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You Could Use a Little Yoga: How Annoying is Yoga?

In my first post on our collective yoga challenge, I mentioned the fact that the practice has a reputation for being a little bit weird, hokey, or over-the-top. I like it in spite of those things. In addition to the little quirks that can sometimes make a yoga class somewhat awkward, unfamiliar, or strange, there are things that can make it annoying. Yoga can be a metaphor for life in that way: things are bound to get on your nerves every now and then.

Last week, the Awl featured a post by Sarah Miller entitled, “Why Yoga Can Be So Irritating (Although You Should Go Anyway!).” It’s funny in parts, and worth a read. I wouldn’t say that Miller succeeds 100% in establishing the ways in which yoga is universally annoying, but as you read through her list and her descriptions, you can understand how the things she’s describing could be annoying to her. Personally, I’ve never experienced half of what she writes about; however, she’s a yoga instructor and has probably spent more time in studios than I have, so maybe it’s just a matter of time in my case. And maybe the fact that we can find yoga irritating for different reasons is just another way in which yoga is a really individual activity, based entirely on your own path, body, and ability.

All that said, there is one category in her list that I would put on mine as well: “yoga overachievers.” I’m well aware that by letting myself get annoyed with this subset of people, I’m being very un-yogic, but we can’t all be perfect, can we? Ultimately, the yoga overachievers aren’t hurting anyone but themselves, but for some reason I can’t help but be bothered by the idea that some people just can’t accept or tune into where they might be, both physically and mentally, on any particular day. It’s the whole point of yoga! If you’re not going to pay attention to what your limits are, if you’re just going to move right into the most difficult or complicated expression of every pose, and if you’re going to push yourself past your edge just for the sake of being able to say you did, why are you even doing yoga in the first place? Yoga isn’t a competition; indeed, I do yoga to take a break from competition. Without yoga, I’m in constant competition with myself and the people around me. It’s an unpleasant experience, and I’m not sure why anyone would want to bring it to their yoga class.

Although I’ve been exposed to more than my fair share of yoga overachievers, I’ve been spared too-intimate hugging, rank body odor, and holier-than-thou instructors. As I sit here writing this, though, I haven’t yet done my second practice for the week (it will take place in a few hours). So who knows, maybe after class tonight I’ll find that I spoke too soon?

How was your week in yoga? Did you meet your minimum goal? Is there anything about yoga that irritates you? Vent about it in the comments!

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Emilie

Runner, yogini, knitter, Manhattanite in spite of myself. Also blogging at http://www.icametorun.com.

2 thoughts on “You Could Use a Little Yoga: How Annoying is Yoga?”

  1. It doesn’t help that there are actual yoga competitions. It seems bizarre to me.
    Bikram and Ashtanga classes I’ve taken have felt particularly competitive for me so I avoid them now (I’d be avoiding Bikram anyway though).

  2. uuugh Yoga overachievers are the worst! And their friends Yoga show-offs. Ugh. There was a terrible one in a class I went to years ago. She was always showing off how extra flexible she was, and calling attention to herself. She was terrible at balance though and I got really smug when we had to stand on one foot and I totally rocked it and she was teetering all over the place.
    Namaste!

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