1. No one cares what you wear: There are certainly some work out facilities that require a whole beauty routine before even entering the parking lot; you must put on your foundation, your lip gloss, make sure your shoes are matching your tight booty-shorts, your hair is just perfectly flowing out of your head band. But, in yoga, you know that whatever you are wearing is going to get sweaty anyways, and the most important thing is that you are there.
2. Yoga people are always so understanding: Yoga people understand that sometimes, we have great days, and we show up on our mats because our energy is bursting all over the place so we need somewhere to contain it, and sometimes, our days are tough, and we show up to our mats for a little healing energy. If you catch me in a morning class, it’s likely that I just rolled out of bed and have not put my contacts in yet (but don’t worry–I did you the courtesy of at least brushing my teeth), so when I saunter into the room and I don’t recognize you, it’s likely that all I’m seeing is big, colorful blurs–but no one seems to get upset when I don’t wave frantically back because I can’t see it’s you.
3. You are allowed to do weird things in class: You can make funny sounds when you are breathing, you can move your body in potentially awkward ways, you can add in some extra chatarunga push ups in between flows, you can skip a whole flow, you can lay on your back the entire time, sing to the music, close your eyes, etc. Chances are, a yoga teacher once made us do something quite uncomfortable (hold our neighbor’s hand whilst in boat or alternate breathing between nostrils), so really, anything goes.
4. Yoga people talk about things (other than other people): With my yoga friends, there are so many topics of conversation that don’t involve gossiping or talking about other people. We can talk about which new classes we’ve tried and what the flow was like; we could talk about our new yoga mats and how the new technology allows for less slippage; we could talk about that cool new inversion we saw on Yoga Journal; the possibilities are endless.
5. Yoga people are experience junkies: Yoga and glow sticks? Yoga and essential oils? Yoga and twinkle lights? Yoga outside? Why not. Yoga people are experience junkies–the practice itself generally stays the same, so we like to switch up our environments to see what new sorts of sensations we might feel (the other day, I did go to Jingle Jam Yoga, and my balance definitely wavered to the pace of the twinkling lights).
6. They understand the importance of physical touch: In a world where we are consumed by technology, and so much of our interactions take place behind some kind of screen, physical touch is becoming increasingly important–physical touch transmits energy, is comforting, reminds us of our validity and importance in the world. As a single person, there might have been days, weeks that I would not have touched another human being outside of yoga. When you walk into your first yoga class, you might be startled when the yoga teacher starts to massage your forehead or pushes on your lower back when stretching. But then, as you continue, you realize the benefits of this physical touch and you begin craving it.
7. There isn’t a lot of stuff required for yoga: One of yoga’s ethical guiding principles is brahmacharya, which means non excess–on our mats, this might translate to not bringing more to class than we need. There are some activities that require a bundle of equipment in order to participate in; snow pants, gloves, bindings, bats, gloves, face guards, special socks, etc. But, the only equipment yoga really requires is a mat, a water bottle, and some move able clothes (although, if you don’t have those, you could still probably participate–I’ve definitely worn some questionable items before because I forgot to pack a shirt or decided to attend a class on a whim).
8. They always use the best language: One of our assignments during yoga teacher training was to theme a class, and then, starting at A and ending with Z, come up with descriptive words and phrases (things like, “accentuate”, “arrive”, “root”). As an English major, I’m a language nerd; I love to learn new words and hear words used in unique ways; we build a vocabulary so that we can accurately and efficiently express ourselves. So, I’m always super jazzed when I hear my yoga instructor tell me to, “dangle my head” or “activate your side body” or to “send your skull back”, and suddenly, with just a change in adjective or verb, I feel a new sensation in the same posture I’ve been doing for ten years.
9. They exhibit friendly-competition: Growing up as an athlete, it was always important to be THE BEST–the most flexible, the fastest, the tallest, the smartest–which meant that you never gave away any of your tips and tricks, albeit someone else use them and get better than you, and you lose your spot. But, because the yoga room is about personal growth, there is no need to compete against the other people in the room, so yoga people are always willing to give away their own tips and tricks to improve your practice; “Try pointing your top hip up”, “Pull your elbows closer to your rib cage”, “I always find a better stretch if I tuck my toes under”; it’s a healthy balance of competition–in order to get better and improve, we must push ourselves, but not to an extent that it might become hurtful or unhealthy.
10. Yoga people believe in community: There are certainly days when I show up to class, upset, pessimistic, beaten down about the current state of our world and humanity, and I’m always revived upon leaving my yoga class–I’m reminded that there are, in fact, people out there who believe in the same principles that I do; there are people who care about the environment, and about health, and personal improvement, and I’m always reminded how grateful I am for the yoga community.
Join me and all the reasons I love yoga people on Saturdays at noon, Parker CPY, for a C1 flow!