I do yoga but I’m not a yogi. I have found that I’m not the yogi like some on the mats around me. I just don’t fit in with that group and that’s okay with me. Each time the instructor yells “hello yogis” she’s not really referring to me. I do yoga, but I’m not really a yogi.
I do yoga because I’m an athlete and if helps me stay strong. It is a nice counter balance to running and field hockey. I don’t discredit the yogi’s lifestyles, but it’s not for me. I don’t drink kale and lettuce smoothies and I certainly don’t feel like a butterfly when I do yoga (but I am getting some crazy strong guns!). They probably wouldn’t like the things I do and that’s okay for them them as well.
Before I went into recovery I would have wanted to fit in. I would have wondered why I don’t fit into a group, but I have been blessed to learn about myself and how unique I am. I’ve been blessed to have the confidence in knowing that I don’t have to fit in and that is completely okay! Sometimes I’m a lonely soul in class, and other times there is much diversity!
So… As I practice yoga… and I realize that I don’t typically fit in with the “yogi” group….. I just sit back and observe. I find it fun to observe human behavior (it would be my dream job). I noticed there are some typical people that might plop down on the mat next to you. There are many commoners to many yoga classes. There is quite a diverse group that shows up over the weeks. I’ll give them some names and descriptors of the many types of people who have shown up at my hot yoga classes (it’s quite the bunch):
I’m still dealing with life via pictures so I’ve illustrated each description:
The Birthing Lady – This lady sounds like she’s birthing a child! She is either flashing back to lamaze class, or maybe she really is birthing. Her breathing is so loud you are distracted and unsure if YOU are actually breathing. The only way to handle this situation is to try to breath with her otherwise you’ll pass out. After a few moments you might look over like…. “What the…..”
Stinky Feet Guy – The man who wears black socks to work and didn’t use baby wipes before stripping down for yoga. Warrior 3 just made your day 10x worse after a crappy day at work! There is nothing you can do in a packed class but grin and bear it. Hold your nose in warrior 3 and just try to survive.
The Farter – (This could be a guy or girl) in a packed class you can hear this ninja slip a fart out! Yoga is the home for many vegans! When all you eat are tofu and beans, what else do you expect?? Expect these accidents during bent positions or abs on your back! If you’re like me, you’ll inappropriately laugh and not be able to contain yourself!
The Flower Child – Probably a vegan, she is usually wearing “earthy” attire like bracelets or a sarong. She might have smoked weed before class, and she definitely knows what “namaste” translates to in English. She probably has a hindi tattoo as well. Make sure you catch her after class so you can talk about your raw food cleanse and whether or not Mercury is in retrograde – she will be very excited to tell you all about it!
Darth Vader – The force is with him/her. This yogi is one heck of a breather. You’re not sure if they are in the zone or passing out. Either way, your practice for this hour is completely screwed up because of your concern or annoyance for the Dark Father on the mat next to you. You have to make every attempt not to stare. Glancing through your peripherals is all that is allowed. Refer back to “The Birthing Lady” and just try to breath with him so you don’t pass out.
The Sweaty Guy – It’s just terrible when this person sits next to you and the room is crowded. Even worst when he starts flopping around and the sweat drops on your mat. I do my fair share of sweating in my hot yoga class, but when your sweat ventures onto my mat, that’s just gross! Flipping your dog onto my mat should not include your bodily liquids too! Try to hide your facial expressions so you don’t seem so rude. It’s tough, I know.
The Stinky Body Guy – There are no words for this one. Sometimes this is a girl, but more often it’s a dude. You’re unsure if he left his yoga clothes in the washer overnight wet and it’s a mildew smell…. or he just didn’t wash his body…. or maybe he didn’t wipe well enough after the last bathroom visit. Either way, when the room heats up, it’s like putting dog poo in a microwave and then on your face. There is no escaping the smell… grin and bear it and be proud that you didn’t throw up and hope it only makes your eyes water! What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Putting your face into you sweaty yoga towel might be the better choice here!
The Woman in the Full Body Suit – How does everything match? Where do you find outfits to coordinate like that? I look like I’m homeless walking into class and everything is the perfect shade of peach on you! You’re like an all-peach praying mantis. How do you find those pieces to match so perfectly? Where do you buy them to fit in such a snug manner? The headband is the exact shade as well! Impressive!
I Am A Butterfly Woman – She really thinks she is a butterfly while she is practicing yoga. I’m not entirely certain if she needs a shrink or not. She’s so excited about everything. She’s just high on life. Maybe her endorphins are just firing so high that she feels so free, but I won’t dare tell her she’s not a butterfly for fear the snap that will happen. I suggest you not tell her either. Just smile as she bounces past.
The Crunchy Girl – You’ve heard of this movement. The crunchy mom – well, the crunch girl has gone green. This woman is in love with every new recipes she has found and she talks about it nonstop. She’s one greeeeeen mamma! Her smoothies are lettuce, kale, lettuce, water, kale, carrots, lettuce and ice. YUM! She eats so healthy and makes sure that she tells everyone about it whether you want to know or not!!! She is into every fad diet and juicing cleanse.
The Person with the Confusing Tattoo – I’m going to guess that the rose melting into the compass is… I don’t know… your “love for your inner compass”…??? What’s up with the can of soup tattooed on the thigh of the woman in the 3rd row? And the cat on a unicycle smoking a cigarette? I’m sure there is some deep meaning behind each one but they are very confusing to the rest of the world. We can’t stop staring and trying to figure them out.
The Creepy Vocalist Man – This man creeps you out. Like really creeps you out. He’s that 40 year-old-guy who has to announce every single effort he makes with a wheeze or a groan. It’s like listening to your dad have sex. His repertoire is expansive: grunts, verbalized exhales, lip trills. What is this, Pitch Perfect? I suggest figuring out who he is and then making sure you move your mat FAR across the room from him the next time you see him at class. It’s the only way to ensure you don’t leave with PTSD.
The New Girl – If you’ve ever been afraid of going to a yoga class because you think you’ll look ridiculous and make a fool of yourself, just know that there’s always someone watching you and taking satisfaction in your every mistake. Look at that New Girl, she’s doing the wrong pose, she doesn’t know the series and she doesn’t know what some of the poses are. It’s hilarious, like she’s never done this before.
That was me one time 🙂
The Yogi Master – You’re putting your mat down, and he’s already there, preparing for class with a headstand. Or maybe it’s that lithe woman in the corner who’s holding her weight on her forearms and separating her legs in a controlled split above her head. When there are no advanced classes, these gods are thrown in with the rest of us plebeian yogis. It’s like they were born with extra ligaments and extendable spines, living off green juice and flax seeds.
The “I’m-not-drinking-the-kool-aid” Man/Woman – There are a lot of these ones! They are probably athletes who use the practice to further their training. They use yoga as an extension of training and typically tolerate the Oms and the crazy cleansing juice discussion that happens. In fact, if they comment, it’s typically something sarcastic and can be seen as rude. They just want to come in, do their practice and get something great out of it. They probably rushed in from work or from an event or run because they are typically busy. Sit next to them. I doubt you’ll have a bad experience by them.
The Trophy Spouse – Most of the time these are women, but a few men pop up from time to time. Many try to downplay their one percenter status, but it inevitably comes up when they discuss their holidays on St. Tropez, the expensive items they own or the things they do on their free time. You may be able to spot them because they tend to be clad in head to toe Lululemon. She’s usually a tanned beauty who doesn’t actually sweat. We aren’t sure why. Have those glands been removed? She spends all of her time doing this “hobby” because there really isn’t much else for her to do as she doesn’t work.
The Yoga Instructor Who Sees Into Your Soul – “Your thoughts are fish swimming in the river of your breath. Observe, do not try to catch them.” The words are as soothing as goodnight prayers, or Dove chocolate commercials. If you’re lucky, a gentle hand might guide you in a pose or gently massage your feet. Has this woman peeked into your soul? Does she somehow know your deepest secrets? Is that sweat or tears that are running down your face?
I’ve learned …. embrace how unique you are! It’s okay if your dog is better than you 🙂