Most of you reading this probably have heard of “manspreading”, a term first coined by women riding the subway in NYC.
If you haven’t heard manspreading CLICK THIS LINK for a short description.
The idea for this article hit me like a train a couple days ago when I was in class – “MANSPREADING” EXISTS IN YOGA – and it’s not just the men – it’s women too. So I will call it “(wo)manspreading”.
Think of the last time you walked into a crowded yoga studio. All of the mats are lined up side by side and the classroom is almost full. There would be a few spaces available if it wasn’t for Ms. Womanspreader stretching all over the place. Her legs stretched 3 feet from her mat, her arms circling overhead with gusto, her gaze focused or maybe even eyes closed with out a clue to the fact that she’s taking up 3 spaces with her left arm alone.
You guys know what I mean, right?!?
There are also men that are guilty of this. One used to be a regular in my yoga class. He was tall, very muscular, with a serious expression that I never once saw turn into a grin. He had a very intense presence and would stretch before class intruding into the space of anyone within 360 degrees of his mat. When the room was full I would watch the faces of people walking in late, full of terror that they had to be next to him and avoid his swinging arms and legs throughout the next hour!
Now I get it, trust me, I like my space. I’ve been guilty of (wo)manspreading before. In fact, I caught myself doing it a few days ago when I thought of the idea for this article. I want to be able to swan dive down during my Sun A or rock side to side in happy baby without assaulting my neighbor.
But, damn it, we need to share this space!
I’ve come to the conclusion that you should not go to a yoga studio if space is THAT important to you. If you choose to go to a studio you will need to get comfortable with the fact that other people will be in close proximity. In actuality, one of the best things about going to a yoga class is sharing the energy and space with other people. It creates a sense of unity and oneness and we build off each other’s energies. If we didn’t want to be around people we could watch YouTube yoga videos at home.
We are all in it together.
As Yogis, we all have a connection and dedication to our practice that we don’t want to miss out on. We must make space, PHYSICAL SPACE, for others to enjoy their practice too.
It is an intimidating moment to walk into a full yoga studio and try to find a place for your mat. Even if you arrive 20 minutes early, the person showing up last minute still deserves a place. They probably had a stressful day and just got out of traffic and are grateful to be entering the yoga studio, even if they are late. In fact, even if their day was all rainbows and butterflies, guess what?! They still deserve a space. So be understanding that they are humans too. We can make space for each other and ALL enjoy the benefits of our yoga practice together.
Next time you find yourself in a crowded yoga studio (or bus/train/bar/traffic/etc…) I encourage you to make space for others. Only take the space you NEED and share the rest. Your neighbors will be thankful and you might even get a warm fuzzy feeling for having helped them out!
A former (wo)manspreader.