November 19, 2012

The 6 Types of People That Will Be in Your Yoga Class

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What is the issue?

The person who has no clue what they’ve gotten themselves into. This yoga practitioner either a) misread the schedule or b) accidentally committed to an ambiguously titled class like “lunchtime flow” and is now in way WAY over their heads. They’re wide-eyed and curious as to why everyone around them is wearing next to nothing. Wait a second, is this class HEATED?! Shitballs. And you can’t help but feel for them because, even if you’re just an infrequent yoga attendee, chances are you’ve totally been in their shoes before. Maybe this poor, clueless soul thought they were going to be spending the next 45 minutes to an hour restoring themselves in a gentle beginner’s class but instead are currently up against an hour chock-full of twisted side angles, half moons, and crescent poses. The confused yogi was expecting to hang out with their bolster and blocks in chill, non-threatening poses like supta baddha konasana. But now they feel all kinds of overwhelmed as everyone around them is mastering the crap out of their ujjayi breath and its synchronization to their sun salute A series. Though these timid yogis are tempted to roll up their mats and call it a class, they opt out of bailing on the one thing they were looking forward to all day. So they make the executive decision to stay put, taking FULL advantage of child’s pose.

The hot person. There’s always one person you’re totally attracted to in class. Usually there’s more than one, because um, this is a YOGA CLASS after all. You’ll spot them right away and have to stop yourself from cranking your neck into the optimal angle for getting a good look at them during the next 50 or so downward facing dogs. Hot yoga person is perfectly aligned/symmetrical, they’re often sporting a lovely tan/natural glow and they usually smell like the beach. Their style is bohemian and relaxed, but not in that contrived obnoxious way. They’re effortlessly chic and totally “present.” So present, in fact, that they barely notice when you choose THEM as the focal point for your “drishti gaze.” Token hot person challenges your ability to focus on your “true intention” for being in class. Or maybe they ARE your intention for being in class?!

The show off. If you’re desperately trying to avoid the biggest yoga poser in class like the plague, Murphy’s Law will be sure to save you a spot right next to the most obnoxious acrobat in the room. Lucky you will have to spend the entire 75-90 sweat-filled minutes mere inches away from the yogi who has mistaken a late morning vinyasa flow class for the yoga Olympics. They choose to disregard 90% of the poses the instructor calls out, instead replacing them with moves typically reserved for Cirque Du Soleil performances. This yogi is notorious for practicing to the beat of their own zen-ish drum, giving no shits about where their limbs are in relation to your face, torso, etc. Time to flow from chaturanga to upward facing dog? Not on their watch. The show off yoga master is going to bust out a handstand and hang out there for a while if that’s alright with you. And when the rest of us are busy moving from twisted chair pose to tadasana back to chair pose through to forward fold, this big shot will be casually floating from side crow into extended side crow, back into regular crow and then maybe make a quick pit stop in handstand before gracefully gliding through another effortlessly stunning chaturanga. Sure this person could have just saved the drive over to class and done a lovely home practice in their living room. But a performance without an audience is like a gluten free cake without the vegan buttercream frosting and like, what fun is that?!

The student who is clearly sleeping with the instructor. It comes as no surprise that this inherently sensual sport can and DOES lead to extra-yogital activities outside of classroom. “Privates,” “yoga retreats,” “teacher training” – these terms, though often used to describe genuine ways to improve one’s yoga practice and grow as a student, can also serve as code for things like “I’m hooking up with my instructor” or “I had a three-way with my teacher and his assistant on our Bali retreat last spring.” But don’t get me wrong here – I’m no yoga prude! It can only be expected that a hot, sweaty class filled with half naked people can and sometimes DOES lead to an extra long forearm stand, if you catch my drift (*WINK WINK*). Or maybe even a twisted triangle pose paired with a one-legged king pigeon pose, if you’re into that sort of thing. You’ll be able to spot the person (people?) who are hooking up with the yoga teacher from a mile away. They’re the ones getting non-stop hands-on adjustments throughout class plus a few casually inappropriate butt-grazes thrown in for good measure. They’re also the people getting some serious neck/back rub action in child’s pose. And when, out of your peripheral vision, you catch on to this favoritism in action, your serenity and solitude will quickly be overshadowed by feelings of bitterness, envy and other upsetting emotions best left at the door.

The person texting/tweeting/messing with their phone during class. They’ve come to class to escape their technology-ridden world in their honest attempt to be “offline” for just over an hour. However, no matter how much they try to cut their bad habit, they cannot seem to peel themselves away from the digital object of their affection. Sure, they may have immediately “checked in” to their yoga studio upon arrival with a casual “Can’t wait to get my zen on! ;))” or “If you need me, I’ll be in savasana! LOL!” as courtesy heads up/disclaimer to the social media world on their whereabouts and/or why they’ll been idle on chat for at least the next 30 minutes. But despite the check-in and the frantic last-minute texting that takes places on their mats just moments before the official start of class, they just cannot seem to cut the virtual umbilical cord! They spend the whole class practicing side by side their smart phones, taking the occasional break in forward fold or twisted triangle to send out an urgent email reply or, if they’ve got it real bad, to refresh their instagram feed or quickly favorite a few tweets before the next crow pose. Shame, SHAME on you, yoga texters! If Buddha were here, he’d revoke their yoga privileges and probably post a “we reserve the right to refuse service to douchey phone addicts” sign.

The person who is way too busy to take savasana. This frequent yoga attendee has been fidgeting all throughout class while not-so-subtly keeping tabs on the minutes left before the instructor calls out the last down dog of the day. They’re in class for a work out and not much else. They need to jet set out of class as soon as it’s socially acceptable to do so because they’ve got to pick up the kids from school/make an urgent return to Nordstrom’s/meet a client for an important “business meeting.” Whatever their excuse, they definitely do NOT have time to sit and lay there for 5-10 minutes. So instead of resting with the rest of us, they choose to swiftly pack up their stuff and leave class right before it’s time to enjoy the climax of class. Yoga blue balls much? TC Mark

image – Shutterstock

Stephanie White

Stephanie White lives in New York City. She has curly hair and horrible handwriting.

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