When Yoga Classes Turn Awkward – I love doing strength training yoga at home. Although it differs from traditional yoga, and does not necessarily incorporate the spiritual cleansing and relaxation components, it works for me and I enjoy the challenging workout I get from it. Plus, I can work out in my underwear or pajamas if I want.
Wanting to see how my own version of yoga stacked against professional yoga classes, I attended a local yoga studio on trial for one week. I figured a local yoga studio would have a new age vibe sorely missing from my living room and DVD player and I welcomed the professional instruction.
I’m a bit “old-school” when it comes fitness in general. My 20s are long gone and I’m retired from the days of feeling awkward at a Powerhouse Gym or the old Bally’s “meat market”. In a strange way, for different reasons, I noticed that same competitive awkwardness in a yoga class. At home, I felt free to wobble, fall, wear no makeup, wear workout clothes that didn’t match, etc. Now that I was doing yoga in public, I had sensed that the comforts I had at home were no longer… and that a sense of competitiveness was looming in the air.
When Yoga Classes Turn Awkward
The instructor at my class started off the session by announcing to all that we should not look at one another and compare. Everyone needs to work at their own level and not distract themselves by looking around. She repeated this a few times and that is how I realized yoga class cattiness was an issue. For some reason when it comes to doing yoga poses, nobody wants to look like they don’t know what they’re doing. And, even more so, they want to look like they can hold their own and/or come out on top. During my class, I found myself looking around because I needed help doing some of the moves and I needed to “cheat.” But, I immediately had to stop for fear that someone would think I was checking them out and comparing. One thing I also noticed when “cheating” is that you will stand out like a sore thumb (as I did) if you come to a yoga class without a fine pedicure.
I could almost understand the comparisons and glances at a predominately male gym or an old Bally’s “meat market” type atmosphere. I did not understand the competitiveness amongst the yoga class at all.
I mentioned the when Yoga classes turn awkward situation to my friend (who’s a lot like me with how we’re completely non-competitive). My friend is super thin and totally (naturally) muscular. She looks like she’s been lifting weights and doing hard core yoga for years. She has a six pack and lots of definition, but she has never lifted a weight. Additionally, she is very gifted with a natural talent that allows her to succeed at many things early on without much effort, especially physically demanding exercises.
When my friend and I had a chat about the yoga class environment, she expressed that she noticed the same thing in her class. She found many others staring at her thin frame with envious glares. Her yoga instructor had to mention more than once that everyone stay focused on themselves and not critique the others. Really? At the end of class, the instructor even told my friend that some of the attendees had turned around and left the class, after informing the instructor “this must not be the class for them” after noticing my friend’s physique. It reminded me of a story straight from junior high school.
Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoyed taking the yoga classes. I just feel it’s a shame when people aren’t there for the same reasons most are or when body image becomes an issue for some. Yoga is all about self improvement, letting go of your stresses and freeing yourself from the madness in the world. There should be no room for insecurities or pettiness, but somehow, they seem to squeeze their way into the yoga classroom anyway.
Do you have any stories about Yoga class cattiness or when Yoga classes turn awkward?
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