Yoga class does not need to be some tight-lipped, serious affair. Sure, being focused and connected is what we’re after but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be fun and joyful. There’s this seriousness that creeps into the class environment sometimes, when everyone is just trying so damn hard to not teeter in their balancing poses or crack a smile while singing Om.
But I’m here to tell you to lighten up, yo! That doesn’t mean you can’t still be a serious and dedicated yogi. What it does mean instead is that you aren’t so worried about what others think, you’re willing to be playful and to throw caution to the wind.
As a yoga class student, you play a massive role in creating community, dropping pretensions and cultivating a space that’s warm and inviting. You have the power to make yoga class more accessible, inclusive and compassionate. So why not start now?
1. Wobble And Teeter
You don’t have to clench your teeth and claw your toes into the mat for dear life. It’s okay to wobble, teeter and even to fall. You become a hero fo sho when you’re the first one to take the unsteadiness plunge. By exploring and being okay with falling and getting back up, you give other students permission to try too. You become a true yoga hero.
2. Sing Loud And Proud
Sing mantras and the sound of Om with conviction and confidence, even if you don’t really know what the hell is going on. Singing is a way to open up, let go and create positive vibration. I know, it can be a bit awkward to sing out loud with a bunch of people you don't really know but it can also be hella liberating. Sing loud and proud and others will follow suit.
3. Laugh, Smile And Be Merry
When that urge to giggle slips in, you don’t have to stifle it. It’s okay to laugh, smile and be merry in yoga class. Sometimes I see students trying so hard to choke down a chuckle. Laughing can be quite therapeutic and heck, smiling while you’re practicing has got to grant you a golden ticket to enlightenment. Smiling students are so gorgeous to see. I encourage you to be one.
4. Be Unsure And Awkward
You don't have to know exactly what’s going on at every given moment. It’s okay to look around, end up randomly in a completely different pose, and heaven forbid, ask a question. If you need some clarity and your teacher’s a cool cat, they’ll be happy to help you out. We’re all in this amazing yoga adventure together and there’s just so much to learn. It’s okay to not have all the answers.
5. Create Community
Be the smiler. The world needs more chipper folk, wouldn’t you say? Say hello to your classmates, chuck around some Namastes and help to create a mood of inclusion and connection. Yoga class sucks when there’s competition, pretensions and a shitload of ego posing around. Being friendly can be as basic as choosing to be nice to yourself and not to compete with the yogi next to you. Yoga class can be a beautiful way to create community. Be an ambassador of this generous energy.
6. Be The Rainbow
This might be a weird one, but I reckon all black yoga ensembles can be a little menacing (sorry to those of you currently decked in your goth asana gear). In India, dark colours are not traditionally part of a yogi’s wardrobe. Instead, there’s lots of whites and brights. Wearing these more vibrant colours creates an atmosphere that is more uplifting, happy and inviting. I say, opt for neon and ditch the navy.
7. Be A Good Older Yogi Sibling
If you’ve been rocking it around the yoga block for awhile now, you can help make a new yogi’s experience so much more comfortable. It’s totally scary when you’re a newbie and you come into class to find all these adept yogis flying through poses and looking super confident.
Help to make someone else’s yoga journey more bright by reaching out, offering encouragement and creating big old lovey-acceptance vibes. You’ll be the best big sis / bro on the whole yoga block.