06 June 2010

things that make you want to say "namaste, bitches"

The New York Times article about etiquette in yoga studios is making the rounds of the yoga blogs.

YogaDork is quoted about people barging into class:

"'You are Zenned out,' said the blogger YogaDork, who asked to remain incognito, describing the splendor of Savasana, resting pose. 'And people are fumbling for bags and rolling up the mats.'"

Let's see...what are my pet peeves?

Men in yoga classes are few and far between where I live so no chance on seeing any cojones flying in the breeze because of loose yoga shorts. And no, I'm not disappointed.

As for barging in, once I had a woman rip off the plastic of her brand new yoga mat in the beginning of class when everyone was sitting in stillness, making a very loud tearing noise, and then act like she did not know that would happen when I shot her a look. And that was AFTER she unzipped her winter coat. Loudly. Did I say she also came in late?

As for cellphones, I've gotten used to them by now. That's not to say that they don't bother me -- HELLO! YOU'RE NOT THAT IMPORTANT, REALLY!! -- but they don't bother me as much anymore.

Once in a class during savasana a woman's phone rang and she must have jumped a foot off her mat. Now THAT was funny because she literally looked like she levitated, very quickly. I mean, her whole body came up like a plank. BOING! After class she told she did not know how to turn off her phone. Really.

Drumroll, two biggest pet peeves, one as a teacher and one as a student, are:

1. As a teacher, gum chewing.

Why would someone chew gum in a yoga class?

In the first place, I don't even understand gum chewing. I've never been a gum chewer, what's the purpose of it? It seems like everywhere you look nowadays someone's jaw is flapping away.

Next time I have a gum chewer in class I'm telling them I won't revive them if they choke on it.

2. As a student, anyone walking on my mat.

This is very common in workshops. It makes my skin crawl.

Why are people clueless about this?


And sometimes people even act insulted when you quickly pull up your mat when you see them walking towards you.

How about it if I put my foot on your nose, sister? I've walked barefoot all over India, maybe you want a piece of that in your face?

Aaaaahhhh.....I feel so much better now.....

OK, Divine Ones....your turn.


Kris said...

I think incessant chatting is my yoga pet peeve. I have gone to the same yoga class for 10 years, watched people come and go, and am amazed at what people want to chat about during practice.

I've vocally commented or questioned a pose before, and have wondered if even that is disruptive.... I try to keep my lips zipped during the blessed 90 minutes I have in the class....

(Mind you, the teacher is a very good friend of mine, and it's a small intimate class.... I have NEVER been in a class when someone's phone rings. That blows me away that someone would bring their cell into a space reserved for peace and yogic unity...)

Anonymous said...

I have come across the odd-super-sweaty-barely-clothed man in yoga, but I find they mostly attend hot yoga classes. And since I don't go to those any more, they aren't so prevalent. :)

Gum chewing is disgusting. I've never understood it either. I tried it when my friends did, but it was never for me! And what is it exactly, that gum is made out of? And I doubt it actually breaks down in an eco-friendly way either!

That's funny about the psuedo-levitation person! Someone in our kirtan session on Saturday night had obviously forgotten to turn their phone off, but did so pretty quickly thank goodness. Personally, I find my phone tends to spend more time with the silent ring tone active than not. I'm just not a fan of creating excessive noise in any environment - unless it's kirtan, a gig or dancing or something like that!

I don't have heaps of pet peeves in yoga class, despite the many years I've been practicing. The thing I notice though, is how unaware most people are of themselves and the space around them.

Like, people will plop their mat down in front of others without considering if it blocks the other person's view of the teacher. Or they'll put their mat too close to you, even when there's plenty of room elsewhere.

And I think the noisy factor is just another symptom of that same lack of awareness... :)

StevenCX said...

From a student's perspective: teachers who yammer during savasana, and poor cueing (is that the word?). Latecomers and other interruptions having already been mentioned off course.

Yoga365 said...

Damn that is FUNNY: mainly because it was so timely. Today I told a student to toss the gum because...well, I do know CPR but convulsions are never good for business. AND I so have the pet peeve of other feet on my mat. Peeve: students doing their own thing in class when Im teaching something else. Distracting for all other students and .... pointless! home practice is practicing at home! Water bottles are up there. When it gets too intense, the mind cops out and suggests water. Check out my blog Linda!

lilasvb said...

so funny to read you!

Anahita said...

what a fun read (both the nytimes article and your own blog entry!) I fear my pet peeves will just sound repetitive at this point - but I also greatly dislike when ppl are insensitive about others in savasana or meditation at the beginning and end of class ...

... and I totally agree with the walking on other people's mat, thing! For what's it worth - I always, always walk around or jump over other people's mats!

Random Thoughts said...

Mine are
1. People wearing socks in yoga class
2. cell phones ringing during shavasana

VMR said...

Ay! I have to say, people walking on my mat grosses me out too. I'd like to be more relaxed about that, but yuck. Cell phones - for sure. The worst is when people keep them at the edge of their mats during class. Often in the big donation classes, your mat is an inch away from another student in every direction, so that means that damn cell phone is right in your face. I was next to a guy once who was reaching up from whatever pose to shut off the buzz from text messages. I looked at him pleadingly, but he didn't care. Oh and by the way, yes, I live in L.A.

babs said...

Oh, I totally hate it when people walk on my mat! I thought I was the ONLY one!

Kristin said...

I have been waiting for a post like this, but I was beginning to think I was the only one who had issues.

I've actually never encountered the gum chewing. I'm not a gum chewer myself. Reminds me too much of a cow standing out in its field, staring blankly off into space. Bleh. The folks I know spit it out before class.

The guys in my classes have always worn t-shirts and compression shorts. No peep shows here! Tho I did go to a workshop where a guy whipped of his t-shirt and was only wearing a speedo. Not good. :o

I'm very careful about not stepping on other peoples mats and I REALLY, REALLY don't like anyone touching mine. For the same reasons. It's my sacred space. Stay out of it please. I try and encourage all my students to obtain thier own mat or to clean the one they borrowed at the end of class.

Folks who come in late on a regular basis. I've started calling them my "cronically late students" out loud. Such as "oh, please leave a space for our cronically late people..."

Cell phones. Yeah. Not wild about them but I do have a couple of students with a severely disabled child and they need to be accessible to their caregiver over the lunch hour as feeding times are potential choking times. If someones else's phone goes off I try and make a quip about the ring tone. But for the most part people are pretty good about leaving them in the bags in the entryway.

My biggest peeve - students talking to their freinds during class. This is not a coffee social people! This is focus on yourself time. Your friend will be there to chat after class.

Oh, other peeve - people who just. don't. listen.

My question is, how does one address some of these issues in class?

Linda-Sama said...

YAY! yoga teachers are human! YAY!

thanks for all the comments!

Dogfood Provider said...

I'm no teacher, I'm sure I've been late to class and ticked someone off before, so mea culpa. But one thing I do NOT do is loudly, routinely GRUNT my way into a pose with a sound that rivals that of elk mating in the canadian rockies. Specifically, I'm thinking of the bugling call of the bull. Really, it' something to hear in nature, but it has no place in the yoga studio!

This faux pas seems to be the province of a few of the yoga dudes I've practiced with who haven't figured out yet that if they need to grown to reach the extension in the pose that they want, they are probably grasping for a bit much.

Some day I will probably lose it and run over to them and tip them over into child's pose, commanding them to rest. Until then, I just try to tune it out.

Anonymous said...

I can't stand Yoga teachers who describe as pose or stretch as delicious or yummy... I can't stand it!!!!

Linda-Sama said...

one more:

someone picking their feet when everyone else is trying to meditate is high up on my list of "HOW TO GROSS OUT YOUR YOGA TEACHER"

Charlotte said...

Wow...This is amazing. I feel really lucky that my students are so considerate! So many of them have been coming to my classes for 10 years or more that I guess the newbies come in and just get the class etiquette from their more experienced peers. I never have to reprimand them or teach etiquette.

That said, I've been to a few "yoga events" in my city and have participated in classes by other local teachers. My pet peeve is teachers that never stop talking, teachers that can't let there be any silence.

Yoga365 said...

Great responses. How to address? Tell them to stop. I train in the Iyengar Yoga tradition . . none of that BS happens. They have set the stage in such a way, that it just wouldn't happen! Me, on the other hand, a people pleasing new teacher, I set the stage in a way to be walked on. I've had to fight hard to get that back. I suck it up, and tell gum chewers to toss it before class. I've had a couple that didn't listen, and I called them both out twice in front of everyone. They didnt' come back, and I was fine with it. Socks. Off. Phones? Off. I actually have a student that has in the MIDDLE of class, gone to check her frigin phone. Now, if you want to talk pet peeves....deliciously yummy pose???!! OG!! Have any of you heard Eoin Finn's DVDs? i was trying it once, he put us into pigeon pose, and then he says "now this should fee like someone licking ice cream off your body" . . . ummm... WHAT!!!!!!??????

Anonymous said...

I know, I know, I know...........I am an Iyengar certified Instructor, and the whole "Blissology, yummy, goodness," thing creeps me out. I was at a workshop last year (non-Iyengar, just checking it out) where the instructor said that doing a forward bend after a backbend is like having a really good meal and then puking it back up) She said "puking"!!!! We aren't even allowed to say "grab" as in "go grab a strap".
Slang- in class, slays me.

Linda-Sama said...

"instructor said that doing a forward bend after a backbend is like having a really good meal and then puking it back up) She said "puking"!!!!"

how ridiculous is that?!? oh. my. god.

Anonymous said...

we had a woman come in late to class, stomped around, slammed her mat on the ground, and finally sat down to join us....and then in the middle of a brief meditation she got up, tromped to the bathroom. Now, the bathroom is right in the same room as the studio, and its a "one-zie" - its an old building and sound carries. She proceeded to use the bathroom, WITHOUT SHUTTING THE DOOR, and bathroom sounds were echoing through the studio....disgusting. had us all "off" for about 30 minutes.....

Linda-Sama said...

man, I think that really takes the cake....I would have asked her to leave, seriously.

no wonder you posted as ANONYMOUS! ;) thanks for sharing!

YogaforCynics said...

I have been a gum chewer, and occasionally still do accept an offered piece, but, wow, that just seems like a really dumb thing to do in yoga class. With all the bending and breathing...yuck.

Gotta confess, though, that yesterday, I was horrified to hear, for the first time ever, my cell phone going off during class. Not sure if I got distracted before class when I usually turn it off, or if I pushed the wrong button, or what, but there it of the few yoga class faux pas I had not, until then committed...

Linda-Sama said...

I can see forgetting to turn it off occasionally, mistakes happen. but they grow out of peoples' ears for god's sake and unless something is going on at home that is a quasi-emergency, you don't need to keep it next to your mat.

and does someone REALLY have to turn it back on 30 seconds after savasana? REALLY?

Karin Bartimole said...

Ha!! I think you've covered it pretty well Linda - annoying talking during teaching and general discourteous students would be my pet peeve. there was one guy that became my personal pet peeve because he always fell asleep during the meditation phase of our class and snored - very very loudly, throughout - no matter how many times he got poked and awakened, he'd slip back in to reverberating disruption. I think a nap at home would serve both himself and our class better!
as for gum, I chew, sugarless gum after meals when no tooth brushing is easy, but I can't imagine going in to a yoga class with a mouth full!! xo K

bryanyoga said...

"namaste, bitches" -- i had a friend say that a few years back :)

as a guy, and a teacher, its too bad most of the pet peeve things seem to be as a result of dudes.

ah well, it is what it is.

Mel said...

It really bother me when i'm lying on the mat doing Savasana and ready to close a very intensive Power class, people on the next mat just can't resist but to swing the towel in the air, for several times, before place it on the mat.

Because my body is still warm and sweating, the wind it creates always gives me shivering straight to the bone. When you have you're in Savasana, eyes closed, surrendering to your body and practice, it's really uncool to be interrupted by some sudden "cold "spot" blow.