Dear Philly Yoga Instructors: Please Don’t Make Me Touch Sweaty Strangers




A tip: When you’re in a yoga class and the instructor prefaces the next move by saying, “We’re all sweaty here,” run. Just run. Because this, my friends, is what instructors say right before they ask you to get up close and personal with a stranger who, like you, is so shiny they look like they’ve been buttered up — literally.

How do I know? Because I’ve been there. Picture this: I am standing up, trying to catch a stranger’s legs as they propel themselves into a dolphin handstand, but my hands keep slipping because said stranger is sweaty. Really, really sweaty. And I’m not helping, because as I look down at them, positioning myself for another attempt at helping them land the pose, I see a droplet of my sweat land on their yoga mat, smack dab in between their hand and the Lululemon logo. And you know why I’m in this situation? Because I didn’t run when I heard those words.

At the tail end of a 90-minute hot yoga class, the instructor said to all us students, “We’re all sweaty here.” Then he told us to grab a partner. Me and the woman next to me looked at each other — our faces both the color of perfectly ripe tomatoes and dripping — and with eyes that said, “I’m so, so, SO sorry you have to touch me right now,” we worked on our dolphin handstands. It was, in a word, gross.

And I know, I know, everyone sweats. And other people sweating really isn’t gross at all. But like I don’t want to touch anyone else’s, say, eye boogers — or any other liquid-y substance that comes from their body, for that matter — I don’t really want to touch anyone else’s sweat. And judging by the fact that everyone I’ve told this story to has made the same face you make when you see a person sneeze on someone else on the subway, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who cringes at the thought of getting handsy with a very-sweaty stranger.

So please, yoga instructors — and all fitness instructors actually — unless you’re teaching acro yoga (those people knew what they were getting themselves into when they signed up), please stop making me and everyone else in the world who enjoys getting their sweat on touch each other’s slimy bodies. Swapping sweat with strangers has to be my biggest pet peeve when it comes to group fitness classes — and we all have ‘em. Be Well Philly editor Emily’s is people chatting nonstop during group classes (she wrote all about how much it irks her here), and we’re sure you all have plenty of pet peeves to add to the pot. So we have to ask: What’s your biggest fitness class pet peeve? Scream ’em out in the comments and consider it catharsis.

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