A lot of embarrassing things can happen in yoga class. Yesterday, I experienced something that was absolutely mortifying. After about half and hour or so into the class, I realized that I stank to all hell, and soon people around me were gagging and dying from my stench.
This is a very embarrassing thing to admit, of course, but I have a few reasons for choosing to write about it today. First, it wasn’t my fault! I’ve never had any problem with B.0., so I was very surprised when I realized the horrid smell in class was coming from me. But I discovered, much to my dismay, that the shirt I was wearing, a relatively new Lululemon shirt, smelled like rotting trash. And this only got worse as I heated up. Even though the shirt was just cleaned in the wash, I think something happened over the course of the previous five times I’ve worn the shirt, and (sorry to be gross, but this is the only way to describe it) I suspect that the shirt has turned into a rotting bacteria rag.
Unfortunately for me, and for everyone else in class, I didn’t realize this until we were halfway through the flow. I hoped and prayed that no one else could smell the rotting Lululemon shirt on me, but there’s just no way to keep a smell like that contained.
So, the point of my posting is to say a few things. First, after using and wearing Lululemon clothes for the past few months, I can’t help but give their (men’s) clothing two thumbs down. I have a lot of complaints about their clothing (and their company), but this last incident with the rotting shirt is just too much. I can feel when I wear their shirts that they do not breathe at all. I get hot really fast, and there’s literally air trapped between the shirt and my skin. It’s like wearing a plastic bag on your body while trying to do yoga. Imagine if you wore that same plastic bag over and over… Even if you don’t have B.O., the bag is going to STINK!
Also, I want to talk briefly about the general and embarrassing issue of odors in yoga class. Yes, people have gas in yoga class. Yes, people have B.O. Yes, some people wear tons of perfume to yoga. Yes, people can have stinky feet. As the room gets hot, these smells are often exacerbated, and can often cause considerable distraction. So what to do? Well, if you are the one creating the stink (like me, yesterday), keep in mind that if you take a yoga class, you will be in a room with potentially lots of other people. Don’t eat before class. Don’t douse yourself with perfume. Don’t wear a shirt that is a rotting bacteria rag. Maybe wash your feet before coming to class, or wear sandals instead of shoes.
If you’re the one bothered by the smell, well, try your best to deal with it. Yoga is about freeing ourselves from our senses, so to speak, and to learn to tolerate all kinds of stimuli, both negative and positive. We are trying to break ourselves of our strong attachment to our bodies and our sensory experiences. If there’s a loud noise outside the yoga studio, burning in our legs as we hold Warrior II, or a nasty smell coming from the person next to us, these are all opportunities for us to do yoga–i.e. to keep a clear and steady mind in the face of external challenges.
Of course, it’s pretty darn hard to “breathe deeply” when the guy next to you smells like rotting trash. So my apologies to anyone who may have been disturbed yesterday. You’ll be glad to know that I threw my Lululemon shirt in the garbage, where it belongs.