NotSoZen YogaJen

Posts Tagged ‘yoga rage

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.

A few years ago I wrote an article about yoga rage for  Because, I don’t often drive, but I do often yoga, and I get angry when fellow yoga classmates trample on the common sense unspoken rules of the road (or on me, or my mat).  And then I get angry that I’m angry during yoga.  But for the most part, I haven’t had too many incidents in the past few years.  However, lately I’ve experienced a onslaught of one particular obnoxious yoga behavior that has resulted in yoga rage flare-ups.  And this is what it is:  I have no patience (approximately: zero) for people who refuse to move their mats to make room for mine when there is clearly, obviously, indisputably more than enough room for both of us.

I’ve been on a very limited yoga regimen due to assorted aches and pains, so let me just say, that when I make it to class, I really, really need it.  Add to that a crappy day and yeah.  Need it.  Which brings me to the restorative yoga class that I went to last night, that I was so excited for, that I so needed. When I arrived at the studio, I entered the dimly-lit classroom with the ambient yoga-esque music being softly piped in, feining for my relaxation fix.  I walked towards a guy arranging his mat in the middle of a huge space and asked if I could fit next to him, and he said, “There isn’t enough room.”  Did I mention that the area in question was huge, with plenty of room for two mats plus lots of space to spread out?  And the same thing happened a few weeks ago, when I asked a woman if she could move over a little in her (huge) space so I could fit in, and she said, “No.”

And this is how I responded to both mat space hoarders:  I narrowed my eyes, clenched my jaw, said in a huff, “O! K!”, and stomped off across the room to find another spot in a dramatic flurry of flailing yoga mat.  Now, I’m not proud of throwing a mini-tantrum, but really?  You’re going to be an #%*&@ in yoga class?  Do you #%*&@-ing own the #%*&@-ing studio?  And it’s not like there was only a sliver of space and I was going to put my mat down on top of theirs; in both cases there was more than enough room for both of us, so why be so stingy with the mat space?  I just think it’s the #%*&@-ing rudest thing and I can’t even pretend to #%*&@-ing be nice anymore when confronted with this obnoxious display of yoga selfishness.

I eventually (internally) worked through my yoga rage last night, and the restorative class was luckily so relaxing that I was able to transcend the mat space slight and actually relax, so much so that at one point I fell asleep. But that rude yogi’s behavior temporarily returned me to my yoga rage of years past, and made me wonder (seethe, internally) why some people just can’t obey the rules of the yoga road.

What in-class behaviors or mis-behaviors leave you seething with yoga rage?  And how do you handle these situations?



Follow me on Twitter