Dear Yogi Moaners,
I don’t write this as a form of judgement, rather, I just want to share my humble opinion.
Occasional groans, moans or even the unexpected grunt are all acceptable in a yoga class. You never know what is going to come out when you let go. But, there are a few things I would like to say to the all-through-class-moaners:
1. If you sound more like Meg Ryan from the “I’ll have what she’s having” scene than, say, an ocean, you may need to re-adjust your ujjayi breath. It does not require vocal chords.
2. Moaning throughout class is a distraction to others who are trying to focus on what is happening in their own body and space and trying to hear their own breath (as well as the teacher’s instruction).
3. Moaning does not make one ‘more into yoga.’ (This is mostly a note to newbie yogis who may be encountering moaners for the first time.)
4. Even if you must moan in class, please do not moan during shavasana. The rest of us are trying to find our happy, quiet place, and hearing someone “aaaauuuuughhhhhH” takes us out of our space and into yours. We all just sweated, stretched, folded, twisted and bended for 90 minutes just like you, and all we want is to achieve a quiet mind for two seconds. So, please, shhh.
5. And to those grunters, if you’re making sounds like you’re getting worked over by Tyson, yoga is not supposed to be torture. Breathe through the posture. Straining and grunting are signs that you are not focusing on your breath and instead are focusing on getting your body into a shape. If you can’t breath (with control), its not quite yoga.
So be kind to your body and recognize where your fullest expression is today, with breath. If you force it you could hurt yourself, and that wouldn’t be very yogic (because practicing ahimsa—do no harm—also refers to yourself).
That’s all. Carry on and don’t forget to breathe.
Be healthy. Be happy. Be peaceful.
Author: Sandra Woznicki
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: diamondmountain at Flickr