May 22, 2014

The Perspective of that Lone Guy in Yoga Class. ~ Joseph Choi


I arrived to class early and was the first one there.

I rolled my mat out onto the floor and went through my usual routine of stepping on the corners to make sure it was flat on the ground.

Then, a young woman came in and took the space in front of me. A few seconds later, another woman walked in and started warming up next to me, followed by another. Within a few minutes, five to six attractive women wearing tights and tank tops were surrounding me.

This is a typical scene in any given yoga class I go to.

Hey, it’s not an easy job, but somebody has to be one of the few guys in yoga class.

It’s usually me.

I randomly came across a Cosmo article on what that guy in yoga class is thinking. Most of it was about checking out all the women and how hard the poses are. I get that it was meant to be humorous, and there is some truth to the article. But, based on my experiences as the lone guy in yoga class, I want to tell my unfiltered reality.

Relationship status influences my thoughts:

I’ve had two peak periods of time when I was practicing yoga on a regular basis. For one of these peak periods I was in a long-term relationship. For the other, I was single.

This makes a difference in what goes through my mind. When I was in a relationship, my girlfriend didn’t do yoga—even though I tried to get her to a few times. But I would go to class and mostly be oblivious to the other women around me.

My girlfriend at the time was the world to me. But when I was single, I had an attraction to about half the women in class at any given time. This varies though and brings me to my next point.

Studio location also influences me:

I’m only 30 now and most of my practicing was done in my twenties. I’ve found yoga classes in the city to be filled with young professional women. When I was single and taking classes in these studios, I had many small crushes.

However, when I moved out of the city and starting taking classes in the suburbs I found the classes were mostly middle-aged women. There’s nothing wrong with this, it’s just the way things are.

But in these classes I didn’t have wandering eyes or crushes and it was mostly just about getting in and getting out. There were no thoughts about possible romantic relationships.

Checking women out is done before class:

Checking women out happens in yoga class. But, it’s all done before class starts. I’ll admit, getting up to get blocks and straps and glancing at the clock are sometimes purposeful maneuvers.

But once we start flowing in and out of poses, I need to focus. I don’t really notice anybody else in the room.

I’ve wanted to strike up conversation but can’t find a good time:

I want to strike up a conversation before class, but at many studios this is a quiet time and space, so I try to respect that. And of course, we can’t say anything during class. After class is a circus with people sprinting to get out and others trying to squeeze in a few extra minutes of yoga.

After a month or so it becomes awkward to say hello:

I’ve seen the same women, in the same class, at the same time, for the past few months. Many times I’ve wanted to say ‘hi’ from the get go, but didn’t because of the above reason. After a month or so, I feel like it’s too late and awkward to say hello.

Maybe it’s all in my head.

I don’t know.

I tried to do “insert yoga pose here” and it didn’t work:

It took me a lot of work to get to where I am. My body doesn’t have much estrogen so I’m not as naturally flexible. I’m happy with my progress over the years, though.

Occasionally, I do catch glimpses of women in class going deeper into a pose or doing some other advanced variation.

I wanted to try it during class, but didn’t want to make a fool of myself in front of everyone. But I tried it at home and the results were not pretty.

So, that’s why I haven’t been in class lately.

But I’ll be back soon.


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Apprentice Editor: Jess Sheppard/Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: tumblr

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Joseph Choi