As you all know, I try to attend yoga class twice a week. My yoga classes are held at a gym– a regular gym with rows of treadmills and ellipticals, a basketball and racquetball court, and even a “Cardio Cinema” (Basically, it’s a movie theater that substitutes cardio machines for seats. Ingenious.).
The good thing about taking yoga at the regular gym is that I pay twenty dollars a month and attend eight yoga classes, which comes to $2.50/class. Of course too, I am free to use any of the aforementioned services offered by the gym, including the babysitting room. If I make it to yoga class early, I can set up my mat then go out into the gym for a short run on the treadmill. If I wanted to, I could check out a flick in the Cardio Cinema after yoga class. Options, options, options. I am sure you can see that financially this is a good deal.
Recently, the thought crossed my mind that if I wanted to get more serious about yoga, eventually I may want to quit the gym and attend a yoga studio instead. While the gym offers plenty of workout options, a yoga studio would allow me to try out different types of yoga classes. I’d pay for this variety though. Also, I doubt that yoga studios offer babysitting.
Still, I sometimes wonder if I would get more out of the experience at a studio dedicated to yoga. Where everyone who walks in has the same desire and purpose and love. Because some days I walk into class, and “come to my mat” and find it difficult to stay there, so to speak.
I can handle the times we meditate and Rihanna pounds through the walls from the gym floor. I tolerate flinching during savasana (corpse pose) at the loud banging noise when someone uses the paper towel dispenser located on the other side of the wall. I can even keep my cool when the booming, amplified voice of the cycle instructor overpowers the soft chants of our yoga music during balance poses. But, there’s one thing I am finding hard to handle. One thing that may send me running to the private yoga studio.
Enter the Giggle Girl.
Giggle Girl is a pleasantly plump, twenty-something, who loves to show up late to class and set up her mat in the front of the room. I don’t know if she’s nervous, or anxious, or either over or under confident, but she’s constantly drawing attention to herself. As a mom, I often find myself wanting to tell her to “settle down.” She’s jittery and noisy, albeit in a happy way.
I’m going to allow myself to sound like a snob for a second, so bear with me. When I come to yoga, I really want the hour to be about me and my practice and my mat. I don’t want to notice the people around me. We are always told not to compare ourselves to others. To be inside ourselves. To spend the hour focused on our own breathing and our own bodies. To be “present on our mat.”
Giggle Girl manages to uproot the whole idea of inner peace and focus.
Remember when you were a kid, and you’d have to stand on one foot? Maybe you joined your friends in a balance contest, and you’d lift your foot until you felt yourself start to tip, and then you’d do something goofy, like wave your arms in circles and say, “WHHOOOAAAA,” as you dramatically fall to the floor. This is what Giggle Girl does when she can’t hold a pose.
Or, there’s the time we switched it up and did savasana with our back on the floor, our butts up to the wall, and our legs up along the wall, making a ninety-degree angle with our bodies. This set Giggle Girl into a fit of sillies that lasted through our entire final relaxation. She couldn’t get her butt all the way to the wall, and then she just felt weird, I guess. Her barely stifled giggles were a nice background track to the LMFAO song playing in the gym outside the wall. I spent all of savasana wondering if Giggle Girl thought she was Sexy and If She Knew It.
Sometimes, when things get too tough for Giggle Girl, she simply sits on her mat and watches us while drinking her water. Always smiling and giggly. Or she over-dramatically sighs. Or goofily says something like “yeah right!” when we are supposed to twist in a way that seems humanly impossible.
We all find the practice challenging, but we try to keep it together and act like adults. We ignore each other’s physical presence, try not to disturb others, and attempt to benefit from the positive energy in the room. When Giggle Girl is around though, we all end up focusing on her.
Drives me bonkers.
I know it is partially wrong of me to feel like this. First, I realize it’s a gym, and a bunch of people are in yoga class simply because it is what is being offered on that day at that time. I’m under no illusion that everyone in the classroom is looking to learn in the same way that I am.
I recognize that Giggle Girl’s ability to distract me is more of a flaw in myself than in her. She may be self-absorbed, but part of yoga is learning to focus, and obviously, I am not mastering that in her presence.
Also, I don’t know if Giggle Girl’s actions are executed of her own free will. I have a special needs child who does things like this all the time, and I hope and expect people to tolerate his actions. Perhaps Giggle Girl is socially-awkward herself, and I should be more understanding. Me, of all people, shouldn’t judge someone else’s behavior.
Then, I ponder if the real problem isn’t Giggle Girl, but rather the yoga instructors. Shouldn’t they have a nice chat with Giggle Girl and ask her to calm down? In their defense, sometimes they try to “offer up” a different pose to all of us if we can’t handle a more challenging pose, and I think their offer is aimed at Giggles. The approach they prefer towards Giggles seems to be one of tolerance.
I know I’m not paying a lot for my classes and I get what I pay for, but it is rather annoying. I’ve thought about making a comment to Giggles myself, or “shushing” her, but I never do.
Maybe I am too nice. Or maybe I’m a snob. I don’t know. Either way, I wish people could step outside of themselves and see the effect they have on others. Whether you must deal with Giggles disrupting your yoga practice, or a restaurant patron complaining about your kid’s behavior, or finding out somebody spread gossip about you, people like Giggles exist in all of our lives, in many different scenarios a lot more serious than yoga class. They are the people who are insensitive to others, who speak without a filter, who don’t think before they act on a whim, or who have no self-control. They are the people who don’t realize that words or actions may affect others.
My friend Megan loves to use the quote from Seinfeld: “People. They’re the worst.” She (and Jerry) are right. They are the worst. At least, they can be. Sometimes people are annoying, and rude, and ignorant. Sometimes they walk across the intersection on the red light instead of the green when you are trying to drive, and sometimes they cut on line at the grocery store when you walk two feet away to pick up a People Magazine. But I try to tolerate and understand, and yes, maybe, I’m nice to a flaw. Maybe it’s because I have a special needs son, and I am nervous that someday his innocence will be mistaken for rudeness and I won’t be there to protect him.
Being “tolerant” and “nice” may not be the most self-serving way to go through life. It means that you take a hit once in awhile. You put up with Giggle Girl and lose out on a peaceful relaxation pose. You let the person cross the street and thank God you didn’t hit them as your blood pressure spikes. You let the shopper cut the line and watch your ice cream melt. Maybe you choose to stay quiet instead of argue with someone and don’t get your point across. Why? Because: (a) if you give someone the benefit of the doubt, maybe the Universe will return the favor someday; (b) you don’t want to spend your life in a constant state of stress and anger; (c) it just doesn’t matter in the long run; and/or (d) because People. They’re the worst. And sometimes they can’t help it.
So that’s it. It seems through writing this post that I’ve made my decision to continue to put up with Giggle Girl. Maybe someday if Giggle Girl and I become friends, I can talk to her kindly about her yoga etiquette. Maybe even if we don’t become friends, I can talk to her about it. Until that day when I’m not just teetering on the brink of insanity but am actually knee-deep into Crazy because of her behavior, I’ll tolerate the sighs and the giggles and the obnoxious “whoooaaas” as she falls out of her poses. Because maybe she can’t help it– and at least she’s not mean.
Thanks for reading along with my vent about Giggle Girl. Have a nice night. 🙂