Yeah, I can’t believe someone asked me that either. A reporter, actually.
I had to mull my answer to this one over because I couldn’t think of anyone I know who doesn’t. Except I do – my husband.
Oh yeah. And my son.
So I asked my boys. The answer might surprise you because it sure as heck surprised me.
“I don’t want to do that crazy shit you do.”
I’m all incredulous now. What crazy shit? I mean, yeah – there’s some craziness for sure, but I’ve also been practicing for fifteen years and true, the years tend to up the crazy ante. But I also practice a whole lot of nothing special, I tell them.
To which my husband opens up his Instagram and pulls up my profile. (I knew it was a bad idea to let him dabble in social media.)
“Like this. (And then he starts hitting the profiles of those who “liked” or commented). And how about this? And this? Yeah, not my kind of circus. I’d get hurt.”
Here’s what my husband doesn’t see on my Instagram or Facebook:
- Me rolling on a tennis ball before practice to work out the kink in my back
- Me, stepping back for my first few sun salutations, warming up slowly.
- My fellow students in the room, each quietly going about their business with their own versions of tennis balls and creaky joints.
- The teacher, who blends in with the students (sweating and working as hard, along side) and only stands out because no mat follows him/her.
It’s quiet, except for breath. I fall regularly out of simple standing postures. The most foundational posture of all (downward facing dog) could drive my teacher to drink if he were so inclined simply because it’s “not awake” – or something like that.
No one watches me and I watch no one. My hair is violently pulled back in a pony tail that would make my stylist cringe, my clothes are sweat soaked and I’ve been known to grunt.
I have no sponsors. No one sends me free clothes … does my hair and makeup … videos or photographs me. I have no fans. This isn’t a club.
In other words, honey – all that stuff you see on Instagram and Facebook: IT ISN’T REAL.
Oh yeah, some inspiring moments that get documented and shared are very real. As is the need to advertise and promote. And the fact that I’m 48 and still kicking it around out there is kinda cool and hopefully that’s helpful for some to know that it’s possible … even at my age.
But have we gone overboard? Have I gone overboard?
Maybe I’m just too old to keep up. That’s entirely possible because I’m certainly weary of the packaged monthly challenges and beautiful chiseled people constantly feeding me a staged image with a side of phony inspiration.
And then I think … maybe I’m one of them. My own husband thinks this is what I do all morning. My son, too. All they know is what they see – and apparently this is all I’m showing.
Once upon a time, we brought yoga to gyms so regular folk would realize this wasn’t an exclusive practice, reserved for those already enlightened. We made it accessible and real.
Yet are we now moving to a place of fantasy? A land where fans = friends and hashtags grow wild. A place where we begin to believe that all that matters is a #questforthepress and some free swag. And the saddest part of all is we are slowly creeping back to a place of exclusivity, like a yoga circle of another kind of jerk(s).
And all the while, with our heads up our own asses (based on some images, I could be speaking literally as well as figuratively) – we haven’t looked around to see those standing on the sidelines. Those too scared/horrified/intimidated or simply not interested in what we appear to be serving.
Balance. It’s all about balance. And I think I’ve lost mine.
Ok, so I hear you … you love the challenges. I get it. I love being old and still kicking it around. And even I can’t argue with some free swag. But can we please … PLEASE even it out with a healthy dose of – I don’t know … REAL yoga?
Agree? Disagree? Hate me? Love me? Go ahead, it’s ok. Comment away.
Because at least asking the question doesn’t hurt while not asking it actually can. #sorrynotsorry
(And I’m forwarding to my husband now too!)