Last year the Craiglist ad, “Used Yoga Mat for Sale” went viral. For anyone who has done Bikram yoga, the ad is hilarious. The ad, however, is only humorous to those who have learned yoga etiquette. There are “rules” one learns over time to survive the hot room. This said Mat user, obviously didn’t take the time to learn the rules. So you can avoid having an experience like his, here is where he went wrong:
- “She will not be pleased to learn that I need to lose 30 pounds before I propose to her.” Don’t go to yoga with your number one goal to lose weight. Yes you will most likely lose weight, but if you are focused on losing weight you are missing the yoga! Part of yoga is pushing yourself so hard that you create a euphoric effect. When you reach this state, you don’t want to fuel your body with sugar and fatty foods. Yoga is a double whammy because not only are you exercising, but you also cleanse yourself from the inside out in a way no other exercise does. For whatever reason, the majority of people don’t want to eat the way they used to after doing yoga. This is what makes yoga so good for weight loss. If you think you can go and just walk through the motions in the hot room, you will not be successful in losing weight.
- “Begin small talk with my bride to be.” You shouldn’t talk in the hot room. If you are talking in the hot room: 1) You are not centering and calming yourself and 2) You are most likely upsetting others around you creating negative energy for your class.
- “She introduces me to the class and everyone turns around to greet me just as I decide to aggressively adjust my penis and testes packed in my Under Armor.” Try not to “adjust” yourself. Any excess movements between postures creates extra heat. You want to work to be as still as possible. It is hard to do, but when you can manage to be absolutely still, you will almost feel cool between postures.
- “We are breathing each other’s body odor, expelled carbon dioxide and other unmentionables. (Don’t worry, I’ll mention them later.)…This room stinks of asparagus, cloves, tuna and tacos.” The mat user is allowing everything to steal his peace. Yoga teaches you to block out the unpleasant. Do what you need to do to be at peace in your mind. Pretend to be at the beach on a sunny day; Floating on a magic carpet ride in the desert; but don’t think about the smell, the heat, or the humidity.
- “My wife looks slightly weathered dripping sweat and her eyeliner is streaming down her face…The overweight Hispanic man two spots over has sweat running down his legs.” He continues to look around. There are a lot of distractions, and everything will steal your peace if you keep looking around. Try to focus on your eyes in the mirror.
- “Is breathing voluntary or involuntary? If it’s voluntary, I am screwed.” He loses control of his breathing. Through class you should always maintain normal breathing. That is your number one goal. In fact, if your breathing isn’t normal, as an instructor I would rather you stand still until you can at least work to have long slow inhales through the nose and long slow exhales through the nose. Once you are able to breathe in the room, your practice will improve.
No one ever said practicing yoga etiquette was easy, but give it a try! It changes the experience. I definitely didn’t have it right when I first started. It was pure pride that kept me going. There was no way I was going to let yoga defeat me. Once I let that go, I stopped struggling in class…most of the time.