Reading: The Tyranny of The Yoga Lady

Protest

The Tyranny of The Yoga Lady

She tries to bring her most centered self to class. Honest. But some classmates push her too far

By Lauren Zalaznick

Photo by Mark Adriane for Unsplash

Here is a partial list of things I did this week. Oh, they are only related to yoga:

  • Completed my 30-day yoga challenge.
  • Did not win the raffle for 30-day yoga challenge completers which would have entitled me to 6-months of free yoga (around $1K value), plus handy water bottle and T-shirt.
  • Congratulated my husband on completing his 30-day yoga challenge and winning said raffle.
  • Congratulated myself for feeling like I contributed to the win by doubling the odds of one of us winning by doing the challenge.
  • Wondered if yoga teachers get in bad moods and can be snappish, petty, or react poorly in situations such as flight cancellations, delayed subways, or annoying students.
  • Wondered that because I had just reacted snappishly, pettily, and overall poorly at the beginning of yoga class. I had walked into class at the end of an afternoon when it had finally, finally, gotten slightly warmer and the skies had turned blue. This particular yoga space is always a bit close and usually a bit overheated (#NYC building, semi-crappy studio) but that day it was the usual plus what felt (and smelled) like an extremely difficult yoga class had finished just prior to ours.

For whatever reasons, there is a lot of Yoga Etiquette. Y.E. says you don’t go throwing open windows in a yoga studio, so I went to place my mat away from other yoga folks in the front of the room so I could crack open a window right next to me. I mean one inch. A *tiny* bit. Where no one else was. Just to clear the air a mite.

Yoga Etiquette also says you don’t shout things out across a sparsely populated yoga room. But after I cracked the window, my hands still on the paint-chipped sash, I heard “Can you NOT do that?!”

I looked at a classmate. She is frequently in my classes. She is very good at yoga btw!  She continued, “Not going to happen! You are wearing a sweatshirt—take it off! I will get a cramp!”

I am not kidding. It was a litany of offenses taken. And may I repeat, this lady was nowhere near me or the open window, she had no idea if I wanted to keep the window open forever or just open it for the two minutes before class, or whatever else.

The others in the class (appropriately) were no way, no how gonna get in the middle of a yoga lady fight.

I looked at this gal, (momentarily) took the yoga-moral high ground, feeling kind of bad that she was so stressed about her temperature control needs. And, like I said, my hands were still on the window! So I shut it.

Then, I went out to the sign-in area, put my stuff away, and came back into the room with the yoga teacher who happened to be coming in at that moment. She said,  “Hi.” I said, “Hi.” She said, “It’s finally nice out!” and I said “Yeah!” and walked past her into the room, straight to my mat.

A minute later she came in and said “Hello we’re going to start in blah blah blah-asana. I want to give you the sense of the exterior meeting the interior blah blah coming together in ways that confront cleansing blah blah.” And then she proceeded to open every window in the place, I mean like 8 loft-size windows a half a foot each, even having to tug hard on some that I don’t think had been opened since the ’90’s.

Every time I went into a forward fold or downward dog, looking backward and upside down, I saw that yoga lady.

I don’t know for sure but I think yoga-eyeball-daggers were being shot at me. While I enjoy a lot of the mind-body connections of the yoga experience, I tend to focus more on the physical rather than the spiritual. However, I can tell you that in that moment, for the next 75 minutes, my mind was at peace, finally, silently understanding #InstantKarma.

This post is adapted from LZ Sunday Paper.

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  1. Francine Gingras

    We all try to be zen when entering any yoga studio and at times find those “yoga ladies” whose intentions are not so zen. Glad you got your yoga revenge!

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