Is This Yoga Class Too Crowded Or Is It All In Your Mind?
Do you prefer an almost empty studio for yoga or do you prefer the energy of a bunch of other yogis stretching together? I have found myself on both sides of this topic. I have loved a crowded class and I have loathed a crowded class. Let’s take a look at when and why I prefer one or the other and why you and I might be feeling the way we do.
When I love a crowded class: I have usually eaten well that day, my personal well-being and self-esteem is good, my relationships are nurtured and loving, and I have a positive happy outlook. Then, I enter a FULL yoga class, and I mean full! Where you are literally only inches from your neighbour. But, you can tell it will be a great class, because why else would SO many people be here, right? “Look at all these awesome souls, here to practice yoga! Everybody is so bright and happy!” I think.
Now, doesn’t that sound nice? Honestly, this kind of thinking is hard and takes time and practice if it’s not currently in your nature, but it's worth it!
When I hate seeing a crowded class: I haven’t eaten well that day, maybe I woke up late or got up too early and didn’t listen to my body. Maybe I feel fat in these damn yoga pants. Maybe my brain keeps saying, ”Why didn’t my boyfriend tell me I looked pretty today? UGH, this class is SO full. Why can’t they open another slot or set up another studio. This is ridiculous, how am I supposed to find peace and Zen here, when I can smell my neighbour! “
Think about it: Maybe when you hate a class, it’s because you are dealing with some nasty things. What we in the yoga world call Duhkha. Meaning nasty, negative thoughts. When all you really need is some Sukha or Positive thinking.
Sometimes classes really do seem too full to be able to get into or get out of a pose properly, but, there are always modifications. Hopefully your teacher is able to get you through them without taking your neighbour’s eye out or the dreaded accidental boob-graze. (We’ve all been there.) If you can realize that you’re all there for the same reason—to try and give yourself some much needed love—then I think that crowded class becomes a big family, where you wouldn’t want it any other way.
I suggest getting out of your comfort zone and heading to that 6 p.m. class at that studio where you know its going to be packed. See if practicing in the middle of distractions helps you throughout your day. If you practice it there, then it will be easier to practice it in life. Because, I’ll tell you what: I don’t remember the last time I walked into a board meeting, crowded elevator, or packed restaurant and everyone moved out of the way and started OM’ing so I’d feel more comfortable. It doesn’t work like that in real life, so why should it be perfect in a community yoga class? Maybe that packed, 6 p.m. class is strangely enough, exactly what you need to help you stay calm in the often frustrating, crowded world.
Let’s all get moving and start seeing the bright side. Even if the bright side is 30+ yoga booties in Lululemon all shining bright in that studio no bigger than your childhood bedroom. Embrace it!
Melody Hummel is based in Austin, Texas, but feels like the whole world is her home. She is a wellness enthusiast, registered yoga teacher, Ayurvedic newbie and global wanderer. Melody believes in seeing and appreciating all the little things in life, and that nobody should take themselves too seriously.
Read more about Melody.