that everything is part of your yoga practice. Please use this yoga etiquette guide and you’ll enjoy your yoga more, and so will everyone else.
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8 Responses to Bikram Yoga Etiquette Guide

  1. kwstas says:

    Looking for a new lease on life and found it in Bikram Yoga! After so many years of doing the same excercises over and over we have found a whole new way to transform our bodies from the inside out! This method of Yoga is both mentally and physically stimulating and challenging so prepare for both. We have reaped the benefits/rewards throughout all aspects of our daily life. Thank you- Bikram Yoga Ormond Beach!!

  2. Petra says:

    Hi there,

    You dont mention if you have to wear clothes? I attended a centre in London for many months and was able to practice bikram naked. Can I practice naked at your centre? I really dont mind if others are clothed it’s just I hate to wear any clothing at all while practicing bikram.

    many thanks

    Petra :)

    • James says:

      We’re not in a position to accommodate your wishes at Northside, even though I’m sure it would be growth experience for everyone as they confront their attitudes about nudity, and develop their focus in the face of distraction. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily the agenda that everyone else is signing up for. I hope you’ll be able to find a way to continue your practice, and we’ll gladly welcome you, appropriately clothed, at any time.

  3. ChrisM says:

    Thats a shame James. I think there is a growing number of people that are keen to shed their inhibitions. I’d love to see Northside open up a class…I would for one attend.

  4. Kat says:

    Hi there, I have noticed an increasing tendency for fairly inexperienced students (or experienced students having a bad day) standing in the first two rows. They fall out of postures a lot which is fine, we all do that but they often start the postures quite late which is frustrating when they are most of what you can see in the mirror. In the standing series it means you are often blocked from seeing how you are progressing in your own practice. If you are so unfit that you need to sit down during the warm up or start the warm up postures late, you should not be up the front. If you are practicing the postures completely incorrectly, you should not be up the front as less experienced students will take your lead and may injure themselves.

    At other studios the teacher would be very clear at the start of class and tell students in the first two rows that they are leading the class and if they don’t feel comfortable with that to move a little further back. They would, in a very non confrontational way, let the first two rows know that they start the posture on time and they are expected to attempt every posture.

    Could north shore try this? It is frustrating to the rest of us that are more aware of our (limited) abilities and do the right thing.

    • James says:

      Thanks for the suggestion. That has always been our approach, although we’ve recently suggested beginners stand “2-3 rows behind the first row”, as it is easier for teachers to address beginners than if they are all the way at the back. We’ll see that teachers keep encouraging strong leaders to stand in the front two rows.

  5. Karen says:

    Oh, that’s a little off putting. That one comment has turned me off the school! Sometimes new people or those with vision issues/hearing problems need to be close to the front to learn. I’m into equality – everyone has an equal place and equal standing no matter their abilities.

    • James says:

      The reason for having the most experienced students positioned near the front of the room is that they act as models for the rest of the class on how to execute the postures, and secondly because they lead the room energetically. It does not serve beginners at all to have novices in the front row who do no know what they are doing, or who spend time during the class sitting down or otherwise distracting the class. It’s not an issue of equality, it’s a matter, based on years of experience, of what works. A vision impaired person would be much better served by standing behind an experienced student and following their movements. We have experience in this, having taught several students with severe impairment.

      By the same token, I think you’d always opt for the experienced surgeon over the intern, or the experienced pilot over the trainee pilot to fly your aeroplane. There’s a time and place for equality, certainly, but in this case “workability” will always take precedence.

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