Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Namaste: You're doing it wrong

One of the first tasks I assigned myself upon arriving in California was to find a new hot yoga studio.

Just a week ago, I found a great deal from LivingSocial for an unlimited month of hot yoga at a new place in downtown Long Beach. I bought it and headed over the other day for their weekday 40-minute "lunch time" class.

Since the studio is still very new, I was joined by only two other people, one of which was clearly some kind of triathlete. Besides having a well-developed physique, he sported fading Sharpie-d race numbers on his calves and the shortest shorts I've seen on anyone within the four walls of a yoga studio. He slowly peeled off his shirt and admired himself in the mirror for much longer than is acceptable for a semi-public place, and did some awkward dynamic stretches as we waited for class to begin.

Once I settled into my practice, I couldn't see Mr. Olympia...but I could hear him. He grunted and panted through every pose including the resting ones, occasionally toppling over. His technique was as effortless as a fish riding a bicycle.

Just for the record, I have no problem with beginner-level yogis. (I'm assuming—hoping?—that Mr. Olympia is a beginner.) We're all beginners at some point, and in fact, I like beginners specifically because they tend to approach their practice with humility.

Not our friend. He began interrupting the instructor as she'd demonstrate modifications to a particular pose. "But which is the most challenging?" he'd bark, then immediately try and fail at said modification, often landing with a thud. I'm not sure if what I could hear was my ujjayi breathing or Hindu gods sighing, but this dude was totally missing the point.