Every Saturday morning, I wake up at 8:30am, if not earlier, and have a glass of water, make myself breakfast and a tea, drink another glass of water, take a calcium pill, a vitamin D, some fish oil and some vitamin C. Then, I make my way back up to my room to get ready for yoga. I put on my pants and find a sports bra, then a shirt that’s not too loose, not too tight, but just right. I make my way to the bathroom and brush my teeth, wash my face and put my hair on top of my head in the most ginormous bun anyone has ever seen.
Around 10:00am, I get in the car and make my way to the yoga class, at the gym just about five-minutes away. At 10:07am, I’m laying out my mat and starting to warm up. I get to the class, which starts at 10:30am, so early because the group of people that attend this class is a) large, b) pushy and c) sassy as ever. They’ll tell me to move my mat up, down, to the right or to the left, they’ll come in all sweaty from the step class beforehand and talk about how yoga is more of a cool-down for them and they’ll stare at me funny if I lose my balance during tree pose or something.
I wouldn’t keep going to this yoga class if I didn’t love it. Yoga strengthens my joints, which are extremely weak, stretches out all my stiff muscles from playing soccer and intense cardio and it de-stresses me. I go into the class like a ball of tense elastics and then I leave feeling like I’m a strong, beautiful, smart and important woman. The instructor is also amazing and she gets to know each participant by name, as well as each of our strengths and weaknesses. She pushes us and really focuses on improving technique, stability and strength as well as adding in some dynamic movements to get our heart rates up. It’s safe to say that I have a girl crush on my yoga instructor. She’s strong on the inside and on the outside, thus she makes the intention of every yoga class about physical, mental and spiritual stability. Plus, she talks to the participants like the strong human beings we are, not people who have weak joints and cracky-shoulders (of which most of us in the class do). I really appreciate this.
However, there are a few types of people who also attend this class that sometimes make it hard to focus on my Ujjayi breath (a type of breath that fills the belly, rises to the rib cage and finally moves to the chest, throat and mouth). I’m sure you’ve met and interacted with some of them.
1. The person who sets up shop an hour before class so they can go run or take part in another, higher-intensity, class with an instructor named, like, Brees, or something. Their mat is in your way, it’s in everyone’s way actually, and they totally left their yoga block and mat bag in the middle of the room. This is probably the person who was also using the pair of five-pound dumbbells that’s sitting in the back corner of the room and most definitely the person who’s going to “omg-excuse-me-so-sorry-to-interrupt” their way to their spot 15-minutes after the class has started. Did they forget that they can actually work out any day of the week and that they didn’t have to cram in a week’s worth of exercise in one day? This person is probably also making everyone in the room feel like they’re the reason for the McDonald’s reference in the following image, and that’s not very nice. I mean, do your thing, no one can tell you that exercise is bad for you, but just remember to be respectful to the shared space you’re in and the people sharing that space with you. The gym is not your home. And even if it was…
2. Simba. Also known as the person with his or her hair down, when it should be up. I have long, curly hair and it’s challenging for me to function while doing any sort of exercise if it’s all up in my face. I also know that if I was in yoga class with my hair down, I’d probably whack someone in the face while flowing from mountain pose to plank. Take note: If we’re in a yoga class together and you have long hair, but you forgot your hair tie, please ask me for an extra one (I always have one around my wrist). Your hair is beautiful but I’d prefer if it a) doesn’t get in my eye and b) doesn’t choke me.
3. The mouth breather. Do it up. Breathe away. But, if you’re breathing out of your mouth (which you’re not supposed to do in yoga) and sound like you’re about to pass out, maybe you need to sit back in child’s pose and calm yourself down. You sound like you’re about to have a panic attack and yoga is supposed to lower your chances of having those. Maybe go see your doctor? Or, ask the instructor for a modification? Plus, close your mouth. We love you and love that you’ve joined us in practice, but we don’t want your germs. Just saying.
4. The farter. There’s really nothing I can do about this one. People fart. Whether they choose to fart in their own home or in a yoga class with me is totally up to them. Yoga is supposed to improve digestion. I just can’t help but feel disgusting when I’m in full wheel and relax my neck towards the mat and get this whiff of the human version of cow manure, slowly blowing up my nostrils like I’ve decided to take a drive up Highway 400. And, not for anything, but if you’re farting in yoga class, you come across like this lady:
5. The mat mover. If I’ve put my mat in a spot that’s far enough to the side of the yoga studio and have ensured that I’ve packed all my belongings away in a locker, I expect that when I get up to pee before the yoga class begins that when I return, my mat will still be in the same place. If I get back and my mat is a) crooked, b) pushed even closer to the wall or c) no longer flat against the floor, I’m going to assume that any new faces in the room are responsible for moving my mat for their own convenience(s). I get it, it’s annoying when people save spots in inconvenient locations, as I’ve mentioned above, but couldn’t you have just waited and asked me to move my mat a little over to the left? Now, war’s on and I’ll do everything in my power to chaturanga lower than you can, even though yoga isn’t supposed to be judgmental.
6. The bum toucher. There’s this one woman in the yoga class I go to and almost every week (except for today’s class, because she wasn’t there), she asks me to move my mat so she can squeeze in the front row (but she arrives late and I arrive early to ensure a good spot). So I move my mat over, because there’s no point in starting drama (plus, I can always blog about my frustrations later). But then, she sets up her mat while I’m chilling in savasana waiting for the class to begin and her rear end is actually in my face. I take a deep breath and politely say, “Excuse me?” There’s often no response. And then, when we’re halfway through the class, her butt likes to dust the top of my bun as we’re stretching out our hamstrings in a standing straddle forward bend. Can your bum please not touch my bun? It’s gross.
7. The mat-less “superstar.” If I ever did yoga without my mat, the studio floor would turn into a Slip ‘n Slide. There are, however, some people who prefer to do yoga with no mat, and that’s all good. However, when these mat-less peeps come into a class and get frustrated because there’s no room for them on the floor, I cringe. Did you come in early to claim your floorspace? Did you even wipe down the area on the floor you’re about to get real up close and personal with? Your face is going to touch the floor several times, you know. Someone’s bare foot was probably on the part of the floor your face is going to touch. Someone probably farted where your hand is. Someone may have even put their bum on the space you’re downward doggin’ in right now. If someone put their bum on my bun, they’ve definitely put their bum on the floor you’re essentially kissing. Disgusto.
8. The show-off. As I mentioned at the start of this post, my yoga prep involves hydrating and nourishing my body, brushing my teeth, putting my hair up and putting on clothes. Some people arrive to class and seem to have either forgotten to wash their faces from the night before or have woken up extra early to coat their faces in eight-pounds of bronzer. The best (read: The worst) is when someone comes in and their hair was clearly in hot rollers less than half-an-hour before. I also adore (read: Despise) the people who come in with lipgloss. Darling, your lips look fabulous and I’m sure your sweaty mat appreciates that you chose something a little more shiny than an everyday finish.
All frustrations aside, I’ll continue to go to yoga class each Saturday. I’m sure there will be even more strange people that will do things I’ll never be able to understand. However, that’s people, right? We’re all weird. I promise, though, I’ll never touch your bun with my bum or show up to yoga with a full face of make up on purpose.
Has anyone done something completely off-the-wall odd in a gym class in which you participate?