I know that yoga is supposed to be a place to clear your mind and be one with the floor or whatever your goals are. For me, it is a great place to work through those annoying thoughts that flood my mind when I am getting ready to fall asleep at night. As soon as the instructor says to clear my head, everything comes rushing in. I try to be focused and meditative but it just isn’t in my genetic make-up. The worry genes are loud and strong. So now I have embraced it as my place to think and get things done. Some people prefer a coffee shop or the shower, I prefer savasana and downward dog. I think my best work has been done at the beginning and end of my classes. I really do want to get to that next level of consciousness that other people seem to find but the part that is said right after “thank you for coming” and before the “namaste” seems to go in one ear and out the other.
I also get extremely distracted by the other students in the class. I find them fascinating and definitely have a staring problem. Not what you are supposed to do when you are getting in touch with your inner child or aligning your chakras. I hope that I just look intense rather than creepy. My preferred class is at 9am and is made up of mostly women. They are all super fit and much better at yoga than I am. I am sure part of this is the whole paying attention piece and really focusing on your intentions and your motivation for being there. Since my motivation is to day-dream and stare at people, that takes away from the whole getting better plan. I should also go more often. Another impediment to improving my form and stability.
However, in some ways I am focused and committed. I have a plan of attack when I arrive. I put my mat against one side of the room as far away as possible from most of the class so I only have one other person near me. I usually keep to the back row so my lack of flexibility is only seen by the person next to me and the instructor. I also get there 15 minutes early so I can make sure I get my prime spot and easy access to the bathroom. Of course I have to wash my hands immediately after. That whole germaphobia thing. People don’t shower before yoga and I am not sure that they shower after. Germs are real, people!
Ok so back to my inability to focus on myself and my curiosity about the other people in the studio. There is a guy who is there every time I am and I am sure he is there when I am not. He might be doing teacher training and therefore has a reason for being there when most of the world is working, unlike myself. I fixate on him primarily because he sweats more than anyone else I have ever seen. This isn’t hot yoga. I don’t do bikram. Anything above 82 degrees grosses me out and the idea of being able to smell other people while I am overthinking my entire life is not appealing. I prefer warm yoga, especially in winter when I am so cold that going to yoga is the only thing that thaws me out. So when people sweat in this class, it is a mild sweat, not a full-on “I just went for a run through Bangkok in the middle of summer” type of sweat. I get that men generally perspire more than women but this guy sweats small ponds. My first class with him I didn’t know what was to come so I picked a wall somewhat close to his spot. He stripped down to shorts and knee-high compression socks, as you do, and did his own thing for the first 10 minutes. Once he started following along, I could hear the drip, drip of his sweat begin. There was so much of it that when he lifted his arm to move into a pose, I was terrified he would splash me. I kept inching my mat away so that I wouldn’t get hit by a rogue droplet or 10. By the end of class, his area looked like that scene from Flashdance where Jennifer Beals gets drenched by the bucket of water. He usually puts his mat near the front door so when you leave, you have to walk by gingerly so you don’t slip in the puddles. Now that I know what to expect, I put my mat in the back of the room, as far away as I can. This is yoga, God forbid I get someone else’s sweat in my eye or even worse, my mouth. I can think of other situations where that might be ok but this isn’t one of them and never will be. Fortunately the entertainment value in these classes outweighs the grossness factor so I keep going back.