I love being both a yoga student and a yoga teacher.
I adore the connections with my fellow yogis, and I appreciate new and fun sequencing and warm rooms. There are, however, a few things that most people won’t tell you about their time spent in a yoga classroom. Well, I will.
1. Yes, you do need a pedicure. Of course, I see your toenails. I’m not even suggesting that we all walk around with painted toes (we’d really have to work in order to get most men on board with that), but it would be nice if you simply cared for your feet just a smidge. In other words, get that sh$t taken care of. Thanks.
2. You’re not the first person to pass gas, and you won’t be the last. The teacher side of me has experienced several situations involving flatulent students. It happens. After all, we are working our bodies; twisting, bending, using our abdominal muscles. There are even yoga poses to relieve constipation. Don’t be embarrassed if this happens to you (easier said than done, I’m aware), but do keep in the back of your mind that seasoned teachers and students have likely encountered these noises before, and that, unfortunately for the rest of us, the old saying “silent but deadly” holds a fair amount of truth.
3. Consider holding off on that extra garlicky dinner entree. Working out in a heated room can feel amazing—unless you happen to be practicing next to someone who’s sweating out that overly seasoned food from last night. Food for thought.
4. Your pants are see through. No, it’s not just Lululemon either. I’m telling you, fellow yogis, be a pal and let someone know that you saw more than either of you wanted during your wide-legged forward fold.
5. Your boob fell out—so what. Sure, there are some women who flaunt their girls like no one else on the planet owns a set. Still, there are others who freak out when a little side boobage happens. You know what, we’re all human; it’s okay. Pop it back in and re-focus in your breath.
6. I’m glad I was a gym rat. The studio I practice at now has showers, which is awesome—and I’m so glad that I used to be a regular naked Sally (yeah, I just made that term up, booya!) at the gym back in the day. Of course, I’m partial to getting dressed alone, but I really don’t care if someone else sees me putting on my underwear after my shower. In fact, I wish you were more comfortable too, because it would make the whole experience better for all of us.
7. Take child’s pose. That’s so cool that you’re trying out new postures and really putting your heart into your practice—but you’re turning bright red and I can’t hear breathing next to me. Trust me, take a moment to sit the next pose out—you’ll enjoy the rest of the class that much more.
8. Is that a fan or your ujjayi? This might sound kind of weird, but sometimes during my practice in the slightly heated room, I’ll be in a pose and really feeling overly warm (shocking, I know), and the student next to me (when we’re mat to mat, which happens a lot on weekends) has some great ujjayi breath going on, it feels a little bit like a tiny fan is blowing on my sweaty, sticky arm—and it feels spectacular. So keep working that ujjayi, yogis!
9. I don’t notice you on your mat. Sorry, I’m positive that the crow pose you just rocked out was stellar—but I didn’t see it because I’m here for me, not for you. Remember this when you worry that people see you fall, or judge you for basically any other reason. I would wager that well over 99 percent of us don’t see, don’t know, don’t care what happens on your mat.
10. Listen to your lyrics. Occasionally, teachers will play songs, and I wonder if they ever listen to the lyrics before adding them to class playlists. Keep in mind, that some students can’t help but hear the words that are blasting, even if they are focusing well during their practice. While I admire using new or eclectic sounds (I do too), please consider that what you play might negatively affect others, especially if the lyrical content is not uplifting.
There are a million different directions that I could have taken this list, but I think I’ll start here and, perhaps, call it “part one.”
Another good thing to keep in mind, is that if you experience it, or notice it, while you’re on your mat, or up in front of the classroom, then the likelihood is pretty darn high that you’re not the first one.
So keep on practicing, keep on trying new things—and, for goodness’ sakes, try taking off your shoes and checking out the condition of your feet at least one other time during your day besides the yoga studio welcome room.
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Ed: Kate Bartolotta
One thing we can admit: yoga can heal our self image.
Yoga with integrity: