I was a yoga newbie once, too, so I’m trying to extend my compassion and empathy toward the newbies I’ve seen lately, but sometimes it’s really hard. I see them in the mirror and my focus breaks. I try to telepathically send them messages, but none of them pick up on my frequencies. And I notice that their fledgling practice has a big impact on my own practice, and for that, I’m annoyed (mostly at myself of course, but a teeny tiny little bit at them, too).
It’s not the out of shape newbies that bother me. Or the ones who come dressed in completely non-yoga appropriate dress (one girl was wearing an outfit best for strolling down the Santa Monica pier, and one was wearing a non-breathable track suit in neon purple, and yet another wearing a dress and leggings…yeah…). The “bad” dressers provide a moment of amusement or extreme compassion (I worry about them overheating and dying in their fancy outfits), but it is the bad listeners that really drive me crazy.
Like tonight, in the back row, perfectly aligned with my vision, was a a guy taking his first class next to his girlfriend who seems to be a regular practitioner (so I would have thought she would have given him some instruction prior). But I struggled watching him. Because he didn’t listen to the instructor. Bikram yoga is all about doing things in a precise, controlled order, to get ‘maximum benefit’ and to keep safety in mind. I’ve seen new students struggle in this way a lot, trying to get their body to bend into the bendiest pretzel position without regard to their personal safety. And in their newness they aren’t even aware that they’re putting themselves in danger. I am mentally shouting at them PAY ATTENTION! but they don’t listen. They hold their positions too long and then get winded when they could be resting. It throws the energy of the room off, and I sometimes get annoyed. And like tonight, I sometimes get worried for their safety.
I haven’t yet come to a good conclusion for how I should handle myself. I know that I wasn’t perfect as a newbie, but the one thing that I focused on was listening to the instructor and tried to follow their directions as much as I could. So it is hard for me to see people struggle with postures when it appears that they aren’t even listening to a word the instructor is saying!
I think the biggest muscles used in yoga are the ones for listening…