You cannot be serious

You cannot be serious!

Sometimes you can't help but giggle on the mat. By Diane Ashfield

I really love yoga. I adore all of my students and I take teaching very seriously, however I have the most ridiculously childish and silly sense of humour. Although I honestly do try my best to remain professional, cool, calm and collected, there are often times when I just can't help myself and erupt into fits of giggles. Here's my top five offenders:

  • Snoring
    We’ve probably all done it. Lying down on our backs and making ourselves nice and comfy for relaxation at the end of class, and then before we know it, we’ve nodded off. Now it’s not the actual snoring that makes me stifle a giggle, (even though sometimes it can be as loud as a pneumatic drill) it’s when the yogi realizes they were asleep and suddenly wakes up with a start, resulting in a series of rapid grunting that resembles the mating call of a European Wild Boar!
  • Breaking wind
    Again, hands up, we must all be guilty of doing this in class. It’s a natural bodily function to eliminate gas, so of course it’s something to be expected as we twist and contort our bodies. I usually don’t bat an eyelid – if the perpetrator ignores it and carries on as normal because I know that holding it can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful. It’s when the dealer of the said deed apologises profusely and then continues to do so for ten minutes blaming it on the curry they had last night, the French onion soup they had at lunchtime, the forward bend was too intense for their intestines, or even blaming it on the squeaky floorboards.
  • Chanting OM
    I absolutely adore chanting OM, it’s a magical feeling of the primordial sound vibrating around your body, and when chanted in a class with all the different ranges and harmonies, it can feel incredibly uplifting. So what gives me the giggles here? Well, sometimes there’s one person who decides to take the chant a step further by turning it into some sort of mini operetta. And don’t even bother trying this on Zoom – the loudest voice gets the spotlight, and this will inevitably be the wannabe opera singer!
  • Lion Pose (Simhasana)
    There’s a good reason why I don’t teach Lion Pose very often. Open wide and say “ahhh”. Yes, you’ve guessed it, sticking out your tongue and encouraging yourself to “roar” can have me in absolute fits! Such a shame because Simhasana is a wonderful pose to help release pent-up energies, open up the throat chakra Vishuddha and is especially great for the vocal chords, so I wish I could keep a straight face whilst practicing. Having said that, teaching Lion Pose on Zoom is fantastic as my students are on mute, so I can’t hear their roars, but their faces prompt me to save Simhasana for Christmas time – and only Christmas time – when we work on our vocal chords for carol singing.
  • My own jokes
    Of course, my own jokes are totally hilarious – to me! Naturally, I have a little chuckle to myself, but then sometimes whilst chuckling I take a sharp intake of breath which can make me snort like I’m a female wart hog answering the call of our resident snorer!

Yoga doesn’t have to be so deadpan serious, it’s all about feeling good! Usually, if I’m giggling, then everyone else is too – it’s infectious and contagious. Laughter is a great healer, it lightens our mood and brings us all together, creating a bond between everyone sitting on the mat. Laughing can help release built-up energy in just the same way as practicing Lion Pose, which, for certain reasons, we shall now be renaming Carol Singer’s Pose – a fabulous asana to recommend to any opera fan!


Diane Ashfield

Diane Ashfield (aka Yoga With Dash) is a British Wheel of Yoga instructor, teaching in the London Borough of Bromley.