Brad's Iyengar Yoga Notebook
Courtesy at the Yoga School
Just as in any environment where people come together to work with each other in a close setting, a modicum of courtesy around the yoga school makes everyone's life more pleasant.   Many yoga schools have developed a set of policies or rules, not out of a sense of rigidity, but to foster respect toward other individuals, the class as a whole, and the facilities of the school.
If you are new to yoga schools, pay particular attention to the no-shoes areas of the school.   Generally you may wear shoes into the immediate foyer, but never into the main practice area.   If you are uncertain about what areas are appropriate for shoes, make sure you ask.
Show up on time for class, which means at least 10 minutes before class starts.   You need time to find a place for your mat, obtain any props you might need, etc.   If class starts at 5:30 and you show up at 5:30, you are LATE, not on time.   OK, that's sounding rigid; but be respectful of the teacher's time and the important opening moments at the beginning of class which are disturbed by someone arriving even a little late.
If you arrive for class early, don't place your mat directly in the way of the wall ropes since other people may want to come and use the wall ropes before class.   Leave a healthy distance between your mat and the ropes to allow them to be used by others before class.   When the class starts, you can move your mat closer to the ropes if space is at a premium.
Try not to have anything scheduled such that you have to leave class early.   Packing up your personal belongings and leaving early disturbs not only the teacher, but the other students who may be in restorative poses or Savasana.   If you have only enough time to attend half of the class, skip the whole class, practice on your own, and make the class up another day.
As much as possible, try to wear clothes that are not so baggy that they hide the movements of your joints and body so the teacher is unable to correct your mistakes.   Also be aware that wearing black shirts in particular tend to make your torso anatomy less visible to the teacher.   Men in a yoga class may chose to wear no shirt, not only because of the heat of the work, but to allow the instructor to see their torso and arms and make corrections as appropriate.   Women generally do NOT go topless, not at our school at least.
Pay attention to how the yoga school you attend likes to store their props.   For belts, some schools like them to be rolled, some schools like them to be in un-looped and hung straight on wall hooks, some schools just chunk 'em in a basket and let people fight it out and deal with the knots in the next class.   Whatever the tradition, follow it or politely suggest a better way to your teacher.
Fold blankets into a neat storage fold (see the notes on the ancient art of blanket folding elsewhere on this site) and place them with the long, neatly-folded side outward in a stack, to prevent the stack from toppling over.   Take care to stack the wool (Army type) blankets separately from the cotton blankets as some people have an allergy to the wool blankets and can only use the cotton ones.   The wool blankets tend to shed like English sheep dogs.
Generally speaking, bolsters are best stored stacked in groups of two, the next two on top, turned 90 degrees from the two below them.   This makes a stable structure that is less likely to fall over.
When putting the chairs away, if the chairs are leaning on a wall, have the BOTTOMS of the chairs facing away from the wall and there will be less chance that they will slide down the wall.   If they are stored in an area with a hard wood floor, dedicate a sticky mat to that area to store the standing folded chairs on so they do not slide.
If you're going to get a strap for some pose that the teacher has said you will need straps for, don't just take the one strap for yourself and put your head down and walk back to your mat.   Take a whole handful of straps and walk into the practice room and hand them out to people or drop one on each open mat in the practice room.   Not only is this courteous, it helps save more time for the class.   The same idea applies to blocks, etc.
If you're doing a pose that requires placing a chair on a sticky mat, and the sticky mat belongs to the school, verify with the teacher that it's OK that you put the chair on the sticky mat because the chair legs can sometimes tear into the mats and make them ragged.   If you think about owning a yoga studio and you've invested money in sticky mats, obviously you can understand that you want them to last as long as possible.
If you're setting up for Savasana or some other pose and you realize that there is not enough space between you and the next person, YOU be the one willing to move.   Say, "No problem, I can turn this way" or "I can move over here."   Don't waste the teacher's time by staring some other student in the eyes because you feel like that little space of real estate is yours.   Just adopt the mindset that YOU will always be the one to offer to move and the yoga school will be a better place.
When cleaning up after class, don't feel like you're only responsible for the exact things that you took out of storage.   "Let's see, I only took one block out of storage, so I'm only going to put one block back."   Consider taking piles of sorted blankets or blocks by the armful no matter who was using them and put them back into their storage places.   So what if you wind up doing a little extra work than you're legally required to do.   You'll reap the good karma in the next life if not in this very one.
In general, in Iyengar schools in the West, water is not taken during the class period (though there are some schools that allow exceptions and certainly in very hot weather or hot studio conditions there may be exceptions).   Unless it is specifically stated otherwise, assume that you will not be drinking any water during the class and leave your bottle of Dasani in the changing area with your other personal effects to be enjoyed after class.
Empty your bladder before class, not when the Urdhva Dhanurasana repetitions start getting tough.