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What to do if… You’re Late for Class

Sometimes it’s inevitable – there’s traffic, your meeting ran long, the kids wouldn’t let go of your legs when you tried to walk out the door and leave them with your mother… sometimes you will be late for your yoga class.

Chances are, if you are late, you are stressed out because you are late. The first part of every yoga class is about leaving the worries of the day behind and bringing your focus to your practice, so if you sail into the studio halfway through the initial meditation, you are missing something that will greatly benefit you. You will not only be interrupting the instructor and distracting your fellow yogis, you’ll also be shortchanging yourself.

But, as I mentioned, sometimes it is inevitable. So what should you do if the door is closed and class has already started?

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  • If you are stressed out because you couldn’t find a parking spot, stop and take a deep breath before entering the room. If you rush in and make audible apologies because you are flustered, you will only end up irritating everyone around you.
  • If you can see the class (for instance if it is in an open foyer or a church’s recreation room) or hear what is going on, wait until there is a clear pause or the teacher has finished speaking. Then enter the room or space.
  • If you are more than ten minutes late and the quiet time at the start of the class is just finishing, wait until it is over before entering.
  • Enter as silently as possible and immediately find a place to put your mat. If you do not have your own mat and must go to the front of the room to collect one, do so without stepping on anyone else’s mat or interrupting their flow, even if they are a friend.
  • If, embarrassingly, people have to move in order to accommodate you be grateful and courteous – but do so quietly!
  • Join in with everyone else when you are ready and focused, even if it means taking a few moments to close your eyes and breathe.
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For those of you that live a block from your studio or arrive half an hour early just to get your favourite spot in the room, don’t hate on the late! The fact is, everyone is going to be late for something at some point. If the late students are considerate and respectful of the other yogis and the teacher, then everyone can enjoy the practice. 🙂

(I offer this advice as someone who has to hang around for an hour after work before heading to the studio a five minute walk away. I have the opposite problem – I’m bored and often ten minutes early!).

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