To me a yoga room is a safe space. It is well lit with lamps and takes advantage of natural sunlight using windows. For hot yoga, the fans regulate the temperature of the room to create the most comfort for your practice. Wood floor is best, as it is easier to clean for a hot class and does not absorb the smell like a carpet floor would These are the physical attributes of the room that contribute to a great practice.
The feeling of the room is entirely up to the teacher. It should be a place where you recognize you are safe. If you are the teacher and you use harsh words, or make someone uncomfortable, you have altered the feeling of the room and it is very difficult to regain the trust of your students. As a teacher it should be your goal to create comfort, be mindful of others and their comfort levels. It takes a lot of trust just to come to a studio! “I’m in my pajamas (or bathing suit) I’m gonna move my body all around you all-strangers in this hot room…sorry if I sweat on you.” It’s scary at first. As a teacher recognize those fears of yourself and your students and use your voice, cues and sometimes gentle assistance to let them know, “I’m hear for you, don’t be scared, I’m just so happy you are here. We are all in this together.”
I’ve been in a room where the teacher got upset and the whole room’s shoulders went up to their ears. An extreme case but it sticks in my memory.
I’ve also walked into a teacher training and had a teacher welcome me with a smile and ask me to join and greet me with a hug. I was so embarrassed walking in, but she made me feel so comfortable and happy to be there.
Be mindful of your words, gentle with others trust and practice your own meditation, so that others may practice theirs. Remember humor is good, and always appreciated in class. Just a little smile to lighten up on the load of a difficult practice.