Ok, so this has been on my mind for bit, and I’ve had a couple of students approach me about it, so here it goes.
Yoga etiquette… Cell phones inside the practice space… Nope. Nope. Nope.
To all the on-call professionals out there, I see you and I love you. You are usually the ones that have enough discipline and courtesy to let your yoga teacher know ahead of time that 1) yes, you have a phone in studio, and 2) yes, it’s been turned to silent so you wont disrupt the rest of the class. This article is not addressed to you.
If you bring your cell phone into class because being separated from your mobile device for more than 10 minutes makes you physically ill, this article is for you. I implore you to consider why you go to the yoga studio in the first place. Is yoga your time to actually connect to your body and breath? Or is yoga something that gets in the way of you checking your email? Either way, you need yoga, so please put your fucking phone in your locker or leave it in the car. I don’t care. Just don’t bring it in the studio.
As my rant a few months ago stated, you are not the center of the Universe. There are plenty of other people that somehow miraculously survive (meaning they don’t die) without having and checking their phone in the yoga room.
My Yoga Room Etiquette Story
Case in point: I was in a class with a beloved teacher friend of mine in LA. The class was ready. Room was perfectly warm. Music was calm and inviting. And then, during Sun A, I shit you not, homeboy next to me pulls out his beloved device. He proceeds to Shazaam the song that was playing. Dude, we’re 10 minutes into practice and you were already oh so compelled to touch your interactive device. You actually interrupted your own interactive experience with the most amazing device you have, your body, to get the title and artist of a fucking song!?!?
Maybe I’m bad at yoga because I stopped to observe this gentleman. I was just curious to watch, like a National Geographic study. Maybe I’m judgmental because I wondered why the fuck he had his phone in the room in the first place.
Later, as the teacher spoke of being in the moment and tapping into the internal signals of the body, the dude picked up his phone again. He now appeared to be answering a text or email because he was typing intensely. I couldn’t help but feel bad for him. I also felt an incredible amount of sympathy for the teacher.
It wasn’t my class, so I said nothing, as it wasn’t my place. After class, in the locker room, same dude was talking about how the class was “just ok”… Yeah man, most things are “just ok” when you don’t give a shit about them.
It’s the same as you ordering a meal, taking 2 bites, then leaving the restaurant to go shopping for shoes. If you then proceeded to write a review stating that your meal was only so-so, it would be a slap in the face to the chef and the server. You didn’t even fully experience or taste your meal, yet are quick to judge based on your absent minded, inconsiderate behavior.
A message to Yoga students regarding cell phone etiquette in Yoga Room
Students, when you go to class, the 60 minute experience you’re about to enjoy took just as long if not longer to be planned. Your teacher most likely prepared and gave a lot of thought to how they want to address the class, to how they want to move, and what they want to give you as a student. Your cell phone has no place in that equation.
Imagine this: The movie you’ve been waiting months for just released. It’s one you’ve been super excited to see debut on the big screen. Once the movie starts, a movie-goer behind you pulls out their phone and has a full-blown conversation Can you still hear the movie? Yes. Can you still see the movie? Yes. Is it the ideal experience for you? No. Not even close.
Many students wait all day to get to yoga, or it is the highlight of their morning. Maybe, today, a one hour yoga class is the only time an overly stressed person has for self-reflection. People come to yoga class because they love the energy of the room, the cadence of a bunch of people sweating and breathing together, and the cohesiveness of the community. When a person lifts up into Warrior One, and another human next to them is fucking texting, their space is no longer sacred. It becomes every other coffee shop or Wal-Mart in the world where people are stressed and disconnected from the moment.
Long story long, if I see you in class with your cell phone in hand (iWatches included), I’ll kindly ask you why you have it in the studio. If the answer isn’t something along the lines of “I’m an on-call nurse” or “My partner might go into labor” or any other worthy cause, then I will kindly ask you to remove your phone from the studio. If that’s too much for you to handle, then I’ll kindly ask you to remove yourself from the studio. Sorrynotsorry.
The vast majority of yoga students know this already, and if they can do it, so can you.