Stop Overthinking and Show Up Instead
I think about white women who do yoga a lot. I don’t mean this in a fetish sense: I mean this very quizzically.
This isn’t a think-piece about the cultural blindness that comes when an ancient Eastern spiritual art gets recontextualized and reappropriated as a fashionable fitness craze. No, that’s been done before, and it’s been done better. But I would like to discuss what people get out of it.
More than 90 percent of people come to yoga for flexibility, stress relief, health, and physical fitness. But, for most people, their primary reason for doing yoga will change. Two-thirds of yoga students and 85 percent of yoga teachers have a change of heart regarding why they do yoga — most often changing to spirituality or self-actualization, a sense of fulfilling their potential. Yoga offers self-reflection, the practice of kindness and self-compassion, and continued growth and self-awareness.
It’s interesting to see this laid out in so few words, in a Western context, and juxtapose the practice of yoga with its roots. The modern mystics appear to be finding the same sort of peace, flexibility, enlightenment, purity, and spiritual growth as was intended — in spite of largely whitewashing and westernizing the practice from its origins.
I am going to use this — sure, why not? — as a framework to talk about how people can get more out of life, despite a bunch of other people — ahem, people like me — looking at them and wondering why we think they’re doing it all wrong. In the meantime, I’m going to unearth some embarrassing nuggets from my past.
I Was A Poser Who Did I Was Told
I remember the day I hit the eject button on the first iteration of my life: April 1, 2001.
See, up until that day, I questioned nothing. I knew who I was. I knew what I wanted. I believed in the Catholic father, son, and holy spirit. I adhered to the Ten Commandments. I knew I would attend Syracuse University. I wanted to be a sportscaster. I had the idyllic high school sweetheart…