I used to do yoga five days a week. Back in grad school, my schedule was dictated by a sparse smattering of classes, and I was free to arrange the rest of my days around the yoga classes at Sanctuary for Yoga.
After grad school, I still found ways to do yoga fairly regularly at my gym in New York. And when I moved to Philadelphia, I took weekly private lessons with an amazing teacher who kicked my butt and taught me so much.
And then, as the story goes, I had kids. Figuring out how to get to the gym at all, let alone to schedule regular yoga classes or lessons, on top of a job and volunteering, and everything else, well, you know how it goes. It just stopped happening very regularly.
But last week, I managed to get to a class at the YMCA one block away from home. Being there reminded me just how good it can feel to let the world outside my mat drop away, and just focus on breath, alignment, strength and release.
So, feeling inspired and revved up, I managed to get myself up in time to go to a class the other morning before work. And in this class, I suddenly remembered something else: Yoga can leave me feeling amazing, and it can also sometimes leave me feeling full of rage.
Because people in yoga classes can be So. Damn. Annoying.
And so dear Kveller readers, I present you the 10 Most Irritating Things that Happen in Yoga Classes:
1. When an instructor says, “Stay in this pose for five more breaths,” and then continues talking for 20 more breaths. We’re dying here!
2. Woo woo pseudo-science that gets folded into practice. Nope, twists do not wring toxins out of your liver. They feel good. Can’t that be enough?
3. People next to you who get aggressively competitive. I come to yoga because I don’t want to be competitive. When I see the person next to me eyeing my side angle and then trying to drop theirs, it puts me into a self-loathing spiral even as I try to drop lower myself. This is just foolish, and counterproductive.
4. People who moan through a class. C’mon, I’m working hard already. Please don’t make me try to hold in a giggle.
5. Weird drippy new-agey music. There’s this amazing song that one of my yoga teachers used to play a lot which I loved— except that it was mixed with some “sounds of the savannah” which included a grunting cow. No.
6. When the instructor keeps making gross body shaming comments about how this pose burns calories or will give you a sexy butt. Please don’t assume we’re all here to lose weight. And you know what? Some of us already have sexy butts.
7. Hot yoga. In particular, unintentional hot yoga: When the room gets really hot but the instructor doesn’t want to turn on the fan because it’s good for your muscles to be warm. Hi, it smells disgusting, please help us.
8. When instructors make “adjustments” that don’t feel like anything other than a weird touch and it makes you question everything.
9. Big, prominent statues of the Buddha, or any Hindu gods. I am an old fashioned Jew who doesn’t like to literally bow down in front of a literal idol.
10. When there is tons of room and someone comes and puts their mat down right in front of you. Or worse, right next to you. Why?