It’s 21st June and if your feed isn’t filled with people twisted and contorted in various poses because it is International Yoga Day, then – let’s talk because I want to know who you’re following- and maybe I need to rethink all my life choices. A lot of people love yoga and the benefits are obviously immense – you’re more flexible, your back isn’t giving up on you and you get bragging rights when you ace a pose. And they will say people who don’t like yoga are haters. I am that. I am the hater. Okay, perhaps a hater is a very strong term. My feelings towards yoga are more lukewarm. I am not convinced that this is my yellow brick road to peace and calmness. I am not denying the immeasurable benefits of yoga for people, it simply doesn’t work for me.
Now before you come at me with your asanas and meditation, hear me out. I have tried yoga. I tried it with different gurus, different places and the many versions of it. Each time, I walked into the class convinced that I would be able to find my balance and align my energies in this attempt. I would go all the way – buy the yoga pants so the people around me are not accidentally flashed, invest in a yoga mat that would not slip and slide and even mentally prepped myself to finally enjoy the class. But despite my vehement and consistent commitment, it didn’t work for me.
The Class Half Full
I must say that it wasn’t that the teachers came up short in their talent or that they didn’t try. Most of them would see me awkwardly stuck in a pose and come along, adjust my foot and arm so I was doing it right and I would be fully uncomfortable, with my limbs threatening to fall asleep if I didn’t step out of the asana right that instant. At other times, I would be sprawled like a starfish, my face smushed into the ground hoping none of my muscles decide to cramp at that very moment. It was all very taxing. And pretty much the exact opposite of I believe I was to experience in a yoga class. I know a lot of poses are supposed to be held, so that the muscles get fully stretched and worked out and for me, it took concentrated effort to not fall to the floor with an unglamorous thud.
I am also fully aware that there is more to yoga than just asanas, there are breathing practices, meditation and relaxation. But there’s also more to me than desperately applying myself to this form of exercise.
Making Peace With It
Despite repeated attempts, great teachers and access to everything needed to enjoy a yoga class, I have come up short. This is on me, a ‘me’ problem, I know. So over time, I have come to the conclusion that yoga practise isn’t for me. It doesn’t calm me down. The opposite is actually true. Because I am so overcome with my desire to be calm, I get anxious. Again, pretty sure this isn’t what is expected. If like me, your entire yoga class is about trying to get to the end where you can lie supine on your mat and gently snore till a fellow attendee nudges you awake, we are doing it wrong. Or when you sit with folded legs on the floor and the whole class breathes in and exhales in tandem and you keep thinking about what you want for lunch, yeah, maybe that isn’t it.
I can do a run, a sweaty dance class and be most excited by it. I can sit by a window, sipping on a coffee and staring at the rain outside looking like a girl who makes emo reels and that’s when I am most at peace. And that counts for something right?
On a completely unrelated note, I wrote about the hypersexualisation of big breasts, maybe give that a read?