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Doing yoga in a crowded city like NYC calls for extra helpings of civility—and soap

The New York Times‘s Lizette Alvarez rounds up yoga etiquette pet-peeves from around the web. “Invasion of the Serenity Saboteurs” tut-tuts those who chant “Ah” instead of “Om,” barge in mid-class, have excessive B.O., and practice half-naked. Who are the biggest offenders? Men, according to the piece, are much worse than their yogini counterparts about letting it all hang out: shirtless sweaty men in loose-fitting shorts practicing commando is a loud complaint, as are stinky hygiene infractions and ruining the Om.

Yoga teachers are increasingly policing the practice, which is a very good thing. Just yesterday I was taking a class at Kula. About 5 minutes into class we were about to start chanting, when a harried woman barged in and started making her way to the front of the room. In the nicest way possible, the teacher asked her to remain at the door until we were done chanting. And I’m in favor putting someone on probation if their cell phone rings mid-class. For many New Yorkers, the yoga studio symbolizes the only quiet, serene break from our manic lives and a hectic city.