Yoga Guy. ~ Stacey Kolsrud

Via elephant journal
on Sep 24, 2012
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It seems even too cliché to write, but I have met him…Yoga Guy…not as bad as this yoga guy, but still…

Being unemployed allows for lots of free time to try out new yoga studios. Armed with my yoga mat and yoga BFF, I headed into class ready to relax and renew.

Knowing myself and that I do not respond to change well (at all), I decided to sit quietly meditating before class to get used to the new space and check in with myself to see what I needed from class. I was just getting settled when I heard someone ask, “Are you saving this spot?” I looked up to see the urban legend that I had heard so much about, abominable yoga guy, completely covered head to toe in hair, and wearing shorts which left nothing to the imagination.

photo courtesy Justin Rogers

Being the budding bodhisattva that I am, I promptly responded, “all yours” as enthusiastically as possible.

“Okay,” my inner monologue began, “this is your practice for today. Notice judgment, annoyance, just notice…oh, f*ck!”

Urban Tarzan had begun his pre-class ritual of attempting to reach his toes, huffing, puffing and grunting the whole time.

“Ok,” I thought to myself, “what are my options here? Move, leave,” but before I could finish my thought the lights dimmed and the teacher began guiding us in the opening meditation.

Things went surprisingly smoothly for the first half of class. Besides trying to hide my “that’s nasty face” every time yoga guy dripped sweat onto his mat or took a break to mop up, I was able to get into my own yoga groove, but as the class began to reach the end, the teacher decided we were ready to try some hand stands. Already exhausted from the day/class, I did my usual pony kicks (i.e. preparatory jumps) and focused on maintaining proper alignment.

Yoga Guy, however, had a different approach. He began throwing his legs up in the air, grunting and farting (yes, farting) the whole time. Afraid for my life, I abandoned my practice and curled up near the end of my mat, as far away from the flailing Neanderthal as possible. The pose, usually called Child’s Pose, quickly became Frightened Animal Pose as I made note of each of Yoga Guy’s attempts at levitation.

The teacher suggested one last attempt before beginning our cool down and as I prepared to flip over onto my back for savasanna, I saw, out of the corner of my eye, that yoga guy was really wobbly and in fact was falling over and headed in my direction! I moved my hands out of the way before one of his giant feet landed smack on my mat.

I couldn’t help but stare at the rivers of sweat creating lines in his overgrowth forest of leg hair.

“Oh, sorry,” he said, “my bad.” He removed his foot only to leave a footprint of sweat on my mat that quickly turned into a little pool of foulness.

With this being my first time at the studio and the instructor already dimming the lights for final relaxation, I looked around quickly for where they might have the mat spray and towels, but finding nothing, I grabbed the blanket I was planning on using to keep myself warm and laid it over the tiny pool. Curse words floated through my inner monologue; then sheer annoyance and disgust.

As soon as the final Om was chanted, I hopped up to return my props and tell my yoga BFF all about the events of the past 90 minutes. Looking über Zen herself, she took one look at me and mouthed, “What’s wrong?”

I mouthed back, “Later.”

I headed to the bathroom to wash my hands in case I had accidentally come in contact with any of the yeti’s bodily fluids. Taking a few deep breaths of the lavender soap, I felt ready to face the world again or at least my friend and move on with my day.

I found my friend waiting for me outside the studio. “Great class,” she said, “What did you think of it?”

“Ha,” I said, but before I could launch into the full story, Yoga Guy came out of the studio and gave a little wave in my direction before heading off down the sidewalk.

“Do you know him?” she asked, “He’s kinda cute…”

Unable to control myself any longer, I made the combination stink eye/death stare in his direction and responded, “Yyyyyeah, he’s all yours!”


Stacey is a chubby hippy living life champagne-style on a tap water budget.





Editor: Seychelles Pitton

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26 Responses to “Yoga Guy. ~ Stacey Kolsrud”

  1. Terence says:

    Hope future experiences are better. Sounds like this guy at the very least needs a dozen lessons yoga etiquette. In defense of the sweaty yoga practitioner however, I think that providing they employ deodorant before class and don't make a show of getting sweaty, then they should be fine. Though it sounds like this guy may have been doing yoga for other reasons than yoga. Dodgy indeed!

  2. Denise says:

    Give the guy a break on the sweat and body hair! Was he supposed to shave his body before class? I thought it was natural for men to have hair on their bodies and sweat unless they have low T. lol Yeah, the farting and grunting are poor manners and social skills but he can be educated. Educate with a good and positive example instead of discouraging him. He will realize soon enough that this isn't how people act in class if he feels welcome and continues practicing. The world needs as many people as possible practicing in my opinion!

  3. Whereisthelove? says:

    Why have all the posts Ive read lately been so negative? Maybe Yoga guy has a gland condition, maybe he farts, but how do you proprose he stops his body doing so? Mabe you would b better practising at home, if a persons sweat, farting and hairiness offend. Im not sure what this man could have done about any of those, and how else is he to learn yoga?
    And by the way deoderants cause cancer.. and stop the body sweating..and de-toxing) which is exactly what yoga is trying to do (detox and purify) .. and sweat wont kill you, take baby wipes with you next time and dont be such a drama queen

  4. cathy says:

    Some people just sweat. It's nto a crime.
    Some people have hair on their body. Crime?

    It may have been you rfirst yoga and/or gym class. Peoples' bodies are different and none of that differentness is intended jst to pikk you off to write a mean sarcastic article.
    A crowded yoga class is one which ispopular.
    Find an empoty one to attend and remain aloof and better than most of us.

  5. Michael says:

    I can't tell whether this article is satire. It is so over-the top judgmental that it seems like it must be. The video you included certainly is . . . the way I interpret it, the video is about how ridiculous the singer is (she is disgusted by everything, including a piece of fruit that falls out of her refirgerator). And yet, you seem to take yourself seriously, and the comments take your article at face value, with no correction from you.

    So, assuming this article is not irony, the way I understand it your problems with him are:
    (1) he has body hair
    (2) you did not like his outfit
    (3) he breathes
    (4) he sweats
    (5) he is a beginner and is trying hard
    (6) his body makes body noises.
    Yet there was nothing he did to invade your space except accidentally (see item 5) and before he even sat down he politely sought permission to practice next to you. He was friendly and did the best he could and you were filled with negative judgment from the very first moment.

    Assuming you are serious, it sounds to me like the problem is entirely yours. I would have titled this article "Inappropriate Yoga Girl"

  6. Tom Wagner says:

    Nice article Stacy.

  7. ann says:

    yeah – gonna have to agree with the other posters here…this was pretty harsh and judgemental. only makes me happier i practice at home…hard enough dealing with all the judgment i put upon myself – having to worry about how others are psychically pointing and staring would make it so much worse.

  8. brantredux says:

    is this trying to be funny? satire ? FAIL. How would it feel were I, as a man, to write an article called "Yoga Girl" making fun of some woman's body? Can we be funny without being mean-funny?

  9. Papillon says:

    It’s funny. I have a regular yoga guy, and he’s harmless. Haven’t found a way to tell him everyone can see his testicles in dd, I don’t think he would care either. I just direct the peeps without a superfun sense of humor to the front.

  10. Edward Staskus says:

    I thought , as I was reading your story, that you had made it up, and when I got to the lavender soap part, I knew you had made it up. Nevertheless, good story, funny. By the way, I practice at a Bikram studio, in a very hot and humid room, in what are often quite crowded conditions. There are times even the ladies are yoga guys in that class.

  11. cathy says:

    thank you Michael.

  12. I agree with Michael above – this article is just too shallowly written to be really keen satire or sarcasm…

    It just reeks of judgment and intolerance and superficiality. It is unsurprising why so few folks try yoga, or return after their first class if the kind of 'stank-face' experience you gave this man is any indication of the seething distaste for 'others' who don't conform to your ideals; I honor you for being honest, because I fear you are not alone, and as a teacher, I find yours and other student's intolerance for their fellow classmates appalling.

    At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I've pretty much ceased reading Elephant (linked into this from another place, will question that author's motives as well), and as a contributor, I've stopped writing for Elephant. It seems that this kind of vacuous "aren't I funny as I totally disrespect someone else and my practice, because really, I get more readers the shittier my tone is" article is taking precedent.

    I'm saddened. I came to Elephant to write seriously on the spiritual aspects, the community and collaboration that can and should be happening, the availability of this practice to create transformation personal change. In doing so, I've gone largely unheard.

    Thoughtful, considerate, well-written and researched articles are the rare; Top 5, 7, 10 Reasons To, or Not To; Mean Girls, Yoga Bitches, Naked, and any other BS sensationalistic articles are what my co-writers, peers, editors and apparently the readership at Elephant prefer and enjoy.

    I find that as sad and pathetic as this – I would suppose humorous, although I fail to find it – article is. Here's a thought – maybe you could write an article that would build people up, make people feel more welcome, or at least dive in and not make it his fault, but explore why your reactions were so intolerable. Not his actions, your reactions. Because, that's what is truly the issue, if you'd like to become a serious writer. Go within, stop looking outside for material.

    You showed your true character when you—and you wrote it so clearly—chose to use the studio's prop, the blanket provided for the class for the reason you stated, to cover you in Savasana, as a 'wipe-up' for this guys sweat. Really considerate to your fellows and the studio, and it's volition, ten-times more reprehensible than his accidental dripping on your mat.

    His is just what happens due to his physiology – what yoga is about. Yours was about personality – something yoga can help you address and decide if you like the way you are treating others. Please consider it.

  13. Lana says:

    Honestly, the article is neither satirical nor funny. I'm surprised that this article is published here…it's kinda like the opposite of yoga and what I come to elephantjournal to read.

    And finally, who doesn't drip sweat during yoga?

  14. Stacey says:

    Thanks for your feedback everyone. Part of what I was trying to demonstrate is the judgement and disgust are just as real and part of the human experience as compassion. I apologize to those whom I offended and am appreciate those who were able to find humor in my humanness…

  15. Vision_Quest2 says:

    This is why yoga is so much better at a gym than at a studio. The teaching may be of differing quality, but in a gym more variation, body diversity, size diversity and behaviors are allowed/not frowned upon/not called out by students and/or teachers. Of course, the gym's insurance may keep them from offering handstand/headstand within the class-time (there's always on-your-own before or just after). But for some of us, that is neither necessarily nor desirable. Though I heard a story about one guy who would not practice headstand by himself in a gym, and he roped the teacher into doing it with him after class; SHE was the one who fell.

  16. Michael says:

    So the article was not satire? That is, you were reporting your actual experience and your actual responses? Wow.

  17. Stacey says:

    yes, this actually happened!

  18. cathy says:

    Interesting comment. I am becoming in agreement lately. I think it is because EJ is accepting many articles by new writers and possibly not screening out.

    I do recall whom you are due to a couple( to me couple means 2) sets of comments from you.
    1.) your article about subbing in which youdescribed how you deliberately waited until the entire class was settled to enter the room( MANIPULATIVE) so no onw ould know there would be a substitute.
    2.) comments after an article in which you accused an author of being overly dramatic.. that after telling me I stuck you r sword in you r eye.
    You, too, Chrispy, make an impression on readers.

  19. Yup, you got me!! You've really held that interpretation of the events to heart… I'm honored I made such an impression – that exchange, and others like it were primary to me making the decision to back away from elephant.

    Seems I've made the right decision, I should've not even commented herein. Seems like folks are so much more looking for a dispute than a dialog. The tone on this site is just unfriendly.

    Once again, Cathy, be well. I wish you nothing else.

  20. Edward Staskus says:

    If this was not made up, then I have to wonder who the "Yoga Guy" really was.

  21. mark says:

    As a newbie to yoga and being a male, some of the classes can be very intimidating. Smallish room, close proximity with 99% women and moving for an hour+. Bound to sweat a bit and I know there are some of my body parts are popping and cracking and I have been known to give out audible moans when I'm at my edge. I wear gym shorts and a t-shirt and I hope none of my "male parts" are visible. I'll have to ask that question in my next class. That shouldn't be too awkward… I have noticed some females wearing outfits that appear to have been spray painted on so please go easy on what yoga garb one should wear.

    If this article was meant to be funny, then great. Whether it works as humor is personal preference of the reader. If it was meant to rat some guy out, then just understand this is one reason that will keep more males from attending yoga classes (were there any other guys in class?). The guy didn't seem creepy by the description. A bit rough around the edges (in addition to his hair and sweat) but it's not like he was leering or staring for the entire class. He waved to you when he left class. What's not to like about that?

  22. ann says:

    i couldn't agree more with everything you said. when i think about the ways a regular yoga practice has changed my life from the inside out, i can't help but wonder what kind of person would want anyone to go without it. having said that, we're all on a journey, isn't it?

  23. mark says:

    Honestly, I'm not subtle type of guy so I think I miss many changes that have happened to me. I do know I have a somewhat clearer mind and then there are "in between spots" where a thought comes out of nowhere with a potential solution or idea to something that has jangling around in my mind. I am enjoying this practice and trying not to over think it. That in itself is a pretty big step for me.

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