Bad at Compulsively Turning Every Experience Into a Yoga Photoshoot
What is it about us yoga people that we feel we need to do yoga everywhere? I don't mean a little maintenance while we're out and about, I’m talking about big expressive potentially hurt myself poses like the one pictured above- urdhva dhanurasana on a backhoe, in the Himalayas. Was that really necessary or wise? While I like to think I’ve learned something in the seven years since apparently I’m still prone to fits of agonizing public bendiness. This past summer I tried to force my body into an arm balance for a photo after walking twenty km carrying a thirty pound pack. My friend took lovely photos, I posted some of them, they got a lot of likes and nice comments, and my back and hips rightly hated me for some time after. When we got back to the campsite that night another hiker had rolled out her mat and was struggling her way into dancers pose (if you don’t know what that is think of the last possible thing your body would want to do after walking uphill all day). Even before social media and yoga selfies were a thing I remember trying to stand on my head on a beach in Thailand at sunset. Why not just sit the eff down and enjoy the sunset? What the hell is wrong with us?! What is this need to spice every cool experience with physical yoga?
For me there always was (is) this absurd belief that these amazing experiences should be, needed to be, somehow better than what they already were. Mountains and sunsets are amazing and all, but there must be more to be had than simply the enjoyment of them. And yoga must be the way to get that something more even if my ecstatic unfolding of the enraptured heart pose makes my low back hurt for days. More of what exactly you ask? Probably something deeply real and spiritual that would finally fulfill me as a person and look something like an ad I saw for Special K in the 90's. That sounds ridiculous, but consumer culture fueled neurosis said aloud often does. That’s the core of it- these experiences alone can’t and never will be enough because the poptart culture I live in has led me to believe I’m never enough. Everyday I’m bombarded with messages telling me I need to do, buy, know, be, and manifest more in order to be acceptable. And it’s so sneaky and pervasive that before you can say, "Hey look! Tori broke her ass again attempting to increase her worth as a human being by doing eka pada bakasana on top of a bear in a snowstorm!" yoga can become just another way I manically try to up my worth rather than being a means of freeing me from this vicious cycle as was intended. . It’s not true by the way, that I (or you) am not enough- in addition to being ridiculous consumer culture fueled neurosis is also largely bullshit.
Or maybe I’m completely off base and it’s as simple as doing headstand and taking cool photos is a fun thing to do. I dunno. Is anyone else suddenly craving poptarts?