Wow, That’s Awkward!

{photo credit :: i.chzbgr.com}

{photo credit :: i.chzbgr.com}

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.

My $0.02:

  • 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!

16 comments

  1. Not as a teacher but bad breath is a big one! What do you do in a situation like that right? Nice post as usual :)

    1. Ohh, good one! Both for the teacher and the student….! :)

  2. Just started taking yoga in Korea. Except I don’t speak Korean. And the yoga instructor insists I close my eyes. Yesterday, she had a 16 year old girl sit behind me and whisper all the instructions in my ear in really broken English. At the end, the girl said: “Teacher really cares for you and wants you to lose your weight so you can have a nice husband. That is what she told our class.” AWKWARD.

    1. Super awkward!!! Thanks for sharing… :))

  3. Oh, the embarrassment dilemma – I agree with your choices.

    1. Thanks Beth! Who knew that there were all these “fun” things about being “the teacher” that I never had to contemplate before! :)

  4. LOL!!! Awesome blog!

    1. Haha, thanks friend! :)

  5. I’d say you’re spot-on. 99% of the time the situation probably doens’t warrant a comment, unless someone’s health or safety may be compromised.

    1. Agreed! I’m going to practice my “casual face.” ;)

  6. That dog is my new favorite picture. I have looked at him several times in the last couple of days…because I really need a laugh.

    And, yes, these, are things we’ll have come up when we teach. I think it’s good to be prepared with the casual face!

  7. Hahahaah, I’ve seen the snoring thing happen so many times!

  8. Ah the awkwardness I’m terrified in my reformer Pilates class of doing anything on that list! but the last time I went to class with my Mom, she got a foot in the face, a woman fell, swung round in her machine and kicked her in the jaw.

    1. Eek!! All in one class? Wow!!

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