Monday, July 21, 2008

More Yoga, Less Poser

Your yoga practice consists of asanas, commonly referred to as poses, but the last thing any of us want to be is a poser, someone more concerned with appearances than substance. We all know a lack of authenticity and consciousness when we see it, and, unfortunately, the yoga world isn't much of an exception. So, here's a quick little ditty that I whipped up late last night while smoking a pack of butts and tossing back a bottle of Jack Daniels [Ha, gotcha!]; it outlines a few oft-observed yoga indiscretions that you, too, have probably witnessed along your travels. Ideally, this cursory list is meant to entertain and enhance mindfulness, ensuring that you're not just going through the motions in yoga class, or life.

Remember, the word yoga is a verb, which translates to mean "to yoke" or "to join," suggesting that through this practice, we become more unified with ourselves and our place in the world. Put simply, we become the best, most authentic versions of who we are, inside and out.

Om Gal's Top 10 Ways To Avoid Being a Yoga Poser:

1.) For the love of all that is holy, turn off your cell phone, Blackberry, iPhone, or other modern-day, technological device, capable of ringing, beeping, vibrating, flashing, playing a ringtone by the Pussycat Dolls, or shouting the phrase, "I gotta have more cow bell!" when you're in class. Why? Because if you had Zen on speed dial, you wouldn't need yoga- or this blog, for that matter.

2.) Leave your romantic agenda at home. It's yoga class, not Happy Hour. Now, if you happen to meet a like-minded yogi in class, and the two of you decide that you want to practice your chaturanga together, then go for it. However, cruising yoga studios for a date is Creepsville, not to mention terribly misguided.

3.) Abstain from bodysnarking. It might be witty and welcome in celebrity mags, gossip blogs, and around the water cooler, but you and your body don't feel more aligned when you dissect the appearance of someone else. I often remind my students that they should not even know what the person next to them in class is wearing. Focus on yourself; that's why you're in yoga class, remember?

4.) "Zip the lip, Chatty Cathy." Attending yoga class with a pal is wonderful, but if you want to have coffee talk, go for coffee. Gabbing in class is disrespectful and distracting. Period.

5.) Inhale. Exhale. Preferably not nicotine. I don't want to vilify smokers, here, but, at a certain point, it is inconsistent to be a yogi and pollute your body by welcoming carcinogens into it willingly and the bodies of others via secondhand smoke.

6.) Work out less; work in more. The tight tush and flat abs are nice, but they're merely sweet side effects of a more spiritually fulfilling practice.

7.) BYOWB: Bring Your Own Water Bottle. It's the least we can do for Mother Nature. Feel free to reprimand me for forgetting my own.

8.) Part with Thy Possessions. Clutter stagnates the energy in class. Leave your bags, backpacks, and briefcases in the lobby or locked in a locker or the car.

9.) Support and inspire the people around you with your prana, commitment, attitude, and intention.

10.) Doing yoga does not make you a nice person (we can all attest that there are plenty of jerks who do yoga). Make an effort to incorporate your yoga into your life, off the mat, every day. Meditate while waiting in line at the store. Stretch your ability to be courteous in a traffic jam. Set your drishti on a goal to benefit the greater good. Exercise your mind and body through volunteerism (i.e. karma yoga). Burn the gossip pages of your brain. Push the limits by forgiving those who harm you.

Have a tip of your own on how to be a more considerate and genuine yogi? Please share your thoughts, here.


K Fab said...

How about not rushing to get into class, pushing those that are around you? Remember, it's just a yoga space to put your mat.. it's not the end of the world if you get a different space!

Ame said...

I know that sometimes it's hard to squeeze yoga into a busy day, but if you must leave early, would you mind doing so in a thoughtful and quiet way? I have been in plenty of yoga classes when people have left early and it has been really disruptive. Please don't do it during savasana, please set yourself up near the door if you know you have to scoot out and please don't make a big fuss getting all your props together. Leaving early is sometimes necessary, I understand, but those do should be cognizant of the yogis around them. I just put my legs up the wall and closed my eyes and then you go and drop your block and pull your sticky mat off the floor and all the focus in the world can't keep me from being distracted. The same goes for coming in late. Mindfulness people, mindfulness. Namaste.

elena said...

yoga is not a 'competitive sport'. if you choose to do a pose unique to the teachers instruction - by all means - go there, but go in grace...! and on lateness and leaving early - i agree, do so mindfully - like the pose no one else is in - no one should notice the person in it or the people coming and going from class. xo.

GSIK said...

Excellent tips and blog—really digging your mirthful tone of writing. As you say, I've seen my alcohol intake and for that matter even the desire to drink come down considerably over the past three months (been practicing for 1.5 years)


samantha said...

I'm so glad to know I'm not alone in having to reprimand a yoga class for doing these things. Your comments are helping me to figure out a gentle, yet effective way to let students know the norms of a yoga class. Thanks!