Yoga classes are ripe for awkward moments. I mean, picture this:
A group of spandex-clad mostly-female strangers gather together in a room to have someone instruct them about how to gyrate around on rectangular rubber mats and make unusual shapes with their bodies.
What could possibly go wrong?
Some of the many things that could (and do) go wrong include:
- Farting (see also: a loudly gurgling stomach). All that twisting and turning — it really does aid in digestion!
- Snoring in Savasana. There is an all-too-fine fine line between the relaxation response and nap time.
- Wardrobe Malfunctions. There are way too many variations of this one: the too-sheer pants, the low-cut pants + visible thong, the dude wearing baggy shorts, or maybe even an “oops that girl opted to go braless and shouldn’t have worn a lose shirt” moment.
- Bodily Fluids. One time there was a literal moat of sweat on the ground around a dude’s mat (and no, it wasn’t a heated yoga class, and no he wasn’t in possession of a towel). And, of course, there is always what might be the penultimate awkward moment — the female student with a fresh period blood stain on her pants.
What’s a yoga teacher to do?
It’s awkward enough when you’re a student, but what about when you’re the teacher?! When one of the above scenarios happens in your class, what should you do?
Of course the answer is: it depends!
No two situations will be alike and each time you’ll have to make a difficult judgment call.
- Farting: Seriously, who hasn’t been there? (And if you haven’t, you will if you practice yoga long enough.) Given that there is nothing to “do” here, I would politely ignore the situation.
- Snoring: American’s are tired and people who fall asleep in Savasana probably needed the snooze. Plus, if they’re actually snoring, odds are good that they’ll wake themselves up shortly! I would probably leave them be.
- Wardrobe Malfunctions: This is a tougher one. I have told a friend that her pants were getting too sheer. However, I generally consider this conversation to be one best had with a trusted friend, not a teacher. When I’m taking a yoga class, yes, I know the teacher is looking at my backside in down dog (to, for example, make sure that my hips are in a good position), but I’d like us both to be able to pretend as though they can’t actually see my butt. Is that too much to ask?
- Bodily Fluids: Again, this is a tough one! Here I would probably discretely do something, rather than ignoring the situation. For example, I would nicely provide an extra-sweaty student with a towel. And in the case of a period mishap, I would — with the utmost discretion — let the student know that it looked like she might have started her period unexpectedly. Awkward, yes. But better for the student to know about and handle the situation asap. It’s like when you have food stuck in your teeth — it’s awkward to be told “you have a little something stuck in your teeth,” but it’s even more awkward to get home and realize that you’ve had a giant green blob stuck in your front teeth since lunch and not a single person told you!
What’s your take? How would you handle an awkward situation as “the teacher”? Got a good awkward story to share…? Do tell!