I don’t mean to Bikram-bash, but my first yoga studio experience happened to be in a Bikram studio, and it wasn’t great. What turned me off the most about the experience was the energy in the room. Nobody was smiling. I can’t stand being places where no one’s smiling — my defense mechanisms kick in, among them a very snarky sense of humor. I found myself trying to fight laughter from the jokes I was telling myself internally to qualm the awkwardness, while staying as silent externally as everyone else. It’s difficult to ground yourself and balance on one foot when you’re shaking at your core from fighting hysterical laughter!
This isn’t the way a yoga class should be. Yoga is fun. I enjoy the practice. So why do most yogis seem so serious all the time?
It took a few months before I tried another yoga studio. This time I came prepared. I researched the methods, teachers, styles and more. I chose to dedicate my time to practicing the Ashtanga style through the traditional Mysore method with Ally Ford. She gets it.
No matter how bad of a mood I’m in when I arrive at the studio, I always leave with a smile on my face. I joke around with the teachers all the time. It lightens the mood and makes me less anxious about making a mistake or keeping up. It helps me relax and ground myself.
My yoga mat isn’t a solemn place. It’s a place I ground myself to celebrate life and existence. If you want to laugh, cry or express whatever you’re feeling in the present moment while practicing yoga, don’t worry about disrupting the room. Holding yourself back will manifest itself in your practice and add limitations to your life. Experience and express yourself!
And if you’re one of those people who can’t concentrate when you feel someone is disrupting the class, try and learn to relax. Yoga isn’t just about discipline and fitness. It’s about having fun and enjoying life. Be compassionate of everyone around you, and you’ll grow by leaps and bounds.