in: Wellness

Unlocking the Mysteries of the Yoga Scene

Whether you’re starting a practice or you’re giving a new class a try, the yoga scene can be an intimidating place for newbies. Don’t stress. We’ve got you. 

When taking part in a yoga class, the desire to blend in with the other yoginis in the room is overwhelmingly alluring. Every participant has the latest greatest Lululemon wear, or scanty shorts, or even a newfangled outfit that leaves most flexible bodies with their eyes roaming all over the room.

I liken it to an arena for every man, woman and child to show the world their uniqueness and put it out there on stage for all to see—not to mention every inch of their bodily stuff.

Whether back row, front row, or even off to the side of the room, the yoga scene has definitely skyrocketed in how one approaches their possible new tribe, with the awkward exchange of words at the beginning and end of class. This is so true for the newbie to any class and any style of asana and poses.

Once you enter the studio, if that is the preferable place to practice, there is a feeling of oneness and even randomness on how the whole class and energy will pan out. The instructor bears the brunt of setting the tone of the class, and it is with her or his energy that the flow of movement follows.

I’m not entirely sure when yoga became a place that we refer to as a “scene,” but it surely has evolved into one as of late. Some might even place yoga classes at the top of the see-and-be-seen heap (with the exception of Whole Foods and cool coffee shops).

There is a mystique about what yoga conjures up, especially with the heated classes. Once the sweat starts flying, the layers get peeled off, the breath rate increases, endorphins get fired up and it isn’t until the savasana at the end that all that amazing transfer of energy absorbs into the body. In the coed classes of yoga, you would be hard-pressed not to check out what other participants are doing during the hour plus of movement, and especially while the strength and inversion component brings forth the animal in all of us. The mystery is ignited when eyes begin to wander from down dog poses to side angle poses, all the way to the *Namaste* lotus position at the end. 

I find that whenever I am saying three “om’s” and instructed to have eyes closed, I inadvertently open to observe others doing the same thing, just as we are all chanting. It is as if we want to make sure that we are one with the process; and well, honestly… what others’ faces actually look like while saying their mantras.

My experience with yoga class has been a journey, to say the least. When I stepped back into the class setting, after years of a lay-off to save money and learn more about a home practice, and even being a bit shy on a return, I found that it was kind of awkward at first. Walking in the front door to any yoga studio is similar to how I felt on my first day of high school. Modest, a smidge cocky, and definitely not a conformist, but more of an “I am flexible and can do yoga, yet I’m here just to check out what has transpired over the years-type attitude” was always how I felt when entering a new class.Those were the days!

What works now is more of a willingness to just be and not fret over what others think.

The only mystery is the pheromones emanating from all corners of the establishment, with each body in the room sending off their own signals as to who they are and why they are there. You can almost feel the pulse of the room, and once the class is over, the sweat has been wiped up (even in non-heated environments the sweat still manages to precipitate), everyone has put away their blocks and blankets and straps, then boom! The post-yoga mingling begins. This is where the moment of truth really grabs hold.

After the initial gathering in the studio seated areas, the idle chit-chat pre-class, sizing up all the garments and who looks better than whom in their chosen wares and which body appears more capable to perform twisting one-legged anything, it is the after-class transfer of energy that the rawness and realness come out. The merging and blending of all those bodies after a session of breathing, meditation, twisting, going deep into their own whirlpools of an individual spiritual realm, it is no wonder that yoga has evolved into an art, full of mystery and contemplation and curiosity.

The entire process of being involved with yoga classes practically takes one into another dimension. I can attest to this, as when I leave each class, my own process of being more in tune and aware has taken on a whole new meaning.

Certainly the pheromones associated with this synergistic coupling leaves me with no other choice than to embrace all of the happenings with yoga. It has the powerful ability to transform my mood into one that goes from hesitant to extremely satisfied in one fell swoop, and it all transpired on a large wooden floor, with a few mirrors surrounding the space, multiple bodies in unison and plenty of open and alive energy to take us all to new places.

There is no more room for discomfort from beginning to end, as we can all take solace knowing that anyone who enters the yoga space will leave with an enriched heart. Better yet, you might even collect a few new friends and like-minded souls after the experience.

[image: via Eli Christman on flickr]

About the Author:

Gerry Ellen

Gerry Ellen is an author, creative storyteller, and wellness advocate. She enjoys sharing her experiences of life, love, and all things meaningful and healthy through words and images. She is a regular contributor to MeetMindful, Be You Media Group, Tattooed Buddha, and Rebelle Society. As a former featured columnist on elephant journal and Light Workers World, she considers her love of nature and the outdoors, heart-centered connections, friends and family, and traveling to explore and expand as the epicenter of her world. She is extremely driven with her service work through 8 Paws Wellness with her dog, Scout. Gerry Ellen has authored and published two books, Ripple Effects (March 2012) and A Big Piece of Driftwood (April 2014), which are both available on


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