Dear Mik and Mike: Recently I started a hot yoga class because it was right by my house. I like the exercises but was wondering is there any real benefit to the room being so hot? I thought I would pass out. At the beginning of the class and after the class, one of the students was doing very complicated and advanced moves, basically showing off. I noticed everybody checking each other out too. I’m not sure, but I felt that there was a competitive vibe in the class. I thought yoga was supposed to be about calming, relaxation and non-competitiveness. No one said hello or goodbye to each other either. Is this typical behavior do you know?
I think hot yoga is the devil. Add to that the more-yoga-than-thou attitude of a large percentage of attendees, and you have yet another miserable healing experience, enough to send you back to the poofy sofa and the TV. I confess: I am anti-yoga. Not because I don’t like the stretching and the breathing – that part feels great. The sanctimonious quality of the whole scene brings out my worst grumpiness. The only time I was tempted to throw down the mat and assume the position was when I was at the gym and heard some Willie Nelson playing softly from the yoga class around the corner. Willie will never say “Namaste” with a straight face, and neither will I.
To different degrees this has been my particular experience. Yoga has become big business, a fad, and like anything else we westerners get our greedy hands on, very competitive. There are still some great classes out there that defy this norm, you’ll just have to look around some more or take a class with old people. Try corrective yoga. They put you in yoga positions, stuff pillows all around you and you get to totally relax and zone out! I love it. The only competition there is who can snore loudest!
Photo by SFView