August 6, 2013

Another 10 Things Yogis Won’t Tell You About Yoga Class.

Okay, I’m braced for a barrage of hateful Facebook comments.

I’m ready because someone has to tell it like it is.

So let’s not waste time with fancy-schmancy introductions.

Without further ado, here are a few more things that yogis won’t tell you about yoga class, but I will (because I have no shame and self-proclaimed, awesome ADHD-blurting writing skills).


1. Groaning, moaning.

So a groan or a moan or a sigh slips out, either accidentally or on purpose during a yoga class. This happens to all of us, because a class simply feels good.

It happens once or twice.

Groaning and moaning throughout an entire class? Nope, not so much—go be an exhibitionist somewhere else.

2. B.O. 

This one didn’t make my other two lists because I thought it was fairly straight forward. Apparently it’s not.

I’ve actually gotten several requests to place this topic on my next similarly-themed article (You’re welcome.) And, no, I’m actually not kidding this time.

To be honest, this is the worst when it’s you. Everyone sweats and smells more than they’d truly like, at least from time to time. However, if you’re a warm-room fan like me, then try to find a deodorant that works for you most of the rest of the time.

I’ll admit that lately I’ve been sweating so much that my shirts still smell even after I’ve washed them. (Don’t worry, my mom’s on it.) So it’s not that I don’t understand—I’m just being a giver and helping some other yogis out. (Also, I warned you that I blurt, right?)

And consider not eating so much garlic before class too. Thanks.

3. Your purse isn’t as cool as you think.

I’m sooooo impressed that you can afford a thousand dollar handbag. (I’m not that impressed.) But maybe you should consider leaving it at home if you’re not comfortable putting it in the cubbies outside of the yoga room.

Can you imagine if all of us had a huge-ass, expensive bag in front of our mats while we practiced? For me, it kills the mood more than a little bit (and, also, the teachers need that space to walk around and, you know, teach).

4. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

I come to my mat because it brings me back to my center, back to the me without the swirling chaos that sometimes rattles around in my mind or the overwhelming emotions that often exist in my heart. Meaning, I don’t need overly complex sequencing.

In fact, this usually has the opposite effect of what I’m looking for because I have to get inside of my head to follow what’s happening—and I can’t drop into the sensations of my body where I truly need to be.

Over and over again, the classes that I choose to frequent are fairly simple, and they work—they make my physical self feel good, as well as those other aspects of me too.

5. I know that I’m not the only one who eats meat.

Now, I fully understand that in some yoga schools you actually have to be a vegan to be a certified instructor, and that the belief is that non-harming has to extend to not eating animal flesh; but the thing is, I eat meat—and I know I’m not the only one.

I was a vegetarian for well over a decade and I discovered that, for my body, eating meat makes me healthier. There you have it. (To the reader who wanted a more detailed, written explanation than this, you’re not getting it.) The long and short of it is that I’m severely hypoglycemic unless I consume small amounts of mindfully-raised meat.

I experimented more than you know on this, so don’t bother leaving suggestions in the feedback box. Although do go head and leave your prayers for my ignorant and blinded soul. Those were nice. (They were not nice—to be read in a Homer Simpson-style stage whisper.)

And, after considerable effort and thought, here’s the conclusion that I came to: non-harming extends to me too.

Also, quit being such an arrogant, judgmental asshole. Thanks again.

6. We’re not here to make money.

Contrary to popular belief, yoga teachers are not in it to get rich. Wait, is this a popular belief? If it’s not then why do so many teachers out there have at least one horror story of a student not acting out of a place of kindness, good yogi behavior, or even just pain civil courtesy when they provided after-class feedback?

While I absolutely understand that not all teachers float your boat, please keep in mind that basically all people who choose to teach yoga are there to simply share their passion with you.

Actually, writing about yoga is very much the same in that bloggers aren’t out for top dollars either—we’re here to share our thoughts and words with the hope that they might connect with someone else out there. Yeah, just go ahead and keep that in mind.

7. You’re not fooling me—I know you’re not a saint either.

Whether or not you’re as open as I am about publicly airing your quirks, everyone knows that you have them too—because no one is a picture of perfection. Well, maybe you are a picture, but that’s a flat, one-dimensional object and not a uniquely idiosyncratic person.

Sure, your little eccentricities and observations might be different than these, and you might even think that yours are more “yoga friendly.” But I’m here to suggest that we’re all fallible people, even if we practice yoga—yet isn’t this something to rejoice and find comfort in?

Besides being real about who we are doesn’t have to mean that we’re not all on a yogic journey towards being our best selves.

8. Size up in Lululemon.

Because even spandex can be too tight. Moving on…

9. It’s okay to admit that you came to your yoga practice for your body.

I get a little sick of yogis pretending that they all started out as enlightenment-seeking individuals. No, quite a lot of us came to yoga because we like the way it made our bodies feel or look or both—and that’s…okay!

It’s okay because I would also wager that many of us naturally move on from this initial and more superficial kick-start.

So, please, stop judging other, newer yogis for coming to class because they want to hone their flexibility and strength.

10. Everyone can practice yoga.

Contrary to what yoga snobs will have you believe, everyone can practice yoga—and I mean that.

I’d like to say that if you can walk you can practice yoga, but this isn’t true—you can practice yoga even if you can’t walk. (Some of my favorite students have been wheel-chair bound.)

Yes, I’m fully aware that I’ll possibly get several comments about how yoga has nothing to do with our bodies, etc, etc, but I’d like to politely ask those readers to re-check this article’s title. (Hint: it’s about yoga class, which tends to, generally speaking, be physically related. I digress.)

If you find yourself in a yoga classroom or setting where you feel unwelcome, then go somewhere else, but don’t give up! Trust me when I say that yoga is for everyone—you just might have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince.

I stated that I was ready for nasty comments, and I am (as ready as possible considering that I’m a real person and not a robot, but that would be super cool—if a yoga-practicing robot had actually typed this article for us mere humans to read and relate to and laugh at). Anyways.

So why did I write this then, if I don’t like being called “not a real yogi” or “an asshole?”

(And to the person who said that I was just “good at yoga exercises,” you’re right. I’m really good. Okay, no I’m not.)

I wrote it because I believe that you can be a serious yoga practitioner and student of spirituality while—gasp!—maintaining a sense of humor. Who proclaimed that practicing yoga, looking in the mirror at your flaws and then laughing at them were mutually exclusive subjects? And, another thing, who said that it wasn’t my own toenails that I noticed and that grossed me out? (Alright, it wasn’t.) 

Maybe you strongly identify with this list of things that most yogis won’t tell you, or maybe you don’t. Either way, I’m fairly confident that this will be my last blog on the subject so you can either share away and help this go down in blogging history (which is my recommendation) or you can feel free to leave your snarky comment below (as long as it’s thoughtfully written).

Until next time, keep taking care of your toenails and wearing an appropriate deodorant. (Because, obviously, that’s the most important aspect of practicing yoga.)

“If God dwells inside of us like some people say, I sure hope He likes enchiladas, because that’s what He’s getting.” ~ Jack Handey

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Ed: Bryonie Wise

Photo: Lululemon Athletica

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