We got to check out a Yoga Six class recently and LOVED it. It was just the right mix of relaxed zen and strength work, with smiling worked in. The whole vibe of the class was to do your own thing, embrace your strengths and just be YOU. So the below post from Laurenn Cutshaw, VP of marketing and branding for Yoga Six and yoga instructor herself, about the four hilarious types of yogis you see in every class and know and love? Well, you know we had to share that …
A Wellness Public Service Announcement
Remember Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham? That is me and fitness, but I love it. I like it outside, I like it in the gym, I like it in a pool, and I like it in a studio. #Beastmode, #Workout, #LetsDoThis! From teaching group fitness and being a member at various facilities, to heading up the marketing department at Yoga Six, I have seen it all.
Today I have a wellness PSA. I want to bring to the forefront the sidebar conversations that happen at gyms across America, and make fitness more enjoyable, welcoming and approachable for everyone.
Here’s the deal. No matter where you get your sweat on, there’s always a cast of characters, and in the cast there are a few standouts who consistently bring a uniquely awkward vibe to the environment. The Grunter is committed to audibles. He works hard and wants you to know it. The Flexor has never seen a mirror or tanning bed he didn’t like. And the Stepford Wife? She has a collection of pastel pants, never sweats, and always has her cellphone. For fitness enthusiasts like myself, these characters are expected and revered; without them the community would not be the same. For newer members, and especially those who are new to fitness in general, their presence can be intimidating, if not off-putting. It is especially scary for newcomers in smaller, more intimate settings, like a yoga studio. For this reason, yoga studio personas are of special interest.
Like fitness, I’ve been practicing yoga for a long time. While most studios have a nice and welcoming yoga community, all have a few key players that make it (or themselves) memorable. If you are new to yoga be on the lookout for the Big Four: Goal Oriented Yogis, Workout Yogis, Show Ponies and Soloists. Don’t let them deter you, and trust that you’re in good company with the other students in the practice room. Chances are they’re just like you.
The Goal-Oriented Yogi: For the Goal-Oriented Yogi each pose is a final destination, and it’s totally fine to sacrifice form, alignment, and comfort to get there. Whether reaching for the mirror in Warrior 2, or pulling a hamstring to touch the floor in Triangle, these practitioners are going to get the job done. The unspoken rules of Goal-Oriented Yogis are simple: over-effort no matter what, and do not use yoga blocks, straps or props of any sort. Goal-Oriented Yogis are often at risk of injury. Modeling them in class is not recommended.
The Workout Yogi: Workout Yogis are “Type A” practitioners. Before yoga they went to CrossFit and ran a marathon. They come to class to relax and stretch — or add 5 push-ups to every sun salutation, linger in side plank and squat deeper in chair pose than everyone else. These people are not here for yoga, they are here to continue their workout. Yoga is a physically and mentally challenging exercise, but a “no pain no gain” mentality doesn’t belong in the practice room. If you want to max out your heart rate check out a Spinning or boot camp class.
The Show Pony: Intimidating and beautiful at the same time, Show Ponies are the biggest distractors in every yoga class. These students have exceptional practices — and they know it. The Show Pony has all the latest yoga gear and sets up in the front of the room. He or she flows flawlessly in and out of every pose, freestyles here and there to add difficulty, and finds unique uses for yoga blocks and straps — all while never breaking eye contact with the mirror. Admire the Show Pony’s practice for the performance that it is and remember, nobody will ever ask you to do bird of paradise on a job interview.
The Soloist: There is a Soloist in every class. This student has complete disregard for studio etiquette, and acts as if he or she is the only person in the room. Whether it’s strong perfume, an oversized yoga mat, a mid-class text or exaggerated Ujjayi breath, The Solo Practitioner finds a way to bring everyone into his or her zone. The biggest offense? Leaving class like an angry elephant in the middle of Savasana. A good teacher will keep 90 percent of the Soloist’s antics under control, and most yoga students will roll with it. After all yoga is about letting go, but the lack of awareness in a yoga class is ironic.
So there you have it, the Big Four of yoga. Keep them in mind next time you’re in class, or considering trying a new studio. And if you see a fellow newbie in class, lined up behind The Show Pony with a deer in headlights stare, affirm them with an “I got you” nod of the head. You’re in the know, and they should be too. —Laurenn Cutshaw