NotSoZen YogaJen

Yoga Rage Strikes Again!

Posted on: November 10, 2011

Angry woman
After a hectic day at work today, I ran out of the office and dashed downtown to make it to yoga. I was anticipating a hardcore Power Vinyasa class that would stretch out my body and soothe my mind, to a soundtrack of John Mayer, Adele, and possibly some D’Angelo thrown in, as the teachers at this particular studio are known to play pop music and the occasional R&B.

The first thing that was off when I arrived was that all the rooms I normally take classes in were already full, so I was directed to a room I hadn’t been in before. A smaller room. But the lights were low and even though there was no coat rack and I had to ball up my jacket and shove it in my bag, I felt like I could still have a soothing class here. I could be open to change. Even though this was not how I’d envisioned it, I could transcend my disappointment and embrace this new yoga experience. I could become one with the (small) room.

Then, as I was trying to squeeze my bags onto a make-shift shelf that was really just a crowded table in the back of the room, a girl said to me in a condescending, bratty voice, “It’s not your fault.”

“Oh–what?” I asked, thinking that maybe I’d accidentally bumped into her when I was trying to maneuver my bags.

“Nah-thing,” she quipped (bratty voice still applies), giving me a stern look before returning to arranging her bag.

And then the yoga rage started to percolate like a burning in my chest and seep into my veins. What? What’s not my fault? That I’m a sub-par, unaware human being who isn’t enlightened enough to know when I accidentally bump into someone? Is that what you meant, bitch?

Taking deep breaths and trying to get myself into the calm yogic state I’d envisioned being transported to in class, I walked back to my mat at the front of the room and sat down. To my left was a good-looking guy, and on the other side of him, the bratty girl plunked down.

“Ohhh, you work in finance?” I heard her say to him. “That’s soooo interesting! Hi! I’m Shawn, nice to meet you!” she said, jutting out her hand to shake his.

WTF?! I thought. One minute, you’re going to be an asshole to me, and the next minute you’re going to flirt? In yoga?

My yoga rage was bubbling over as class started and the teacher dimmed the lights. But I couldn’t focus on class; I was lost in my interior monologue telling this girl off for being a bitch when all I wanted was a nice, peaceful yoga class to restore me to balance. A few minutes into class, I found myself standing with my arms raised above my head when I noticed that everyone else had their arms by their sides. A vague recollection of the teacher saying, “Drop your arms” a few moments earlier came back to me. I swung my arms around ala when you trip and recreate the trip to pretend you did it on purpose.

OK! I thought. Let go of the rage and focus!

But when I focused, I noticed that there was no music. Did this small, shitty, coat rack-less room not have a sound system? Frantically, I glanced around, and my gaze fell on speakers in the windowsill. But where was the music?

“Today,” the teacher said, “we have the opportunity to practice in silence. Not by choice, but by circumstance. So I want you to breeeeaaaatttthhhhhe extra loudly, and let the breath be our music.”

I don’t want musical breath! I want John Mayer in Warrior One, Adele in Extended Side Angle, D’Angelo in Pigeon Pose!

“Just think,” the teacher continued, “now I’m innnnnnnnnnhaling, now I’m exxxxxxxxxxhaling.”

Which is when I noticed that her voice sounded like a kindergarten teacher played by a Disney character. And it started to grate on me.

At the end of class, I didn’t luxuriate in Savasana like I normally do; I popped up quickly, eager to bring this yoga disaster to an end. I’d made it through class, I’d done all the poses (albeit sometimes with a slight time delay) but I hadn’t been present for maybe even 30 seconds of the 60 minutes. I hadn’t by a long shot had the invigorating and nourishing class I’d desired.

In the hallway as I was putting on my shoes, I heard someone say, “Oh, sorry.” I looked up and saw that it was the bratty girl, apologizing for bumping into me as she reached for her shoes, only she actually hadn’t. I smiled at her, and felt like things had come full-circle, that we were cool now. She’d apologized, and I accepted. For something other than the original offense, but still, it seemed significant. And I felt my yoga rage melt away and evaporate.

Walking out onto the street, I didn’t have that post-yogic high that I love, where everything seems to be right in the world. I wasn’t paying attention in class and I just phoned it in. But even so, just going through the motions, by the end of class I wasn’t enraged anymore–at the girl or the different room or the lack of music or the teacher’s voice. I wasn’t high, but I wasn’t low. A class filled with annoyances and disappointments threw me into an internal ranty rage, and then restored me to neutrality. Which, relatively speaking, felt pretty balanced.

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4 Responses to "Yoga Rage Strikes Again!"

Thanks for sharing your anger, makes me feel like I’m not the only one đŸ™‚ Is it not crazy how we rush, rush, rush to class, just to – relax? Just being on time after work and finding a space in the corner for my mat that’s big enough to extend my arms sideways without hitting someone in the face makes me stress out so much that I really NEED yoga to come down. Interestingly, when practising in India, there’s never ever any kind of music (except when doing Kirtan, but that’s different I guess), so I wonder if in the West music isn’t used a bit too much, in many cases by teachers who are insecure and need to “spice up” their classes.

I was getting tense reading this! omg. Still a yoga virgin and now the prospect of starting in nyc is kinda freaking me out. I heard it can be an amazing thing for new runners. Do you have any suggestions for that? But yay, awesome read.

Oh no Jen. Also felt stressed when reading about your experience. I thought yoga class was supposed to be a safe haven from jerks. Everyone is there to chill out, right? I was a “victim” of what I call “drive by yoga rage” from a teacher. She was a talker. We did a difficult standing balance pose and she wouldn’t stop talking. Everyone was shaking trying to hold this pose but she kept talking. I stopped and stood there until she finished her long winded speech about being a tree. She confronted me after class saying that I was looking at her with hateful eyes. “You hate me, don’t you?!?” she asked. I didn’t hate her – just mildly annoyed. However, it was startling to be yelled at like that. I must have pissed her off. Other than that lone incident, I’ve always enjoyed my classes.

I’ve been there! I’ve changed studios, and I’ve had inner “yoga rage” about it for two months now. No music. Just talk, talk, talk. Sometimes, it’s just too much. I don’t leave with a yoga high like I used to from the other studio. Instead, I leave “neutral”. Just like you describe. It’s taking a while to settle into what’s available for me. And, I guess, sometimes that’s gotta be enough.

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