1. Setting up next to a person with aggressive body odor. Oh, you went to a hot yoga class yesterday and didn’t bother to shower before showing up today? You’re, like, so close to the earth that you don’t want to waste water, and so the rest of us all have to deal with your chive crotch? Refusing to bathe or wear deodorant to a yoga class is both surprisingly common and should be considered an act of aggression (it also violates the principle of shaucha [purity], which extends to cleanliness of the body, and ahimsa, which means “nonviolence” and “compassion for others,” you smelly selfish jerk).
2. The tyranny of see-through pants. I just glanced forward in Downward Dog and I can see details of the reproductive organs of the person in front of me because the pants they’re wearing are closer to “tights” than “yoga pants.” Were they a victim of The Great Lululemon Sheer Pants Debacle of 2013? Are they wearing actual tights instead of pants? Wait, are my pants see-through too?
3. Accidentally farting in class. Sometimes the strain of chair pose is just too much.
4. When your teacher plays really terrible music during Savasana. Didn’t we all agree that Savasana was Official Bon Iver Time? Apparently some instructors haven’t gotten the message and play music so terrible it’s impossible to relax. John Mayer and 311 have no place in any decent and fair universe, let alone a yoga class.
5. Realizing you have volunteered to regularly come face-to-crack with a stranger. Ah, Prasarita Padottanasana, the wide-legged forward fold: It feels so good! Except when you’re in a packed class and you have to come into the pose by basically swiping your nose down the ass crack of the person in front of you (and the person behind you has their nose in your crack too). As you’re upside-down and already worried about how to come up without hitting them between the legs with your head, you realize you actually paid money for this experience.
6. Feeling yoga envy, then feeling guilty for feeling yoga envy. Wait, did that girl just press up into a handstand from Crow pose? Did that Instagram yoga star really just write that she’s only been practicing for two years? Yes, everyone’s practice is different and there’s no such thing as being “better” at yoga than the next person and envy is pretty un-yogic, but damn, that girl is way better than me, and now I’m both jealous and mad at myself for being a Bad Jealous Yoga Person.
7. The forever unrealized promise of open hips. Who are these people whose hips are “open”? And why are open hips some sign of emotional openness and mental flexibility and spiritual superiority? Because that smug girl who just easily tucked herself into Lotus elbowed you out of her way to grab the last block, so.
8. Falling. Onto your face out of Crow pose. Onto your back out of an inversion. Onto your other foot out of Half-Moon. Onto your hands out of Dancer. You never imagined that as a grown adult, you would spend so much time regularly humiliating yourself by falling on your ass in front of dozens of other people.
9. Crying in pigeon pose. Practice long enough and you’ll hear lots of teachers tell you that we hold emotions in our hips and that part of the process of hip-opening is also letting go of the pent-up feelings that don’t serve us anymore. It’s all eye-rolling bullshit until it’s the week after your broke up with your boyfriend and your cat just died, and after dropping $18 on this class you have $7.92 in your bank account, and you’re on the floor draped over your own calf and having All Of The Feelings, and oh god, you’re the girl who’s crying in a yoga class and everything those batty teachers ever said about emotions living in your hips was true and you just hope that Chive Crotch next to you doesn’t notice.
10. Scheduling your social life around your studio’s class schedule. Thursday night drinks? Sure, you can meet at exactly 8:15, since you’re in class until 7:45. Sunday brunch? Sure, but you’re not out of yoga until 12:30, and you can only go to a place where it’s acceptable to walk in covered in sweat and wearing yoga clothes.
11. Hating adjustments, until you start to love adjustments. When you first started doing yoga, getting adjusted felt like a big lit-up arrow pointing to you, the new kid in class who can’t remember the differences between all the Warriors (Why so many warrior poses in a practice that’s supposed to embrace peace, yoga?). But once you realized adjustments aren’t so much corrections as feel-good assists, you started to love them, and you have your favorites. Getting your lower back gently pushed when you’re in Downward Dog? Ahhhh. Having a little pressure added to your Pigeon? It feels so good you quickly get over your concern about the fact that a stranger is touching your disgustingly sweaty body.
12. Worrying you have a terrible om-voice. Most of the time, collective chants are lovely. But wait, where is that wretched screeching coming from? How is it possible for that woman to sound like Fran Drescher when all she’s saying is “om”? Do the screechers know what they sound like? Wait, is my om-voice terrible also? Do I have an ugly om?!
13. Wanting to be a part of the secret Sisterhood of the Cool Pants. Yeah, you regularly browse through the Lululemon leggings that cost more than the dress you bought for New Year’s Eve, but there’s clearly some other source of amazing and original yoga pants, because your classes are full of girls wearing them. And sometimes the girls with the really cool pants have the same cool pants as each other, so where are they all finding them and what is this secret leggings cabal? Is the underground network of cool yoga pants the same one that has apparently taught a handful of yogis the trick to getting their hair into a perfect bun that’s high enough to not be uncomfortable when you’re lying on your back and doesn’t get in the way of a headstand? Have I not been invited to join because my hips aren’t open enough?
14. Living with calloused, repulsive lizard-feet. Practicing barefoot means your feet get immediately tough and hideous. Related: You destroy every manicure and pedicure you ever get.
15. The very un-yogic rage-feels when someone is loud during Savasana. Savasana, or “adult group nap time,” is sacred and glorious and probably the only time of your entire day where your primary task is to relax and think about nothing. But it’s hard enough to lie still and allow your mind to go completely blank when there’s dinner to think about and a minor workplace indignity to dwell on; it’s nearly impossible when the guy next to you is chugging his water or the woman two rows up is whispering to her friend or someone has decided this is an appropriate time to pack up and leave class. Savasana is the best three minutes of your waking life, and the people who interrupt it are history’s greatest monsters.
16. Having regular fantasies about quitting your job, becoming a yoga teacher, and finding happiness forever. Work sucks, it’s cold outside, and hey, you just nailed your headstand, so this is probably a good time to cash out your 401(k) to pay for teacher training, right? You can go work at one of those yoga-surfing schools in Costa Rica, shack up with the surfing teacher, adopt a tiny pet monkey, and produce a gaggle of mop-haired children just as tan and sinewy as you now are. What could go wrong?
17. Turning into an Instagram cliche. You hate all those people who pose photos of themselves in aDancer pose in front of the sunset, until you’re in Tulum and it seems like a good time to download a timer app for your iPhone and practice your #ForearmStand.
18. You have never felt more like dying than when the sweaty man next to you flicks his sweat in your direction. Wait, did he really just sweat on me? He has a towel — why doesn’t he wipe himself down before he drips in my direction? Making sweat fly that far can’t be an accident — did he really do that on purpose? Did I wrong him in some way? What could I have ever done to deserve this?
19. Your biggest fear is passing out and/or barfing in hot yoga. “Just stay in the room!” your teacher says. But am I supposed to be seeing all of these stars as I stay in the room and attempt to not black out? If I barf, should I aim it at my own mat or in the direction of the sweat-flicker?
20. Bosses just don’t understand. Yoga is a required part of your day to keep you sane (and to keep you capable of hunching over your computer without descending into a debilitating injury). It’s not a recreational activity or a “workout.” So just like it’s non-negotiable that Martha down the hall has to leave at six to get her kid from day care, you also have to jet in time to make your evening class. Yet for some reason, “but I have yoga” isn’t considered a legitimate excuse when your boss asks you to stay late and finish an important project. Maybe you really should blow this joint and get started on your yoga-teacher life in Costa Rica.
21. Foot cramps and spasms. There is no worse pain.
22. “Inspirational” yoga pics mostly inspire you to feel terrible. That professional yogi you follow on Instagram or that lady on the cover of YogaJournal doesn’t “inspire” you so much as make you totally depressed at your inflexibility and noted lack of perfect hair and a thigh gap. Why are all the inspirational yoga photos of skinny, golden-haired white women? No matter how much yoga you do, you are never going to be a blonde Los Angeles mother of three whose natural glow can be credited to her full observance of the yamas and niyamas (and last week’s juice cleanse).
23. There is no way to get rid of Hot Yoga Smell. You wash your clothes and your towel, you spray down your mat, but after months of practicing in a 100-degree room, all your stuff reeks of heat, sweat, and dirty feet. You dread the part of class where you have to lie on your stomach nose-to-mat and inhale the odor of your own hot filth.
24. Dragging your mat everywhere. Unless you go to the same studio and you can store your mat there, you’re probably carrying your mat to work and then to class and then home again. Less annoying if you have a car; very annoying if you ride public transportation during rush hour and everyone hates you because it’s really hard to carry a yoga mat without accidentally hitting a bunch of people.
25. You were determined not to turn into a Sanctimonious Yoga Person, but you find you have turned into a Sanctimonious Yoga Person. You spent your first year of practice chuckling silently at the Deep Thoughts yoga instructors love to share in class, which all adhere to the same New Age-y vocabulary. You slowly learn to tolerate the musings on “letting go,” and how the “greatest work” comes in shutting off your mind, and how your very presence in class means you’re already “on the path,” and finding gratitude for your body and this practice, and how the real yoga is off the mat, and the value in being mindful and existing in the present. And then one December day, your friend is crying about a breakup and you hear yourself telling her that winter is naturally a time for transitions, turning inward, and letting go of what no longer serves us, and you find it helps to slow down, show yourself compassion, and focus on breathing through the challenging parts. As soon as the words come out of your mouth, you feel #blessed that she only eyes you disdainfully and doesn’t punch you in your dumb yoga mouth. Namaste, sister.
Source: Cosmopolitan Magazine
About the Author:
Giesel was born and raised in Dangriga Town in Belize, Central America and is now a Houston, Texas based yoga instructor with a passion for holistic health and nutrition, and self-acceptance.
On her journey to share her passions through yoga, Giesel incorporates her Garifuna and Creole culture, yoga philosophy, and awareness to attain self-love.
Giesel specializes in Vinyasa Krama Yoga, which is a flowing sequence of asanas linked by breath and intention.
She is a registered member of the National Association of Certified Yoga Teachers.
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