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Yoga Etiquette – Yoga and Cellphones Don’t Mix

Yoga etiquette is meant to provide peace for everyone, including the owner of the phone. I thought to write this “no cell phone in yoga” entry from the view point of how it annoys your mat-mate. How it’s considered rude to be scrolling through texts, Instagram, Tinder (no judgement here) in class. Even when silenced an iPhone can shoot a lightning bolt notification light that can signal aliens to land.

I LOVE my phone. There I said it. It keeps my life organized. I wake to my phone alarm (technically the snooze mode), check the calendar, the emails, and the alerts from a dozen apps before my toes touch the morning floor. I stay in touch with my daughter (OK I actually track her every move). It’s not stalking if I bought the phone, pay the bill and she’s my dependent. I checked the Florida laws.

I’m able to run my business and stay in touch with friends and students. And it lets me know what level of Candy Crush I’m on. If it wasn’t for my phone, I wouldn’t be able to play awesome playlists for our classes.

So how can there be any negatives? Well it’s also an energy, present moment and relationship drainer. Regardless of the style of yoga you practice, one of our tasks at hand is to “leave” the outside world behind if only for one of Carole’s awesome noon classes or Shay’s kick ass flows. Why?

It’s your time to focus on as little as possible so that your mind and body can recalibrate itself from all the PERCEIVED multitasking you do. We are not like Chrome. We cannot have 100 tabs open all the time and be efficient. Now that I think about it neither can Chrome. It crashes, lags, catches viruses and eventually needs a reboot from all the effort it is putting out. Eventually it and YOU need to reboot. For a computer it’s the on/off switch. For a yogi, yes you, it’s the off switch on your phone when you step onto your mat. Better yet, leave it outside the practice room.


The trend of phones in Yoga rooms points to a larger issue:

device addiction. 


What’s really happening when we reach for our phones while we’re on our mat?

  • We are incapable of disconnecting from the outside world – not gonna lecture here. I will say that this is the same as any other affliction to your peace of mind. If you cannot let it go, it will rule you. Nuff said.
  • We’re avoiding poses that we just do not want to do or can’t do – “One time I saw someone texting during class so I asked her what she was doing. The girl just said she didn’t feel like doing inversions that day, so she took out her phone instead.”
  • We’re missing out on connecting with ourself and our #vibetribe. Human contact is really, really important for a human. Even if the phone is just next to us, we are distracted and waiting for the next notification.
  • Maybe these yogis with cells by their sides just forgot that sometimes phones aren’t an appropriate companion – I’ll give everyone the benefit of the doubt. These people aren’t jerks or bad yogis. They’re just missing the point, which is a total bummer.
  • You’re actually waiting for an important CANNOT miss call but didn’t want to miss yoga – this is valid at times. Let the teacher know. I’ve seen it. I’ve been in that situation. So as a community we’ll be compassionate but if it’s every class, there’s a deeper pull at work here.

So what DO you do if your phone goes off? Turn it off immediately and resume your practice. Please don’t ignore it. We can all hear it. No long public apologies needed. We’ve all been there. It happens.

I teach the most wonderful people. They actually come up to me and say, I have a call or text that I cannot miss. I don’t want to be rude but at “X” time I need to look at my phone. Hey, we all have lives and responsibilities. Again, if it’s a one-off that’s life. If it’s more often than that, be introspective and find the real reason for the pull.