To the guy in the front row in white shorts and no drawers on—no matter what you have heard, scrotums are not in season. (Not now or ever.)
Like most yoga instructors, I have seen a lot.
I have seen things that I have never wanted to see. I have seen things I never thought I would see. I have seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I have seen things that have made me want to pull out my eyeballs and set them on fire.
I have not just seen things—I have experienced a lot also. Some yoga practices (teaching and practicing) have made me feel like I have done my tour of duty.
Okay, that’s hyperbole—but I have left a practice with my head spinning, and my emotions in a Mix-Master, spraying the walls of my innards with WTF-ness.
I teach rather slow paced practices—Restorative, Gentle Hatha and Yin. There are some yogis who don’t read class descriptions and waltz in—ceremoniously unroll their mat like a bad burrito—and plop down expecting me to run them through the rigors of 108 Sun Salutations. Not happening. So when we start the slow paced warm up and taper off from there, they get antsy to say the least.
I have had a small, pliable young lady—with thousands of cornrowed braids dangling from her head—become bored, lie on her abdomen and pull her left foot over her shoulder to chew on her toenails.
Maybe yoga isn’t the best match for her, but I understand that Cirque du Soilel is always hiring.
I’ve had a yogi eating candy during the practice. The biggest complaint that day was that others were annoyed with the rustling of the candy wrapper—just like the noisy eater at the theatre. This isn’t Return of the Jedi, people. Its yoga.
I have had a grown adult yell out during the practice, “Night terrors! I have night terrors!”
Well, that is a shame, but perhaps that should be kept to yourself until later, or maybe we could have discussed it before the practice started. Quietly. By ourselves—in the hallway or lobby.
When setting an intention at the beginning of the practice, I have had a yogi exclaim aloud that his intention was, “To improve my golf swing!”
All righty, Tiger. With all of the things on which to set an intention, if your golf swing is the thing you want to put your energy towards, you go boy. But our intentions can be said quietly—to ourselves. Got it!?
I have seen a yogi practice while wearing a full scuba suit because he needed to, “Sweat more.”
There was the yogi who set up crystals and small religious icons at the edges of her mat. I suppose they protected her from the bad “juju” of the rest of us? But I was afraid she would one day throw holy water on me while screaming, “The power of Christ compels you!”
Just a few days ago, a young man was doing some odd self-massage, and when I checked in with him to make sure everything was okay—he explained he was, “Releasing his psoas.”
Seriously dude? That is between you and your god, but come on.
Sometimes I think I have a satellite dish on my head that attracts the oddballs. My theory is that the larger the group, the more chance a weirdo will slip in under the fence—it’s simple math! We’re are going to get the inevitable a**hole when we open up the doors of a yoga studio, our home or our heart.
I even hesitate to call some of these screwballs “a**holes.” I’m quite sure most of them are not malevolent. However, their behavior can be a**hole-ish.
Some of them are just misfits, who have their own set of standards for moving through the world.
I like unique. I applaud the outcast. I consider myself to be an outsider in the realm of yoga, and possibly in the rest of the world. But I wear underwear to practice yoga. I don’t want to obstruct anyone’s comfort level in yoga.
Still, if you consider yourself a weirdo—embrace that.
The most exquisite art, the most honest words and the most soul stirring music usually springs from the “weirdos.”
Just keep in mind—we are all on this human journey together.
You might recognize yourself as the yogi comes in late to every practice, so consider leaving a few minutes early and see if your practice feels any different when you arrive on time.
It can be jarring when someone slaps their mat down on the floor so fiercely it appears they are trying to kill a scorpion. The mat lays down just a smoothly if you softly unfurl it.
If you are the person who jingles keys when you arrive at the studio—like its Christmas Eve, and you work for the Salvation Army—think about those who have arrived early and are already seated with their eyes closed and hugging their bliss.
Treat your fellow yogis like you like to be treated.
Set an intention for your practice if you like, but say it to yourself.
And wear underwear—please.
Namaste, Mutha Effers.
Author: Melissa Morgan
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Flickr/Lisa Picard
Don’t treat yourself like a schmuck: