While I usually keep these types of occurrences to myself (or just between me and Ben), I think that sometimes, it can be worth sharing the crazy things that happen in class so that other yogis can learn what not to do in a group yoga class--and so that fellow yoga teachers know that they're not alone in dealing with totally wacko + super distracting situations while teaching.
For instance, once, a few years ago, I had a male student who would wear really baggy shorts and no underwear. I don't think I need to get too detailed here, but suffice it to say that every time I had my students lift their leg in down dog, things fell out of his shorts that should have stayed in his shorts.
This didn't happen just once, and it was not inconspicuous. Anyone who looked his way would get QUITE the eye full--it was impossible not to see simply due to the fabric-to-body-part ratio involved. I quickly learned that when this student was in class, we just didn't lift our legs from down dog. Ever.
Similarly, the number of people who don't wear underwear yet have holes in the crotches of their pants is pretty shocking. Maybe I'm being a prude here (some teachers teach nude yoga, so maybe I need to loosen up?), but it's always pretty jarring to catch sight of a body part you weren't expecting to see in class while someone is in happy baby or supta baddha konasana.
Of course there are the normal things, too, the less shocking but definitely distracting: the students who come 30 minutes late and bang on the doors or windows of a locked studio, super angry that no one is letting them in despite being extremely late (some don't stop or take a hint until someone comes to talk to them, and that's always amazing to me). There are also the people who talk to their neighbors nonstop throughout class and don't seem to understand how distracting it is, or the people who do their own thing to the point where you wonder if they're drunk, high, or out of their minds...
And speaking of being high in yoga, I once had a student who came to class reeking of weed, so much so that I figured that she must have *just* smoked in the car on her way to class. Sure enough, when I went over to assist her, I saw a large blunt tucked behind her ear--just in case she needed to take a quick toke while practicing [as you do].
Of course, technology often plays a part in the moments that surprise me during class, but I think the worst technology issue I've witnessed happened when I first started teaching: about halfway through a pretty packed class, I noticed that there was an iPhone plugged into the wall on the side of the studio, being charged. Although I was slightly annoyed that there was a phone in the studio, especially since this studio had a "no cell phone" policy, I decided to let it go because there was no telling whose phone it was and I was in the middle of teaching.
But then the phone rang--loudly! And before I could get to it and silence it, a student [not new to yoga, I should mention] jumped up from her mat, ran across the studio towards the phone, and answered it IN CLASS. My jaw dropped.
I'm sure there are many more ridiculous, crazy moments from my classes over the years, but those are the ones that stand out to me when I take a quick moment to look back. Fellow teachers, what actions have left you most shocked while in the middle of teaching a class?
For those who get annoyed by the smaller distractions in class, here's an old post I wrote that I think you'll appreciate: 13 Frequently-Witnessed Yoga Class Distractions.
Also somewhat related but slightly different, here's another post you might have missed: Yoga Teacher Nightmares: A Top 10 List.