1. Be grateful for people who can help you get your favorite toys out of a rough spot.
2. Be grateful for good hiding spots.
3. Be grateful for people who cook for you.
4. And play with you.
5. And even let you use them as a pillow.
6. Be grateful for people who accompany you to parties you didn’t really want to go to.
7. Be grateful for your beautiful face.
8. And those who comfort you when you’re feeling sad.
10. And at the end of the day, be grateful for a soft, warm bed.
Oh god, we haven’t done Yoga Tuesday in many, many days, internet. Or possibly years.
Side Note – I enjoy how dramatically my blog view went up in the TWO DAYS since NaNoWriMo ended. I GET IT. YOU HATED IT. MWNAH.
Side Side Note – Six people voted on my poll from yesterday and they all voted for different things. So thanks, but still unhelpful, internet.
Typical. Yet I digress.
My body is a train wreck right now. I did yoga for the first time last night in a very long time (hint- three weeks) and today I woke up fairly positive that I may have been hit by a train in my sleep last night. Or a small airplane. Everything hurts, is what I’m getting at, and it’s a little humiliating, given that last year around this time I was super stellar at yoga related activities.
And yeah, I get that the point of yoga is to be calm and stellar and a good person and non-bothered by trivialities like being good at such or whatever (Side Side Side Note – that would be a great t-shirt. I am non-bothered. It’s something else, though, the yoga thing. I am non-attached? I am non-pareil? I am a nonagon? Not that one, probably).
You know what it is? When you’re good at something, you assume that you’re pretty much always going to be good at that thing, even if you take a while off of doing it. Which is, of course, not true at all. You have to keep learning and practicing and upgrading, or you’re going to end up behind the times.
In terms of feeling behind, I’m Grandma with a new iPhone right now. Okay, maybe more like martial artist learning ballet. But still.
Something to work on, I guess.
Love yourself. It’s a common quote. Type it into Pinterest and it’ll appear in a million flowery fonts with several thousand variations on the theme:
Yeah, that’s nice, you’re thinking. It’s a cutesy dose of daily inspiration, and it may make you feel warm and fuzzy for a few minutes or so.
However, cutesy quotes fail to get to the root of the problem.
It is an ongoing struggle to stay in love with yourself.
There, I said it. The Pinterest police are probably on their way to arrest me.
But it’s a good thing to mention anyways.
Any type of relationship requires upkeep. We all have friends that have faded to the wayside because somewhere down the line, we consciously or unconsciously let the lines of communication go dark. It’s part of life. Sometimes you get into fights with even your best friends, or your partners or your family. Sometimes those arguments and irritations heal quickly, sometimes they take a long time to smooth out. It’s never effortless, however, because love isn’t effortless. Sometimes it’s a delicate flame, sometimes it’s a raging fire, but you always have to fed it.
You have the exact same relationship going on with yourself.
No, you are not going to spontaneously decide one morning that you’re perfect, and leap out of bed completely happy with every aspect of yourself, because life isn’t a romantic comedy, and love doesn’t work like that. You have to work at it, bit by bit. And no, I don’t mean you have to go to the gym and wear makeup and look sexy all the time.
I mean you have to make a conscious effort to appreciate yourself, and to not look down on yourself, and love yourself exactly like you want someone else to love you. And then you have to keep doing it, day after day, and know that some days it’ll be hard, and some days it’ll be easy, and everyday it’ll be worth it.
To sum, there’s a beautiful quote from one of my favorite shows (okay, it’s Doctor Who) that perfectly describes what I’m trying to get at:
You know when sometimes you meet someone so beautiful — and then you actually talk to them and five minutes later they’re as dull as a brick; but then there’s other people. And you meet them and you think, “Not bad, they’re okay,” and when you get to know them … their face just, sort of, becomes them, like their personality’s written all over it, and they just — they turn into something so beautiful.
Turn into something beautiful, internet.
When I actually wear a coordinated outfit to the studio:
When someone asks me to explain the difference between two weird disciplines of yoga:
When my friends make up terrible excuses to get out of class:
When someone shows up late to my yoga class and disrupts everybody:
When someone keeps leaving for “a drink of water”:
When I haven’t worked out in a while and I get back on my mat it’s like:
But also like:
When people thank me after class it’s like:
Because teaching yoga, most of the time, is like:
It turns out that I an not an introvert.
Which, frankly, is startling, because I always thought I was.
However, since the satellite version of my office is (long story short) dark, deserted, and I’m the only one in it, I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that I am, most definitely, not an introvert. I like people. I like talking. I like light and activity and friends. Basically everything the satellite office is not, which is why having to work a shift there is like being sent to the 7th circle of Hell.
Theoretically, people (tourists) are supposed to come in to visit me and ask me questions about how awesome Place-I-Live is, but I was in the office today for eight freakin’ hours and I only had three people the whole day.
Frankly, I think the alone time is driving me a little batty.
For instance, I made a friend out of a lamp.
His name is Roscoe Rodriguez Ramez.
Then I tried to make a house for Roscoe Rodriguez out of pamphlets, but it turns out recycle paper is an unreliable building material.
Anyways, being in that office is awful. It’s dark, and it’s lonely, and it smells weird, and people are always walking through without so much as a hello.
But then I went outside, internet, and there was this amazingly beautiful sunset happening.
And it occurred to me that life is like that, internet. Sometimes you get stuck in a gloomy office for a few hours, or days, or months, and you have no idea that there’s a beautiful sunset happening right outside until you can let yourself out the door.
Just a thought.
I read an article today that really offended me, internet.
The article, by XOJane user s.e. smith, asserts that what Westerners call yoga is an offensive cultural dilution that we’ve branded as “exotic” and turned into a new “it” fitness trend.
“While many people appear uncomfortable when it comes to talking about cultural appropriation, yoga furnishes a textbook example; westerners lift something from another tradition, brand it as “exotic,” proceed to dilute and twist it to satisfy their own desires, and then call it their own. While claiming to honor the centuries of tradition involved, what they practice is so far from the actual yoga practiced by actual Hindus that it’s really just another form of trendy fitness, covered in New Age trappings. For Indians, particularly Hindus, there’s a definite divide when it comes to the “yoga” practiced by westerners and that practiced in their own communities.”
Yes, it’s true – yoga as the west knows it has only been around since 1960 or so, and if the point of the article was to clear up any lingering confusion on that point, it would have been commendable.
Yet the author takes it one step further, bringing up the religious roots of yoga and saying:
“If I wouldn’t dream of taking Communion at a Catholic Church if I was attending as a guest, why would I practice yoga? Aren’t there lots of explicitly fitness-oriented options for me to choose from that don’t require me to appropriate religious practices from former colonies?”
Okay, bucko, let’s take a step back here.
Yes, there are a lot of different, healthy, valid forms of exercise out there that us New Age trend-followers could try. Yes, yoga as we know it borrows heavily from old, sacred texts, religious beliefs, and traditions going back eons of years.
However, to imply that the Western form of yoga is somehow trampling offensively over the Eastern version and is therefore an invalid practice is offensive, ill-informed, and deeply wrong.
I have been practicing yoga for almost a decade now, have been teaching, training, and studying yoga for nearly four, and I will declare from the deepest wells of my being that yoga, practiced as we practice it here in good old America, is a deeply beneficial and life-changing habit. I’ve seen people use yoga to drag themselves out of eating disorders, depression, marital issues, PTSD, and illness. I know people who swear by meditation, by the various tenets of yogic spirituality, and by a healthy dose of daily practice. I know people who came in skeptical of the practice and themselves who are now in the studio more then I am.
Is yoga a cultural appropriation? Yes. Is it offensive? Should it be? Absolutely not.
I believe that the Western appropriation of yoga is a good thing, because that appropriation is beneficial to thousands of devoted practitioners here on this coast.
Are you saying, s.e. smith, that a devoted American yogi can’t wear a mala or purchase a Shiva statuette because their practice doesn’t exactly conform to the original intention of the Upanishads who wrote it? Because they are somehow trampling on a religious tradition? Aren’t you missing out on the millions of Asian Christians and Catholics who have combined their religious faiths so deeply with their religious traditions that they’ve essentially created a new religion (because, by the way, that’s another form of cultural appropriation that some would find deeply offensive). Do their beliefs not count because their religion is a perversion?
Religion is not something that you have to take whole hog. Religion is fluid. Culture is fluid. People are fluid. If someone believes something with every cell in their body, has changed from it for the better, and hasn’t negatively affected anyone else by it, that is a holy thing, whether or not they are the right color, sex, or culture.
Yes, yoga is an appropriation. So is P.F. Changs.
If you want to write about religious practitioners who perverted the tenets of their faith, give Westboro a call.