Yoga is a personal journey of introspection and self-discovery. Yoga within a studio environment, though, also encompasses an element of community. This is a remarkable juxtaposition. We are a group of individuals unifying in a space of respect and honor. I find this to be the most cohesive way to practice because as we discover our inner peace, we immediately have the opportunity to begin emanating that peace and respect toward others around us. Most students seem to have an instinctive understanding of this interplay between the personal yoga experience and the communal respect for the group, but sometimes, That Guy makes an appearance.
That Guy fails to grasp the magnificence of the community trust that is curated in the studio. I used to get annoyed at That Guy for disrupting the mojo of the room, but then, instead of allowing my annoyance to be fed by the irksome behaviors of That Guy, I determined that I could use those moments as learning opportunities to further my understanding of how one’s actions can affect others.
One item of note is the fact that yoga mats make a surprisingly loud noise when dropped from three feet above the floor. Another observation is that not only is a latecomer late, but the last available spot is usually front and center in the room, which means maneuvering through and bothering students who have already begun their practice. Having borne witness, I see that going rogue in class implies a disregard for the teacher’s credibility and creates a distraction that prevents other students from enjoying their poses. Further perception leads me to understand that the wisdom we impart on children should be generalized and applied to adulthood, such as the inevitability that an open cup of water on the floor next to the mat will get knocked over.
In my early observations of That Guy, I used to shake my head and be ever so appreciative of my own sense of awareness. In the process of pondering my great social tact, however, it dawned on me that there must be ways in which I am not aware. That means…there are times when…I AM THAT GUY!
From here on out, That Guy has a special place in my heart because every encounter with That Guy is a memento, a reminiscence, of humanity’s collective imperfection! As I embrace the challenge of awakening my awareness, I know That Guy is on the same journey. So, here’s to you, That Guy, for reminding me how easy it is to be unaware. Thank you for humbling me.
— Ammie Kinsman