All I Want for Christmas is a Stress-free Yoga Class.

Via Kristin Althea
on Dec 13, 2011
get elephant's newsletter

yoga mat
lululemon athletica

 Maybe it’s the hustle and bustle of the holidays that has gotten my capris in a deep bind, but I had an internal snap the other day in yoga class as I listened to the instructor applaud a student in front of the whole class.

“Well, you’re just so flexible. My gosh you are so flexible. You’ll just have to do the best you can to feel something here,” she gushed. (Insert vomit here.)

I call my breakdown an internal snap because I did what every “yogic” chick does: I processed how I was feeling about it. Was I jealous that I wasn’t so flexible? Did she break my drishti?

Where was the me in this unraveling? I did some deep breathing and gave some time and space to it all, and you know what? I still just want to bitch. And plead. So without further adieu, here is this year’s letter to Santa. (If you’re with me, can I get a “Hell yeah!”)

Dear Santa,

For Christmas, I’d like to take yoga classes I can zone out into my own blissful peaceful state and not be compared to my fellow students. I want classes I take and teach to be filled with people of all sizes, those new to yoga and those who have practiced for years.

I want those yogis to be flexible and inflexible. I want Joe and Jane Doe to come in off the street because yoga is just as much for them as it is for me and you, fellow elephantjournalers.

I want them to wear clothing from the Dollar Store instead of sporting matching water bottle, mat, hair band, top, and bottom sets from the various “I’m better than you” Lu-Lu-Luxuries out there. I want to feel like yoga is truly for everyone, and not just for model-esque, elitist snobs who fill studios because they don’t have to work and because yoga is the “cool” thing to do.

In short: I want the true heart of yoga to shine so bright it feels like a sun-kissed summer day permanently lodged deep in the soul. Could you do that for me, or us, old guy. Could you? Hit me baby, just one time?


About Kristin Althea

Kristin M. Althea, M.Ac., L.Ac., loves to poke and stretch and heal things through the power of 5 Element Acupuncture, Yin Yoga, Qigong, and Chinese Herbs at her practice at Red Lotus Acupuncture Center, LLC. She aims to guide her patients and students on a path to rediscover their own inner journey. Beyond that, her sarcastic yet warm-fuzzy self lives in coastal NC with her adorable pug Jaya and a slew of houseplants. She can be connected to via facebook or via email at kristin [at] redlotusacupuncture [dot] com.


11 Responses to “All I Want for Christmas is a Stress-free Yoga Class.”

  1. Annie Ory says:

    The teacher was talking to herself about herself. You just happened to hear her. She just pointed it at the flexy bendy woman. It doesn't have anything to do with you. I imagine that what really bothered you was that you could tell that the gushing wasn't about the students but about the teacher. Her job is to teach the class, not get all caught up in the things she personally admires about flexible people. I think what you really want is a teacher who is present with you. I hope you get your wish.

  2. […] reading here: All I Want for Christmas is a Stress-free Yoga Class. | elephant journal December 13th, 2011 | Tags: beauty, bike, daughter, facebook, friends, publishing, videos, yoga | […]

  3. Scott says:

    It's the old competative urge rearing it's head. That little voice in my head comparing myself to the more anything; younger, thinner, more flexible, better looking, etc around me on the floor. Then we breath, relax into a pose and sometimes it goes away and the inner voice calms and we have those moments of bliss that keep us coming back again and again..

  4. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Thank you for sharing this!!

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Join us! Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  5. Kristin Althea says:

    P.S. Missbernklau, thank you for being tactful in your message to me. It's beautiful to have different opinions and to be able to express them in a controlled, sincere fashion. It shows true character, so thank you. 🙂

  6. Vision_Quest2 says:

    If you are talking about neo-yoga, all those things you discuss are true in varying degrees …

    Old-school yoga, on the other hand, has never quite left us … but you have to search for it …

  7. YesuDas says:

    Great post, Kristin; I hope you get your wish!

  8. Vision_Quest2 says:

    Yup, hip stability (which I have in spades, and thus can look kinda like a slow learner in your average wannabe trendy neo-yoga class) is underrated for a woman …

    You should have seen how, even when overweight, I really moved—with rhythm and coordination—in step aerobics class …some of the step teachers loved me …

    Different eras, different status markers …[[sigh]]

    Anyway, the yoga teachers I have had in the trendoid zone seemed to understand my sankalpa in going to their yoga class; others, and I will never forget those, used it to bully me with (especially the ones whose hips had been tight at the starting point, too; but with practice showed greater, faster potential that I ever could … AT my age) … kind of like anyone who sees the old neighborhood they grew up in and do not want to be reminded of it …

  9. […] who’s ever been to a yoga class knows that we’re not supposed to compare ourselves to others. We also know how difficult it is not to try to match those who are stronger or more supple than we […]

  10. catnipkiss says:

    Love this, and of course, depending on what yoga class you go to, you might see more variety of yogis there. The classes I take at the Y are way more diverse than the power yoga studio. i try to find benefit in all of them, and hope the others in class are finding it, too, in their own ways, and whether their duds cost $8 or $80.

    You might be interested in my recent article on non-flexibility:

    And you and I both know that we cause our OWN stress in yoga class – it comes from the Monkey Mind, doesn't it? But I do hope Santa grants your wish (I always ask for Peace on Earth and a PONY, but I never get my wish!)

    peace, – Alexa M.

  11. jeanne says:

    Hell yeah! I am a yoga teacher who still annot stand on here head and do a crow pose. But I love love love teaching the essence of yoga. Do what you can in the best way that you personally can. That is alway good enough. Happy hollidays