Sunday, February 13, 2011

Stupid Air, Yoga Mats & Personal Space

Sometimes during our eight minute passing periods, my hall monitoring buddies and I take a deep breath and ask a steady stream of rhetorical questions.

Questions like "Do you think we're invisible today because they're acting like we're not standing here?" Or, "Just how much stupid air can one breathe before one becomes stupid?"

I'm not a 100 percent sure, and I probably should check with my BFF Jennifer the science teacher, but I don't think anyone can quantify the density of stupid air. If they could, then maybe just maybe there would be a Nobel prize in it for someone, or, at the very least, a Starbucks gift card.

All of this rather explains why I go to yoga class two to three times a week. I love yoga because it's the only place I know where you can actually detox after breathing in too much stupid air. If I didn't believe hot yoga  sweats all the stupid out of you, then I would have to ponder the sanity of bending one's body into a pretzel in 90 degree temperature. (OK, so maybe I look more like a potato chip than a pretzel.)

Lately though, I've become a tad bit obsessed with personal space issues, and the classes I once attended to relieve stress, tension and yearbook debacles, now have created their own little quirky stress.

Two months into the new year and 22 months away from the Mayan Doomsday calendar, a slew of people decided to start attending yoga. Now, let me clarify a few things. I am not a big fan of strangers. I am not a big fan of mindless bantering or chit chatting, and I most certainly am not a big fan of the "getting to know you" crowd of acquaintances.

OK, let's just say it: I am not a big fan of people in general which probably explains why I have three dogs and now Howard the Shelter cat.

I purposefully place my yoga mat in the corner so there's a wall to my left (for when I fall over) and a wall behind me (for a gajillion reasons). My right flank usually is  protected by one of my yoga buddies Becky or Jennifer, which usually leaves only the very front of my mat exposed to stranger danger. If I'm lucky, easy going Allee usually takes that spot and all is well.

Sometimes, though, I have no luck at all. Sometimes Becky and Jennifer opt out of yoga. Sometimes Allee isn't there. Sometimes those nights are crowded, but other times I can be one of only four people in the room and someone will roll out their mat mere inches away from mine.

Even when Missy Chrissy Pretzel (Numero Uno instructor extraordinaire) tells the other yogis that they can spread out, Missy Mat Encroacher doesn't move over.

I have even resorted to moving my mat twice opting to leave the safety of the wall for more space. Once I even moved someone's mat when they went to the bathroom. I've even stuck my leg out under the guise of stretching to keep strangers from violating my personal space zone.

Still, none of that stops those Missy Mat Encroachers from plopping inches from me.

I don't get it. It's not like I'm sending out friendly karma vibes or anything. I hesitate to write about any of this because one of my former students (Zina the Warrior Goddess) probably is rolling her eyes about now. She lives in New York City and now is studying to be a yoga instructor. I'm sure I'll hear all about how un-yogi like this space issue thing is. I'm sure I'll hear about how in all of those classes mats are just mere inches away from each other and how beautiful and energizing it can be. Jeepers creepers, what's next? Sitting around, holding hands and singing Kumbaya?

I have one response: I live in Texas. Beautiful Texas with all its wonderful sprawl and wide open spaces. I love space.

Once I told my yoga buddies I was going to pop the next person upside their little yogi head who plopped down too close to me.

"I'm not sure this yoga thing is working for you," my friend Jennifer said.

"What do you mean?" I said.

"You know, as a stress reliever," she said.

"Really?" I said. "I thought I was much better."

"Kickboxing. I think you should go back to kickboxing," she said.

"Maybe you just need some of that yellow crime scene tape to put around your mat," said another teacher who overheard our conversation.

I think he might be on to something.


Just a reminder:
Don't forget to check back here Wednesday for the Education Buzz--Life's a Carnival


rightgrrl said...

you should try the "two mat approach"
you need one mat going across, one mat facing the front and back of the room. gives you a nice little area to practice in.

i totally understand not feeling very yoga like! a few months ago in my class a chick was texting on her blackberry during down dog (one handed, impressive!)
so every time i looked through my legs to the back of the room a saw her brightly illuminated screen as she texted. @#$%#@$!!! what is SO IMPORTANT that it can't wait an hour???

i wanted to stomp her blackberry into a 1000 pieces with my bare foot.

not very "yoga like" of me.

Unknown said...

You are definitely right that I am used to crowded studios, but that does NOT mean I always feel good about it! We all have those "I wanna pop the person next to me" moments, but accepting and coping with those moments is (surprise!) part of the yoga. One thing that helps me is to sometimes pretend there is an invisible shield around my mat, so that no matter how close someone is, they can't get to me or my peace. Also pretending your mat is a private island can be useful. (And in final savasana that island can become a raft on an ocean...ahhhh.) The truth is you really don't need much more space than what the confines of your mat provide, so the rest of it is mental...just another part of the practice! (That being said, I don't actually understand why someone would crowd you when there is space available.) Believe it or not, someday you might not even care who's around you because you'll be so intent on your own experience--and in the meantime, go ahead and invent a (preferably nonviolent) way to make it less irritating. It's much easier to enjoy your class when you can let go of external nuisances. Namaste! :)