Welcome to the Fucking Yoga Blog. You may have found your way here via the title with a little hope in your heart that someone out there wouldn’t be expounding on the benefits of yoga!
Alas, I happen to think yoga is one of those activities that promote lifelong wellness. I am, indeed, a certified yoga instructor and a cough…cough thirty-year practitioner of said activity. BUT, seriously, you knew that was coming right?!
It’s sad to say a lot of us, me included, have had a terrible, scarring yoga experience.
I will admit the topic was something of a lark for me. For the most part, I’m a fiction writer. My hubby and publishing partner, affectionately known as The Beard, has been demanding a book about yoga for AGES.
After a lengthy debate and a couple of glasses of wine, I relented shouting, “FINE! I’ll write the fucking yoga book!” After a few seconds pause, I continued, “AND I’m going to call it The Fucking Yoga Book. THAT’S the title.”
The Beard looked at me. “Seriously, The Fucking Yoga Book?”
Oh my loves, I do appreciate your love of my classes. Every time someone says, “If you added a class at such and such time, it would be perfect” I glow with warm fuzzies. And then I quickly crush your dreams. “I can’t teach all of the yoga.”
It’s the same with Cycle or Fit Fun Flex.
I’m a control freak. I’m in recovery. Believe me, there are times when I attend a yoga class and I’m grinding my teeth over some thing the instructor is cueing. I have agreed to cover too many fitness classes in a week with the idea that I’ll get to evangelize people with my brand of F*cking Yoga.
It never works. I kick my own ass and most of the folks in other classes love their instructors because of the brand they teach. I’m not punishing enough. I don’t move fast enough. I’ve been doing it this way the whole time, why should I listen to this crazy bitch? Oh, I see it.
The validation I feel when you ask me for more classes is off the charts. I’ve been teaching for over twelve years now and I’ve learned some pretty inviolable truths.
If I offer more classes, you end up coming less often not more often.
For over six years, I taught Evening yoga at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays AND Thursdays. And for six years, I would say seven out of ten times one of those nights would end up a no show night. I made the tough decision to eliminate Thursdays.
Guess what? Not only did folks show up on Tuesdays, but more folks than usual started coming. Procrastination. Yep, people would find all kinds of reasons to go on Thursday because Tuesday was too busy and they wouldn’t come to either. I don’t know why that is, but it’s true.
Once a month, someone now asks me, begs me to add another Evening yoga class. I recognize their sincerity and passion. I still say nope.
I’m just one person who also has a full-time writing career, a couple of part-time gigs, and laundry. This one I need to remind myself of frequently. I actually inherited some of my class schedule, but I built the rest of my schedule to accommodate my life. While I do wonder that my 6:15 a.m. classes are smaller, I also know I can’t pull off a 5 a.m. workout any longer.
Also, we all have lives. Busy, sometimes chaotic lives. That takes time.
Everyone has an ideal routine.
I know some of you drag yourselves to Fit Fun Flex and wish it was all Cycle. Some of you love Fit Fun Flex, but hit Bodypump because frankly, I’m not an insanely high energy teacher. Those of you who love Fit Fun Flex would never step into a Zumba class and hate that our warm up is dancing. And I’ll never see some of you in any of my yoga classes. It’s all good.
Variety keeps you improving and reduces potential injuries.
I’m a big believer in shaking things up. There are those gym hounds who lift weights Mon Weds Fri and do cardio Tues Thurs. Period. Some of you only workout in the morning (my personal favorite). Some of you have to hit the 5 a.m. classes because of work schedules and some of you couldn’t open your eyes to workout before noon.
Settling into one workout or one class can kill your motivation, but it can also lead to repetitive stress injury. It’s why my class routines are always different day to day. I’m trying to defy the rut.
I love that you love my classes, but you gotta trust me on this.
I had a great bunch of new faces in my Beginning class on Saturday. Regular clients giving the weekend a shot. New people stepping out for spring to try something different. It’s great. Good mat etiquette is something you can find oodles of posts about. One yoga gaff I hadn’t counted on, in fact, it never even crossed the darkest recesses of my mind (and they get pretty dark) happened to a couple of my regular clients. A newbie walked across their yoga mat! Twice!
No Touchy The Mat!
Stunned, she couldn’t even respond, especially when the newbie returned the same way. She pulled me aside this morning to tell me about it. It took most of the practice for her to get into her groove, she was so angry. She relayed the double jeopardy saying my other client told him in in no uncertain terms to get off of her mat.
I occasionally step on clients’ mats to help them with alignment, but I’ve never, in all of my years of yoga (and there are plenty) had someone else walk across my mat.
There are a lot of articles out there about good mat etiquette, mostly devoted to keeping it clean, staggering your spacing so more people can find room, not coming in late, not leaving early, blah blah blah. In all of my searching, I found a lone single article stating what seems to be common sense.
Don’t step on someone else’s mat without permission. Feet, people!
I dragged my sorry carcass out of bed for Morning Energy Yoga today. Since the town recreation center expanded, we have two rooms for yoga. My classes rotate upstairs to downstairs. Interesting design choice, someone decided to put the weight room upstairs. Directly above the downstairs studio.
To be fair, the downstairs room hosts Zumba, Fit Fun Flex, and RIPPED in addition to the many yoga classes during the day. This morning seemed particularly disruptive. You know what I’m talking about. BOOM BA BOOM.
Those weight lifting maniacs are upstairs dropping their fucking weights like olympian dead lifters. When did this become a thing? I lift weights and let me tell you, it’s all about control. Sure, I may be fatiguing out, but fuck if I have those weights managed.
A little hint for those of you mad lifters, it’s absolutely unnecessary and only proves you’re lifting out of your league. Don’t take my dainty word for it, I looked it up. Dropping the weights isn’t needed 90% of the time. In fact, there are signs all over the gym specifically saying, “DON’T DROP THE WEIGHTS.”
But do any of those weight dropping knuckleheads adhere to the rules? Hell no, never mind there is a friggin’ yoga class going on downstairs. Dropping those monsters interrupts the fitness classes I teach as well.
Okay, don’t consider your bullshit disruptive behavior, consider the weights. They aren’t designed to be dropped as part of the work out. Losing control of your weight means something ain’t right and I’m not talking fatigue.
Or perhaps your eyes were bigger than your pecs and there was just too much weight in your hands. Or possibly your form sucks. -Bob Doucette
Y’all have been watching too much television. Jim Schmitz, former U.S. Olympic Weightlifting Coach even says it. I get it, sometimes shit goes down and you have to drop a weight. But that crap should NOT be a part of your normal routine.
Lowering weights properly won’t weaken you. – Jim Schmitz
Last month, during Evening Yoga savasana in the upstairs room, some bonehead was in the hallway doing push ups and in between was sliding a twenty pound barbell weight along the floor and letting it spin around to thunk like a quarter. Outside of the studio miles away from the weight room!
And he was pissed at me for gently, GENTLY I tell you, asking him to move it back to the weight room.
Not only is it bad form, both literally and metaphorically, it’s part of the Code, man! You’re not impressing anyone and quite likely you’re just moments shy of having a barbell swung at your head.
I enjoy sleeping. You know those studies the omnipotent they have published outlining all of the elements of a healthy night’s sleep. No two articles agree on the ideal ratio of hours to help keep you well, rested, and moving. Personally, I’m an eight and a half to ten-hour gal. You night owls are laughing.
I’ve learned to get less than eight hours, especially several nights in a row, ignites a murderous, blood haze in me. It’s no laughing matter. Everyone around me pays. The optimal schedule for me is turning off the lights at nine and opening my eyes around six-thirty. Oh, I can get up early. When I was a teacher, I woke at four-thirty to go workout, but doing so meant going to bed no later than eight-thirty. Sometimes it was all I could do to keep my eyes open until eight.
This prototypical agenda shifts seasonally. It’s hard for me to go to bed when the sun is up. I keep suggesting nuclear black-out shades, but The Beard doesn’t seem too excited by the prospect. In the summer, I generally turn off the lights around nine-thirty or ten. I still wake up around six. It’s not a good thing.
Weekdays are rough. I have to get up at five a.m. to get my double espresso in before I teach at six fifteen. Saturdays are a bit of a reprieve. The alarm goes off at seven a.m.
Without an alarm, I could sleep until seven, but we have dogs. Dogs who love to keep a strict timetable. Our alpha girl, Oona, monitors the shifting light of the sun with rabid attention. If I so much as roll over around alarm time, she’s up and in my face reminding me she’s one minute away from starvation.
Some mornings I would like to sleep until seven. Wah, wah, I know it’s terrible.
Those early week days are sometimes difficult for me to get motivated. Seriously, if I weren’t teaching the class, I might throw some food at the dogs and crawl back into bed.
I feel the same way about my late evening class. It’s at seven-thirty. If I weren’t teaching, I’d definitely be tempted to open a bottle of wine and practice Vino Yoga.
I don’t. In the mornings, I make a double espresso and remind myself I have clients who like my class. I also tell myself how great I’ll feel after the first hour. I joke about the coffee kicking in, but it’s really the yoga. Moving my body, breathing, and letting my mind work the mat wakes me up and gets me going like a double espresso. Okay, maybe the coffee is also kicking in.
Same thing on those evenings. I trudge out the door, but once I see my clients and pick up the vibe of the class I always feel better after the practice.
I’m not advocating waking up at an ungodly hour, especially because everyone’s ungodly is different. I would like to see you find a yoga class that not only fits your style but also fits your schedule. If that’s at 8:30 a.m. or even later, I don’t judge.
Maybe I’ll judge if it’s a Wednesday morning when I’ve barely squeaked in my eight hours.