2. Nina's Musings

The Yoga Octopus


Thank Goodness I’m not a Yoga Octopus!

People often think that Yoga teachers are these really chilled, relaxed, unfazed, unfrazzled and enlightened beings… Needless to say, they couldn’t be further from the truth if they tried. So, sorry to break your image of your Yoga teacher and friend, but I would just like to tell you that she or he is just as normal as the next person, the only thing that they might have going for themselves is that they might be MORE aware of their reactions and responses, (but it might not actually change the fact that there could be a reaction!).

With that said, us Yoga teachers, go through good times, we go through bad times, we can get angry, frustrated and pissed off just like any other person – we are not immune to emotions!!! (If you do not believe me, then your Yoga teacher may not actually be human after all, and you should approach with caution!!!).


So, when I’m in one of these less than ideal states, my students know all about it because they refer to my Yoga class as the octopus class. In other words, my fairly gentle and relaxed Integral Hatha Yoga classes, (which I am happy to admit that I manage to teach more regularly than my octopus classes), become a little more intense. We hold things a little longer, we go a little deeper and I may throw in one or two additional challenging postures just for the hell of it. And so, after a stringing together of a couple of hip openers and leg strengthening postures, they wobble, grunt and groan as they know they’ve got to do all of that on the other side as well. My unsympathetic reply to their squeaking and squealing is; “Just be glad you’re not an octopus, otherwise you’d be doing this 8 times over!”

So the next time your yoga teacher seems to be giving you an ‘octopus Yoga class’ it is a reminder to you that she too is normal and not immune to the craziness we come across in this world.

Here’s to a happy, healthy, octopus-free week.




ninanavasanaprepNina Saacks, founder of Yoga Awakening Africa, Integral Hatha Yoga Teacher and Teacher Trainer, believes that health equals balance in life, enjoying what you do and doing what you enjoy, and to never take yourself too seriously!

Octopus Illustration: Celeste Beckerling