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how not to be “that girl” in yoga

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Focusing on your poses is important – true. But there are a few other things you should think about during class, too. Grace Dubery, who will be the instructor for the Lolë White Tour stop in Toronto at Fort York on August 22, which will have about 3,000 taking part in the class, knows this all too well the blunders that can be made in a group yoga session. She graciously doles out tips that will ensure that your next group yoga session is ethereal and not embarrassing. Don’t be that girl who…

…thinks that it’s a competition.
Eying up the other women in the class is a definite no-no. “The first thing that people should know is that yoga absolutely not competitive,” says Dubery. “Everyone who comes should have that same attitude.”

…chats on her phone.
Drop your phone into your bag and unplug. “It is an opportunity to disconnect,” says Dubery. “As addicted as we are, it’s really about creating space for yourself.” And make sure you turn the ringer off. “Do not take a call in the class,” she says. “If you really must take the call, then discreetly leave the class to deal with that because if you take the call in the class it’s just going to distract everyone else.”

…can’t stop talking.
“The practice is meant to be done in silence,” says Dubery. “It’s a time to be silent, be absolutely present with yourself. It’s a practice – it takes discipline. I think we all deserve to have that time for ourselves.”

…comes late.
Some studios have late policies (not on time, don’t come in the studio), and others don’t mind at all, allowing students to join in even if they’re 10 minutes late. “But try to be on time,” says Dubery. “[You don’t want] to feel rushed getting onto your yoga mat. You want the exact opposite and find peace and calmness. Give yourself a little extra time to organize your space and to be present.”

…leaves early.
The class is silent and you hear rustling of someone rolling up their mat. “Stay until the end. I think most of the benefits for yoga will come at the end of a class when you get to completely rest your body at the end for five minutes. Stay until the end, not only to respect everyone else in the class, but to also give yourself that space.”

…walks across everybody’s mats.
“It’s something people should not do. It’s a no-no.”

…is wearing shoes.
“I would definitely say no to shoes,” says Dubery. And the same goes for socks. Even if your feet aren’t pedi-perfect. “You’ll a have better grip in barefeet and better dexterity. There are specially designed socks for yoga but barefoot is the best.”

…isn’t dressed properly.
Comfort is key for a successful class. So don’t wear clothes or athleticwear that is restrictive or binding, says Dubery. Instead she says to go for leggings and a tank top or a T-shirt. “You don’t want short shorts. That can be distracting. I think exposing a bit of skin is fine but show off too much and it can go a little too far.”

…is wearing too much makeup.
“You’re there to purify and to detox,” explains Dubery. “You don’t want your face covered in makeup and end up clogging your pores.” She recommends keeping makeup-remover wipes in your bag. Just wipe off before you enter the class.

Sumiko Wilson

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