I am always a little skeptical of the people who teach yoga at my gym. They are living in the same busy city I am, fighting to defend their one square foot of sidewalk space at the crosswalk just like I am, rushing to get to class after a long day in a chaotic world, just like the rest of us. I wonder how they can remain so calm and soothing when I can barely sit still I’m so irritable.
What is going on in the yoga teacher’s mind as she purrs out instructions for a sun salutation? What is she thinking as she lays a light hand on the small of my back, as she gently untorques my hips during downward dog? Is she really as instantly enlightened as her agave-nectared namaste would have us believe?
This video offers a glimpse into the true inner monologue running through the yoga teacher’s mind during class:
“Yoga teachers, as far as I can tell, are just as big assholes as other people,” my friend Sarah, a yoga teacher in California, told me when I asked her if yogis are living on a higher spiritual plane than regular people.
“But you’re living in the same difficult world I am! How can you be so calm and beatific?” I asked Sarah.
“I will tell the class I am having a rough day. If you don’t go on and on about this they are usually receptive—but after that you have to get into the headspace because people are paying for your time,” Sarah explained, which makes total sense—while I might suspect my yoga teacher isn’t sunny all the time, I don’t want her to actually go on and on, kvetching her way through class. Sarah continues, “I often feel so much better at the end of class and usually someone will tell you they do too, and then you kind of realize that hey, it’s not all about me.”
Huh. She does seem pretty levelheaded and enlightened about things.
Then she added, “That said, I did have one student who I really didn’t like.”
I knew it.
Our favorite lines from the video:
“If I see one more man with a bun. Not a ponytail, a bun! With an honest-to-god scrunchie! And those Birkenstocks. Like he’s some kind of homeless samurai! And he’s the one turning me down!”
“Reach up into the sky…like you were at the airport getting a pat-down because they discovered 150 mls of apple butter in your bag.”
“Come on up into tree pose—if you can remember a tree standing up and not burnt to the ground or clear-cut.”
“Stay in the present because there is no future—because the government sold it to the highest bidder.”
“Just breathe. Your life means nothing, and your children’s lives are worth nothing.”