April 4, 2009

Don’t F* With My Yoga! Yoga Snob: 10 Pet Peeves on the Mat.

Stops Being Polite. Start Getting Real.

by Sarah Janelle Miller

I’m a certified yoga snob. I have the lineage to prove it. As a third gen yogi, I’ve got a feel for the good, the bad and the ugly.

Leave it to we Westerners to dumb down and speed up a time tested, proven method of self-awareness, even enlightenment. I can see right through these modern approaches to yoga asanas. Hot yoga? (With research you’ll find, prior to Choudhury, it didn’t exist.) Power yoga? (Do you want more ego with that?) No importance to intention, Pranayama or Meditation? (Blasphemy!)

We all know the “yogis” who think a 75 minute class three times a week fulfills their yogic quotients. Fine. Whatever. But here are my top ten peeves whilst on the mat, taking a studio class:

  1. Is there any ventilation in here? This air has been in here for five years! Seriously, not even a window to open to clear the place out! Nothing is worse than hoping for deeper inhales and exhales and knowing that you’re breathing in the same air as the last class. Where’s the prana?
  2. Carpet? I’m pretty sure “stihra-shukam asanam” is easier without it. Any studio still in the carpet age, needs serious transition. Fast!
  3. Renovating your studio and you didn’t choose non-toxic materials? Shame on you. That paint will be off-gassing on your students for another ten years…
  4. Your yoga instructor is dressed head to toe in Lululemon, complete with matching headband. Walking billboard? Corporate sponsorship?
  5. The instructor mispronounces Sanskrit terms—or worse, doesn’t use them at all! (equally disturbing is Sanskrit with a Southern twang.)
  6. A shortened Shavasana. A Shavasana that the instructor talks through…being told to “relax” over and over and over…
  7. Hearing only about what the poses look like and how you look doing them. Referrals to “this will make your butt tighter and your thighs leaner.” (I thought I was here to dissolve my ego?)
  8. No intention-setting. No pranayama. No inward dive towards Self. You mean we’re just going to start? Like this? Standing?
  9. Seeing your teacher out the night before getting sauced on the vino and smoking a cigarette, in between bites of BBQ ribs.
  10. No meditation?! The whole point of asanas is to prepare you for meditation and the experience of Samadhi. I’m pretty sure the folks in class aren’t going home to do it. Given us at least a taste of it!

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