I exhibited at the Brighton Yoga Festival last month and found myself questioning whether I am now a yoga groupie and whether there is such thing as a yogalebrity. I hadn’t even thought about this kind of terminology before or whether these terms exist, let alone think that I belong in the yoga groupie camp. Of course, Google and Wikipedia have the answers I was looking for.
Since I launched Bodhi Me, I have been getting to know more of the yoga community and I follow a number of them on Facebook and Instagram. Without realising this until after the exhibition, I found myself admiring them through these social media channels and over the past few months, I feel like I have built some sort of online relationship with them. In a very odd way to me, I feel like I know them. Of course in reality, I do not know them. I don’t know what their voice sounds like; I don’t know what their favourite tea is and so on but the fact that I see them on Instagram so often makes me feel like I know them.
So there was I at the Brighton Yoga Festival, looking forward to seeing the two London yoga teachers I have been following on Instagram for months. I didn’t have time to practise in any of the classes and workshops on the day. When they have already begun teaching, I found myself taking a sneak peek at a corner and I was fascinated. For a little while, I thought – wait a minute, this is just like most other vinyasa flow classes. One of the things I treasure most during yoga classes is that the teacher adjusts me. The two yoga teachers were doing just that, as well as going through postures with students, asking volunteers to go up, demonstrate and show other students techniques and alignments. I couldn’t watch them for very long but I made a point to my friend that I had to go and say hello when they have finished.
One thing led to another and before I knew it, I saw them walking right past my stand and on their way out. I told my friend that I had to go and say hello. So what did I do? I ran after them, shouted his name to which both yoga teachers turned around to look at me. Of course, they have never met me before and he looked at me curiously.
What I said: “Hello! I have been following you on Instagram.”
“Errrr… My name is Kitty.”
In my head: Oh no! Did that just happen? Did I really just say that? How embarrassing! How old am I?!!??!!!
I then told them both that I was looking forward to their class but didn’t get a chance to practise. I asked where they normally teach and they were so friendly that they invited me to one of their classes in the near future. In normal circumstances, I don’t think people will react the same way but they are yoga teachers. Given how I was when I met Kelly Jones from Stereophonics 2 years ago (where I failed to respond or speak or smile in front of him), I doubt they would have given me a hug when I left. Yet the two lovely yoga teachers gave me a hug before they said their goodbyes. I was too embarrassed to ask for a selfie, as much as it disappointed my friend who was helping me on the day.
Does this make me a yoga groupie?
Do yoga teachers who have a following on Instagram get strangers like me running up to them all the time? Do yoga teachers find that weird?
I must confess at this point that I have a slight soft spot for one of the yoga teachers at my yoga studio. Of course, it is purely a friendly teacher/student relationship and I have absolutely no intention on anything changing. I am no different from any other student in his class. I hadn’t been to his class for a while until a few weeks ago and wondered if he remembers my name. Shortly after class had started, I focused on my practice and checked in with myself on my breathing and alignment. When I was in my zone and it got to the triangle pose trikonasana where I have to bend my right knee to a 90 degrees angle, I checked in with myself and like previously, I am no longer able to get it to 90 degrees because my right knee felt sore and not quite right.
Funnily enough, he gently tapped on the top of my right thigh and said “Kitty, bend your knee more and sit further down.” Miraculously, I did it and my knee didn’t feel sore! I couldn’t believe it. I then dropped out of triangle half way through because I was initially smiling and then laughing at the hilarity of the situation. How has he tapping on my thigh stop my knee from feeling sore? Surely this can’t all be in my head! My chiropractor said that was due to my back and pelvis alignment!
Then there is the yoga teacher who I have only met a handful of times and I just know that I can never go to his class – ever. I have heard that he is an amazing teacher but going to his yoga class will do the complete opposite for my mind, body and spirit. My mind won’t stop thinking. I won’t be able to concentrate on my practice. My breathing will be short. I just know that I will be so conscious of my practice and trying to catch sight of him at the corner of my eye. It will just be absurd.
If you are a yoga teacher, do you spot the odd student who is just a little bit weird, giggles randomly but friendly? Do you get random strangers like me running up to you and speaking to you like they know you? Would you consider yourself a yogalebrity?
If you are a student like me, would you consider yourself a yoga groupie?
I would love to hear your stories.