This image has been burning in my mind for the last few days – in fact, I can’t entirely erase the image from my head. It happened during yoga class. If you are a yoga virgin, let me explain that, in a class, there isn’t a lot of personal space. Your feet are inches from your neighbor’s head, it’s not uncommon to smack arms when doing a pose – and sometimes noses are precariously close to strangers’ asses. Getting the picture? Let me add to this image by telling you that I am NOT a foot person. I hate feet, but I also can’t help but look at them. I think it’s similar to driving past a car crash – you don’t want to look, lest you see something awful, but you can’t help yourself. When it comes to feet, I have the same problem.
So, the other day, I was in class and this young guy plops his mat in front of me. We move into Salabhasana (locust pose), his feet just inches from my head, when what do I notice…
grody feet!! Not just gross, the bottoms of this guy’s feet are peeling like a eucalyptus tree shedding its bark. I can’t tear my eyes away! I’m not talking about a little bit of dry cracked heel that can be cleaned up with the liberal use of a Ped Egg ® – I’m inches away from two entire soles shedding 2” thick pieces of yellowing sheath.
Forget about locust, I’m being plagued by something much more horrifying. I was dry heaving right there in class. You might be thinking, “Come on, give the guy a break – he can’t help it. There’s obviously something wrong.” Granted, he probably does have some medical condition, but perhaps he should think twice before revealing those tootsies in a public class – and perhaps he should be a bit more conscientious about where he’s shoving them? Spare me your medical issues.
But this isn’t the worst part. After my gag reflex had subsided, I noticed that he’s using a studio mat. Let me explain: most students bring their own mats. Your face, chest, feet, back and every other sweaty assorted body part touches your mat. The sanitary choice is to have your own. However, the studio also has communal mats that students can use. This is primarily for new students or when you forget your mat. The policy is that mat users should spray the mats after use with a sanitizer. The reality is that most students don’t. Once, I had to use a studio mat. Not only did it smell like the sweat of one hundred yogis, but I also caught a cold within a short time after my practice. I don’t think the studio ever cleans them. So, now I’m watching Fungus-Foot shed infected shingles of peeling skin all over a mat that will be used in the next class by some unsuspecting student – and the next student and the next. So disgusting. I’m getting ill just thinking about it.