Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Yoga Etiquette

I realize that yoga is trendy and cool right now, but that doesn't mean you're allowed to do whatever you want in yoga class. It's a very disciplined activity, and lately I have been disappointed by the behaviors I have seen in my class. Here are a couple of issues I would like to discuss:

1. Cell phones: PLEASE, for the love of God, turn your ringer off in class! Is it really that difficult to put your phone on vibrate or silent for the hour you're in yoga class? Are you expecting an emergency to happen between 7:30 and 8:30 on a Monday or Tuesday night? I don't even bring my cell phone to class. Yoga is all about focus and concentration, and how am I (and everyone else, for that matter) supposed to concentrate when your stupid phone is ringing? And if it does start ringing, get up and turn it off IMMEDIATELY. Someone last night just let it ring and ring until it stopped, and then it started ringing again. SO RUDE! Lesson learned: leave your cell at home, in your car, or in your locker, so as not to disturb class for the hundredth time.

2. Flatulence: I realize it's a natural action of the body, but in general, it is controllable. Everyone (including the guilty party) is embarrassed when the room is silent except for that tale-tell sound. If you feel that feeling (you know exactly what I'm talking about), stop whatever pose you are in and just let the feeling pass; if you try to move into the next pose, you will have less bodily control, and you're gonna let one rip. And, in general, it's not a smell thing. It's a sound thing like the cell phone: it breaks my focus. Keep your bodily noises to yourself! Everyone knows the art of releasing a silent fart. Please do so in class.

3. Over-achievers: Yoga, just like many other work out exercises, has many variations. There are hard exercises (i.e. poses) that can be modified in order to fit your skill or strength level. If you need to use a block in order to keep you balance, use it; if you're feeling really worn out, take a break in child's pose. Don't push yourself to do poses that you know you cannot do. There is an older gentleman in my class who is always huffing and puffing (clearly is not focusing on his breathing) while trying to do difficult poses (which the instructor isn't even doing, mind you); he regularly falls over, he makes a bunch of noise...he's disruptive. It makes the class less enjoyable, especially when it's quite obvious he's one of those creepers who is trying to impress young girls in the class, but really, he's just embarrassing himself and ruining the class for everyone. My advice: only do what you can. I myself skip poses that I know may lead to me tipping over, and I will never attempt a headstand. I know my limits, and you should know yours.

4. Hygiene: If you are borrowing a yoga mat from the gym/studio you go to, make sure to wipe it down before putting it back into its pile. Someone else is going to have to use that mat, and they would very much appreciate not to have to deal with your body odor/sweat/etc. So be thoughtful and clean your mat after you've used it. If you're too lazy to do so, buy your own mat. Then you can be as filthy as you'd like.

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