The Yoga Scene

Can someone tell me when yoga became so ridiculously trendy?? I guess I have known it was hot for quite some time now, considering there was a yoga class available at my gym way back in 2002, when it was known as AC Fitness, or no-AC Fitness as we no-so-affectionately dubbed it during the not-so-bearable North Carolina summers. And this was before hot yoga had caught on in that part of the country so it wasn’t in any way stylish, it was just hot, damp and miserable. But the point is, although I mostly live under a rock, I knew yoga was gaining popularity, however I had not realized to what extent until now.

So what happened was, it was Monday night and for some reason I was hell-bent on going to yoga. I think the last time I went to yoga was sometime last year but the yoga bug bit me hard and I just had to get my Om on and it had to be Monday. I got to the gym at 5:49 for the 6:00 class only to find the gym was closed for renovations. I was frustrated, but only briefly for I live in one of the most crunchy-chic towns in the U.S. (yeah, crunchy chic, I just made that up). I knew that somewhere within a 2 mile radius there had to be a yoga studio with a 6:00 class. So I booked it over to Core Power Yoga because I knew exactly where it was and it was close.

It turned out to be the Chili’s of yoga studios. Like, it’s not bad, the price is reasonable, there’s one in every major city, but why would you go there when you could go to a unique little venue with local flavor? Like when I was in high school my friends and I loved Chili’s. It was open late, we liked the chicken fajitas, there was bottomless diet cokes, and we liked the ambiance but we didn’t really know any better. I suspect I would have really liked Core Power Yoga when I was in high school.

Except at that time there was no such thing as Core Power Yoga and no one I knew did yoga at all except me and my mom. On Monday nights we would go to this lady Joan’s yoga class, which we heard about through my dad’s cousin, who is a bird-watching, peace-loving, women’s health activist type of person. In 1995 the way to find a yoga class was by asking this sort of person, for there was no world wide web, and your YMCA class schedule was not going to include yoga. The class was held on the third floor of a three family house. There was no big shiny sign out front, it was just a space our teacher, Joan, rented for her classes. Joan reminded me of mother earth, if mother earth were a person. I was the youngest person there, and my mom was quite possibly the second youngest. We wore sweatpants or cotton lycra leggings and t-shirts. The room was comfortably warm but not hot.

So like what happened in the last 15 years??? I show up at yoga and takes me several laps around the parking lot to finally find a spot and then I walk into the studio and this girl at the cash register is telling me I can go to some Vinyasa class in studio A or Yoga Sculpt in studio B. I pick Yoga Sculpt because it starts at 6:15 instead of 6:00 which allows me to change without being late. Then the girl tries to introduce me to the teacher of the class and she’s like “Cool Yoga Dude, this is Pam, and she has never been here before!” Cool Yoga Dude totally ignored cash register girl which was awkward. She tried again and he vaguely nodded, never taking his eyes off whatever it was he was doing at that moment. She was like “Men totally can’t multi-task!” I smiled and nodded, as I can’t say I disagree. I changed in the locker room which was a total mob scene however they had mouthwash in big pump bottles with little disposable cups, which was cool.

I was astounded by all the skinny little women whom I would have classified as gym rats were we in a gym. I guess the more appropriate term would be yoga rat? That sounds weird though. Anyway, I am observing all these hot young yoga rats and I am like “What is up with all these Lululemon’ed girls??” It looked like a yoga sorority. And then when I paused to stop thinking judgmental thoughts I remembered I was wearing my unbelievably-awesome-worth-every-I-am-not-even-going-to-say-how-many-dollars-I-spent-on-them-because-my-mother-is-reading-this-and-she-would-have-a-cow-if-she-knew-but- they-are-reversible-so-it-is-like -having-two-pair-of-pants-and-they-make-my-ass-look-perfect-Lululemon Pants. And I remembered that I was in a sorority.

Anyway, I got to the class and looked around and saw everyone but me had a cool looking thin towel over their mat. I figured it was a style thing. Meanwhile, Cool Yoga Dude was standing at the front of the room shirtless, with this hairstyle like none I have ever seen before. He had super short hair except for a braid sticking out of the middle/top of his head. He didn’t participate in the class, he just told us what to do. Between shivasanas and chatarangas I saw him go over to the thermostat and crank it way up. Soon my yoga mat was a big puddle of sweat. It resembled more of a slip and slide than a yoga mat and I realized why everyone else had those towels. While I looked around to make fully sure I was truly the only person without a towel, I noticed I was one of the oldest people in the class. I realize I live in a college town, but aren’t college students supposed to be busy studying or partying? If I were a college student in 2010 I would probably be too busy stalking my crushes on Facebook and Twitter to make it to yoga class.

Anyway, class was good, I left so sweaty I felt as though I had taken a shower with my clothes on and I think I opened up some shakras. It just made me miss the class I used to take with my mom back when yoga wasn’t even cool. Or maybe I just missed being the youngest instead of one of the oldest.

3 thoughts on “The Yoga Scene

  1. Jonathan Rubin says:

    Great post, Pam. Dianna and I went to a Bikram yoga class a few months ago. I’ve done that before, but I was feeling kinda sick and the heat was up so high I almost passed out.And you are SO right about the beauty contests in that place. No one wears anything comfortable unless it’s skin tight and form fitting as hell. I have no idea what the Lululululue pants are you’re talking about, but I bet everyone had one.It was a weird experience, because instead of feeling at peace I most feel hate towards the instructor who told me to “relax” when I said I was having difficulty breathing, and envy towards the crowd of people in much, much better shape than I was in. I felt a little better when I thought that they, too must have been suffering, but they sure didn’t look unhappy. I bet I made them feel VERY happy, actually – the low hanging fruit that got squashed 🙂

  2. Pam says:

    Jon- I hear you… But don’t give up on yoga altogether! There are good studios that aren’t pretentious, you just have to find them. There is a great place if you are back in RI for a visit… it is called Eyes of the World ( and it is so great.

  3. Yoga Teacher Training says:

    It is surprising how popular hot yoga has become. One of the reasons why is probably because of the many health benefits it has. Even after just one class, the student will feel the difference, and with regular practice, results are obtained.

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