I ran a well-known yoga instructor's company for nearly two and a half years. I think I took maybe five yoga classes during that whole span of time. I had zero interest in going to class. Possibly because I spent most of my days coordinating yoga workshops and typing up Sanskrit documents, I was yoga-ed out without even stepping onto the mat.
But that was the Pre-Saturn Return Heather. Current Heather (in the midst of my Saturn Return) can't get enough yoga. My body actually craves being in down dog and hip openers. And my mind craves being in Savasana. Seriously, who wouldn't want to be in Savasana. If Savasana had a theme song, it would be the theme from Fraggle Rock.
After my practice last week, I was completely out of it - in an enlightened flighty way - when I realized that I was starving. So I stumbled over to the raw restaurant down the street from the studio (so typical - yoga and raw vegan food... I am afraid I have become one of those people). As I was standing there, struggling to give the lady behind the counter my order due to my Savasana state of mind, it dawned on me - no wonder the yoga community gets an airy-fairy rap, we are in a Savasana state of mind... which can be absolutely wonderful, but not when you are trying to order a raw coconut with an umbrella straw (again, one of those people).
As I sat there sipping my coconut, I started to think about all the stereotypes that come along with a yoga practice, especially on the Westside of Los Angeles. There are plenty of airy-fairies (which I somewhat fall into this stereotype as I believe all things in life are magical, but I tend to be fairly grounded and realistic about how I live my magical life), then there are the opposite of airy-fairies... I'm not even sure what to call them. A certain crude word comes to mind but I'd like to keep this blog readable by my 11 year old niece.
I'll give an example of something that happened to really explain this specific stereotype. There is this guy in the class I take... he's there every so often, and when he is there, he somehow ends up directly behind my mat. I will say one positive nice thing before I go off - his hair is to die for, seriously, it's curly and bouncy, and you just want to run your hands right through it.
This guy sweats, a lot. Which would honestly be none of my business if he weren't constantly dripping sweat onto my mat. Once, a star of True Blood dripped some sweat near my mat (not actually on the mat, but like an inch away from the mat). He gracefully took his towel, wiped up his fallen sweat and apologized in his amazing Aussie accent. Now that is a class act. This guy behind me though… nope. Not a class act. He constantly continues to drip on my mat, near my mat, all around my mat… and not even an "I’m sorry" or a "let me wipe that up." Come on guy, you have to realize that you're dripping all over the place!
I really don't want anyone else's sweat near me unless we're consensually doing something sweaty together (that sounded nice enough for my niece to read, right?). I suppose the stereotype I am trying to describe is simply "not a class act."
Yoga is all about union of the mind, body and spirit - my practice takes me there and back (wherever there is... still trying to figure that one out) and is a soul expanding experience. I am able to take whatever kind of day I'm having and place it all on to my mat. My mat never fails me... except when there is someone else's sweat on it. Overall, it's very annoying (and not to mention contradicting) that there are stereotypes in a community that is all about oneness and unity. But I suppose we're all just trying to figure it out, which kind of brings it back to oneness in a weird, sweaty way.