With a grouchy, tight feeling akin to heartburn mounting in my chest with each pose, I was thinking hard about walking out of the yoga class.

In 11 years of yoga, I'd never walked out of a class. I was hating this class, but I also hated the idea of leaving: What could be less namaste than bolting out in a stress-ball flurry? And the message to the yoga teacher -- your yoga class sucks -- is selfish slap I didn't want to perpetrate.

This was the discourse that ran rampant in my head after I'd rushed to my usual noon class with my joyful teacher Steph and discovered upon arrival that Steph wasn't there.

"Who's teaching the class?" I'd asked the woman behind the front counter when I walked in. My eyes squinted in suspicion.

"I am," the woman stated, looking back at me blankly after scanning my card.

Hrmph. I didn't know who she was. She was the blank yogi. What mattered was that she wasn't Steph, and she didn't have Steph's happy-yogi energy.

This made me pissy.

I unrolled my mat anyway. But poor blank yogi didn't stand a chance. I'd already made up my mind about her, and though my body bitterly down-dogged and up-dogged, my head and heart were already out the door.

There might be a 12:30 class at the Yoga Pod, I thought, and maybe if I left now, I could catch it. And when I should walk out? After a sun salutation? Could I sneak out when blank yogi isn't looking?

Also: Could I stop my internal bitching for just one yoga pose, or cut her some slack?


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Like most fantasies, this one ended better in my head than in reality. Blank yogi was in the back of the room when I stalked out. Ashamed, I couldn't look her in the eye. I just forged ahead for the door.

Outside, I still felt pissy, and there was no 12:30 class at Yoga Pod. Blank yogi wasn't my kind of teacher, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I should've been a big enough yogi to namastay in her class anyway.

--Jenn Fields