How to be "Yogic" in Awkward Situations


I've seen it all. From barely there yoga tights, nip slips, and bodily, err, releases. I've been kicked in the forehead by the person "jumping back" on the mat in front of me, fallen on as someone flailed their body into a Handstand in the middle of the room they weren't quite ready for, and even accidentally groped by the wandering hands of an adjustment in a partner pose. Oops.

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Yoga classes are full of opportunities for some really awkward moments. You're in close quarters with people don't know moving your bodies in ways that you don't see every day.

It's also an environment where people tend to be overly polite. After all, we wouldn't want anyone in our yoga classes to see us as anything less than selfless, blessed out, happy and, well, yogic.

Trust me, there's nothing yogic about being kicked in the head or accidentally groped. Out in the real world, this kind of behavior would be cause for a brawl, or at least a dirty look. But in a yoga class setting, we just smile and say, "Oh, it's OK! No worries." It's pretty funny if you think about it. Here we are at a yoga class that is supposed to center us and help us reveal truths about ourselves, and yet when awkward situations arise, we kind of slough off how we really feel to be polite.

Yoga isn't always nice. It's not always polite. It tells it like it is. If your hamstrings are tight, the poses will tell you. They never beat around the bush. If you're pushing too hard be prepared for a rude awakening.

I'm not saying that we should ruder to each other in yoga class. (In fact, I'm glad that yoga students pretend not to notice when someone accidentally passes a little gas in their Uttanasana.) But what I am saying is that I'm incredibly grateful that my time on the yoga mat is as real, authentic, and honest with me—awkward moments and all—because this is the stuff that truly reveals who I am, what I need to work on, and how far I've come both on and off the mat. If I have to endure a kick to the head every now and then to get there, sign me up.