Yoga & Fitness

40 (Mostly Hilarious) Things Only People Who Practice Yoga Understand

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Something changes when you begin to practice yoga. Actually, a lot of things change when you practice yoga. Sometimes subtle and sometimes glaring, these altered perspectives usually cause you to experience yourself as well as everyone and everything around you a little—or a lot—differently. Whatever these changes, they can’t help but spill over into how you show up to life. That’s exactly the intent behind yoga.

Not that there’s anything wrong with preaching to your girlfriends how backbends will make them more open to life or closing your eyes and chanting to yourself during an argument, but we tend to become so accustomed to these changes that we forget it’s not how we’ve always been. Nor is it how most people act. And that’s okay. But sometimes we need a reminder that what may seem perfectly normal to you but miiiiiight seem a little surprising to anyone hasn’t spent any time on the mat.

40 Things Only People Who Practice Yoga Understand

Maybe you…

1. Stretch a little too dramatically while in line at the grocery store or airport

2. Tell your family to “just breathe” every 5 minutes.

That feeling when the teacher has you in Forearm Plank and says “5..4…3…3…3…3.” (Photo: Logan Weaver | Unsplash)

3. Experience trust issues because of teachers who lie about there being only 5 more breaths left in Forearm Plank

4. Care a little too much about placing your mat in the back row, on the left, third position from the wall

5. Find yourself unknowingly shifting into a cross-legged sitting situation during Zoom meetings

6. Obsess about foot-borne diseases after walking through a puddle of someone else’s sweat following class

7. Know what phase the Moon is in or that Mercury is in retrograde simply by overhearing students and teachers at the studio

8. Ask yourself, “Are you overdressed for the hot yoga class?” (Yes. The answer is always yes.)

9. Know the irony of rushing to make it to class on time only so you can hear your teacher tell you to slow down throughout your practice. Every damn time.

10. Have a tendency to plop down on the floor in a way that isn’t typically sanctioned in social settings

11. Believe that your Spotify “top songs” playlist is NOT a completely weird mashup of ambient forest sounds and chanting monks alongside Dua Lipa and Beyoncé

12. Turn your head and instinctively look upward under your arm whenever you’re on the subway or airport shuttle and reach for that strap dangling from the ceiling

13. Engage ujjayi breath in public and freak people out a little because they think you sound like Darth Vader

14. Get a little overly sentimental when the teacher kindly walks close to you and whispers “Your other right side” rather than announce it in front of the entire class

15. Drop into a squat—on the subway, in a coffee shop, at a clothing store—because your hips desperately need a stretch in that moment

16. Have a sweat towel preference and can recite the difference in sweat absorption rates among chamois and terry and cotton and lycra

17. Know the soul-crushing despair of your last work meeting running late and ruining any chance of you slipping away to class

18. Stretch while you binge-watch your shows

19. Realize that you consider jeans to be dress-up clothes because you haven’t worn anything besides leggings since 2019

20. Rely on a self-care routine that’s an inexact algorithm of yoga, meditation, and screaming obscenities

21. Obsess more than the average person about whether your hips are abnormally tight

22. Consider anyone who replies, “Of course we can reschedule, go to yoga,” to be potential soulmate material

23. Feel like you’re left wanting Savasana whenever you take an exercise class at the gym

24. Scream—sometimes silently, sometimes not—when your favorite teacher has arranged for a sub, gone away on vacay, or inexplicably disappeared from the class schedule

25. Find that certain cell phone rings, wind chimes, and doorbells trigger a Savasana response

Traffic jam with cab taillights and trucks ahead on a narrow city street
That feeling when you’re sitting in traffic white-knuckling the steering wheel and you suddenly remind yourself you can breathe. (Photo: Kevin Lee | Unsplash)

26. Freak out when you’re stuck in traffic, having a disagreement, or at the dentist…and then remind yourself to breathe

27. Find yourself un-ironically asking “have you tried lavender essential oil yet?”

28. Rely on your breath to warm you outside during winter by practicing Kapalabhati (Skull-Shining Breath)

29. Understand that “yoga math” means no matter how many minutes you practice in a day, it’ll make all the minutes that follow more bearable

30. Forget to wipe down your mat  for 24 classes straight even though you walk past the bottle of cleaning solution and towels each time you go to the studio

31. Feel the futility of trying to find Warrior 1 hips

32. Get a little weepy when the hotel website boasts “free yoga” but you later learn that means there’s a cheap mat in the exercise room that hasn’t been wiped down in years

33. Realize that meditation isn’t so scary

34. Talk about your “moon flow” rather than “that time of the month”

35. Think it’s an unquestionably reasonable thing to dedicate years of your life to learning how to balance on your hands

36. Understand that yoga stoned is very much a thing

37. Remind yourself “it’s a practice not a performance” (not just in terms of yoga, actually, but everything in life)

38. Experience the challenge of engaging in a significant conversation with someone within an hour of Savasana

39. Understand the subtle differences among five identical pairs of black leggings

40. Know, on a very deep level, that it’s not just about the shape

Additional Contributors: Carrie Bell; Yogi Bryan; Rachel Land; Jenny Clise; Erin Deeley; Chris Keyes; Sierra Shafer; Jamie Aranoff.

RELATED: 10 Myths About People Who Practice Yoga 

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