jvanhouten

Dealing With Crowded Classrooms

68 posts in this topic

You know what, Jessica? That's actually some really good advice there! I will still try to avoid her but if something like that happens again I'll certainly try to make sure that one of us will have to move. Which doesn't mean I'm afraid for a rematch though  ;)

xJessicax likes this

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As Jasmine said, you guys went quite crazy on each other but I think it's better for both of you to avoid those situations altogether! Let's hope that rematch never happens! (but if it does, make sure you win  ;))

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Thank you guys for the support and advice! I felt a bit awkward telling the details of the whole thingy but it definitely paid off. Hopefully people won't be afraid to post their own awkward moments on this topic because I'm sure we're not alone!

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Don't worry about sharing the details, as yogafire said earlier, sometimes the details give us a better idea about something. Also, have you talked to her during more recent classes? I'm curious about the two of you now  :P​ 

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Don't make too big of a deal out of it, Jessica  ;) Yesterday we had a brief chat about some postures that we had trouble with, and ways to improve, so I told her about this forum. Who knows, maybe she'll be a new member one of these days! But overall it wasn't a lively conversation.

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I'm trying not to make a big deal out of it but it's so exciting! Personally I don't think suggesting this forum in particular was a good idea though... She might feel threatened by this very topic where you described the entire situation from your perspective  :mellow: But fingers crossed! I hope for the best  :D  

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I don't mind if she reads what I was thinking. She was part of it after all. And even if she does, maybe she'll tell her side of the story  ;) It was only one small incident though, it's not going to be confrontational at all. Plus, there are so many things to read on this forum!

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maybe she'll tell her side of the story  ;)

 

I'm going to be straightforward about this, this joke sounded pretty confrontational... I don't think the conversation should be going this way.

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I know I'm jumping into this thread really late, but my take is that:

  1. I would be a little put off by the foot thing
  2. My head would start to jump to the "what's her deal," etc. but then I would catch myself...
  3. and I would instantly drop any judgement regarding why what was happening was happening
  4. I would shift my foot away and get back to being present in my yoga and not on my neighbor

Ultimately, you don't know why she was doing what she was doing (simply being from the same country or even culture isn't enough to ascertain this), but even if you knew with absolute certainty that she was trying impress upon you that she was the class's alpha yogi, you really have two options: you can choose to be right, or you can choose to practice your yoga. Yoga isn't about the ego, and while it would be fabulous if everyone would simply follow the rules, it's obviously not the reality. When you find yourself in that space that you described - where the competitiveness comes in when your space feels violated - the simplest thing to do is to shift your foot over slightly and let it go, remembering the whole time the reason why you came to that yoga class. Hope your next class doesn't have a repeat of this dynamic!

yogafire and xJessicax like this

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KristiSmithYoga, thanks for your reply!

 

You are right, yoga is not about the ego and your arguments are very true. I'm not trying to find excuses to justify why I did not move, but if something similar is about to happen again, I will try to prevent it from happening rather than moving away from it. If the inevitable happens, I will try to swallow my pride, haha!

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she was trying impress upon you that she was the class's alpha yogi

 

Hahahaha, that's the funniest description for the incident I've read so far! But since the fight ended in a stalemate, it looks like we'll never know who was the true alpha  ;)

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I've been thinking about replying to this topic, but I was very hesitant. Before you wonder who I am, I'm "the other girl" from the incident. My name is Charlotte.

 

I read through the posts and I noticed that this thread was obviously very one-sided. @Jvanhouten, why did you bother suggesting this particular forum to me? Let me tell you my story because some things need to be settled here.

 

If your posts get quoted, it will be because I can answer directly to anything you thought about the incident. Here goes.

 

Hi everyone! Jessica here.

 

I have an anecdote to share that some of you guys might also be able to relate to.

 

We were going to practise a straddle split in a crowded room, as part of our routine. Everyone was trying to stagger with their neighbours. I looked at my neighbours and I noticed they were moving away, so I stayed put. I stood in a wide leg forward bend and started sliding down and pressing into my feet. At this point I wasn't paying attention to my neighbours anymore, but I noticed that as my split almost finished, I felt something rubbing against my foot.

 

I took a quick look and the girl at my right apparently had not staggered or she had moved back for some reason (I didn't notice this) and as you can probably guess by now, my right leg wasn't entirely stretched, and her left leg wasn't entirely stretched because our soles were pressing into each other. And I don't mean they were simply touching, there was some pressure because we both tried to stretch out.

 

We were indeed going to do a straddle split, so I was also looking at my neighbors. The person on my right didn't stagger, so I looked at my left (where Jessica was sitting) and I noticed that her neighbor had staggered. I was sitting slightly at the left of my yoga mat to avoid the person next to me, and I figured that Jessica would probably move a bit to the left as well, since her left side was unobstructed.

 

I reached back for my towel, and when I looked at my left I noticed that Jessica hadn't moved at all. So at that point I knew exactly what was going on. She was slightly closer to the right edge of her mat, and I was closer to the left edge of my mat. I decided not to move because she saw me close to her and had the space to move, but she didn't.

 

The thing is though that I thought my neighbour had moved, but for some reason she moved back. I don't know if she did it by accident or not, but even though our soles were clearly touching (it would seem hard NOT to notice it) she stubbornly stayed. As I said I don't mind accidental contact, but I believed that it wasn't my task to move in that situation and it felt very awkward (not only the physical contact of touching soles, but the entire scenario in general).

 

I'm sure that a lot of yoga practitioners have had the experience of going sole to sole with somebody else, but in that situation it was unnecessary and unexpected. By having this little clash over the foot space was my attempt to peacefully tell to my neighbour that she was intruding my personal space, but in the end it seemed to have backfired since we both were basically fighting with our feet for a few minutes.

 

As we went into the straddle, my left foot slid off my mat, and her right foot slid off her mat. There is no point in arguing about "personal space" because we both knew that there was not enough space between our mats for how we were sitting. My point here is that she had the opportunity to move but she didn't, but obviously the readers didn't know my side of the story.

 

I wonder if she was avoiding the person on the other side and she felt more comfortable going foot-to-foot with you as opposed to them? It really is a shame when it happens, I often can't stretch out even half as much as I feel I need because it's just too crowded. 

 

Oh when I said it's not very zen I mean when you're relaxed and stretching out and all of a sudden you feel a foreign foot on you  :lol:  I find it terribly distracting and I really look forward to getting back to postures where we stay on our own mats. I even hate my arms or legs touching someone else's mat or towel!!

 

Yes Jasmine, that's right. The person on my right didn't move, and had no reason to. But Jessica on the other hand could move wherever she wanted. It was certainly not unexpected, we were both very aware of what was going to happen.

 

Welcome to the forum!

 

It does seem like an overreaction when you could have readjusted instead of waiting for her to move, even though it would have interrupted your practice.  But I see how this is annoying because it sounded like an intentional invasion of space with no apology - you already saw her move out of your way before, and then she came back.

 

I can see it both ways - pushing without moving is a subtle hint for the other person to move, so it's infuriating to feel like each side is trying to intimidate the other into moving, but neither side is giving.  Or, perhaps not moving signifies that you are so inwardly focused, you don't mind pushing against someone else, and can use the other person as a prop to fully extend while you stretch (for example, my teacher holds out her hand for me to press my knee or foot against in some poses).  

 

Being inwardly focused can seem selfish - she may have been doing the latter, and she was unaware that she made you uncomfortable. I wonder if this is related to how different cultures vary on the distance they speak face-to-face, so maybe she's from a culture where her personal space is smaller than others, so physical contact with a stranger is no big deal.

 

A suggestion for not letting it bother you - I've learned recently I get upset if I have high expectations for something to happen, and once I let go of the expectation, I let go of the anger or stress associated with it.  In this situation, if you don't want to get distracted and continue with your own practice, you can let go of any expectations for her to move away, and then it might be easier to accept personal space intrusion in a crowded class.

 

As for my own experience, I usually touch fingers and whack my neighbors by accident when doing sun salutations , so I modify by keeping my arms close together - it doesn't feel the same of course. I suppose some compromises just need to happen when it's crowded - I don't think you need to avoid crowded classes unless those compromises interrupt your practice too much.

 

I don't think you need to be more aware of people - you saw her move already first.  She probably needs to be more aware of others, but you can't control her, so instead, don't hold such high expectations for her to be as aware as you are - she might not be that evolved in her practice just yet.

 

I hope you can see from my point of view that I was not intruding her personal space. I do agree with you that I should have expected less, or that I should've taken action. But in this case I knew what Jessica was up to, and I did not want to let her get away with it.

 

You could argue that wiggling your toes against a stranger's foot is intimate too, especially if she answers you with a toe wiggle. If I were an unaware spectator, I might even think the both of you were playing footsies  ;)

 

I'm trying not to make a big deal out of it but it's so exciting! Personally I don't think suggesting this forum in particular was a good idea though... She might feel threatened by this very topic where you described the entire situation from your perspective  :mellow: But fingers crossed! I hope for the best  :D  

 

Though I disagree with your animosity about our "fight" (I agree with jvanhouten that you definitlely should not get excited about something annoying). You are right. I was hesitating to reply to this topic, but here I am. I thought it would be appropriate to share my experience.

 

I know I'm jumping into this thread really late, but my take is that:

  1. I would be a little put off by the foot thing
  2. My head would start to jump to the "what's her deal," etc. but then I would catch myself...
  3. and I would instantly drop any judgement regarding why what was happening was happening
  4. I would shift my foot away and get back to being present in my yoga and not on my neighbor

Ultimately, you don't know why she was doing what she was doing (simply being from the same country or even culture isn't enough to ascertain this), but even if you knew with absolute certainty that she was trying impress upon you that she was the class's alpha yogi, you really have two options: you can choose to be right, or you can choose to practice your yoga. Yoga isn't about the ego, and while it would be fabulous if everyone would simply follow the rules, it's obviously not the reality. When you find yourself in that space that you described - where the competitiveness comes in when your space feels violated - the simplest thing to do is to shift your foot over slightly and let it go, remembering the whole time the reason why you came to that yoga class. Hope your next class doesn't have a repeat of this dynamic!

 

I hope that from my perspective, you can see that I was certainly not the one trying to act 'alpha' although I was standing my ground. So yes, I too think I should have let it go but I chose to be right.

 

I'm sorry for the long post, many quotes and maybe you might not take the time to read through, but here's my story. I'm not here to argue or quarrel with anyone, but there were a lot of things that needed to be cleared out.

 

All feedback is allowed.

xJessicax and yogafire like this

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Hi charly4491, welcome to the forum. I'm sad to hear that this topic ruined your mood, but I would like you to know that you are a very brave person for posting this reply. It's not easy to jump into a one sided topic like this to prove some points but having your perspective definitely shines a new light over the whole situation.

 

I do have a question to both of you (jvanhouten and charly4491): if you knew what was going to happen, why didn't either of you talk to each other before actually going in the straddle? It seems like you're both annoyed and embarrassed by the situation while you could've perfectly avoided it altogether.

 

You both wanted to make a point, but you were aware that you had contrary ideas. That doesn't seem like a situation you would voluntarily jump into.

I hope you guys make up and don't fight during future yoga classes.

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xJessicax, thank you for your reply. Again I cannot disagree with you on the fact that everything was avoidable, but this is shutting the stable door after the horse had bolted. We could argue endlessly about what we could have done, but it won't change anything.

 

To be frank, when our feet touched we both knew that neither would be backing off, and I didn't want to let her get away with this kind of selfish behavior. I didn't expect the fight to escalate to the extent that our toes would interlock, but in the moment it was part of proving my point.

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I understand, Charlotte. At least that clears out a lot of things, and now that you got acquainted with Jessica, I bet these misunderstandings won't happen again  :)

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Welcome to the forum, Charlotte!

 

It's great that you shared your perspective, but I was hoping you would understand what was going on inside my head too. Sure there was some miscommunication, but you make it sound like I was provoking you on purpose. I definitely didn't mean to and we talked about this. But I understand that you came here to tell your story, and now that that's done I think it's up to us to become better people. I know a lot of readers of the topic might be confused about the whole fight because after all, there's a lot of new details but in the end it was a big mess.

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Thanks Jessica, I think this forum is great and I'm glad you told me about it.

 

I made it sound like you were provoking me because "from my point of view" you were. Not that I meant that it was actually the case  ;)

The readers might be confused but at least now that they know both perspectives they can judge differently about the incident as you call it. It was a very big mess indeed and I'm glad we can talk about it so freely in this forum.

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I'm glad you like it. I do hope the readers give feedback, it would be awkward if it was just us talking here, wouldn't it  :)

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Honestly I can't tell if you ladies have made up, or are still arguing right now... But now that you both admitted that you weren't afraid to confront each other, how would you describe the experience of a foot fight? I don't understand how you were trying to "win" but I'm curious what you were actually trying to do to win.

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Jessica, you keep asking stuff like that but honestly there's nothing left to say about the fight. I tried to push her away but our toes locked together and I rolled with it. Then we changed positions, the end.

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xJessicax, I don't know what you're trying to achieve by asking that, but to me, the foot fight was all about getting Jessica to move away. I was trying to make our touch as awkward as possible so when she started pushing her toes into mine, I decided to push her back. Eventually as Jessica said we were wrestling with our toes and some got interlocked. At that point there I wasnt thinking of backing off, so I kept going and so did Jessica. When we fully interlocked, we clenched our toes until we had to change postures, as Jessica mentioned earlier.

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Jessica, you keep asking stuff like that but honestly there's nothing left to say about the fight. I tried to push her away but our toes locked together and I rolled with it. Then we changed positions, the end.

 

So first you describe every single detail that some people perhaps didn't want to know, but now suddenly there's nothing left to be said, but that's good. You're getting over it and so should I so I'm sorry. It just seems that you ladies are still arguing over nothing on this forum.

 

xJessicax, I don't know what you're trying to achieve by asking that, but to me, the foot fight was all about getting Jessica to move away. I was trying to make our touch as awkward as possible so when she started pushing her toes into mine, I decided to push her back. Eventually as Jessica said we were wrestling with our toes and some got interlocked. At that point there I wasnt thinking of backing off, so I kept going and so did Jessica. When we fully interlocked, we clenched our toes until we had to change postures, as Jessica mentioned earlier.

 

I wasn't trying to achieve anything by asking that. Seeing how you joined the conversation I was just curious about how you experienced it. But I should shut up about the fight altogether. Even though it looks to me that you girls are still opposing each other I hope everything will be fine between the two of you. There's no point in trying to impress people on a forum when you're both being bitter and not apologising. I'm sure most readers will think of it this way.

 

We don't actually care about who was going to win or whatever, and we aren't going to pick sides. All I can say is that there were a bunch of people genuinely worried about that nasty situation and they've given you some great advice. Picking on each other on a forum wasn't exactly part of the advice.

brenskip55 likes this

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I can see both points of view and can see that it was an honest misunderstanding on both parts :) I guess the difficult thing in crowded classrooms, apart from "you might have to stagger" there's not really any other sort of formal etiquette we're supposed to follow and it can be hard to work out the best way of positioning ourselves for everyone's benefit. I sometimes even find that I'm trapped between the people in front as well as behind AND next to me. Last night I almost sat positions out because I didn't want to end up on my neighbours mat entirely!  

yogafire and xJessicax like this

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Hi there Jessica! It seems as though Charly and Jvanhouten have come to an understanding and it is nice that they had this platform to maturely discuss what they experienced in their yoga class.

I think we should move on from this conversation and not drum up more questions or reasons for what happened. Thanks for your understanding. Greg

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