My Asana Kicks Your Asana’s Ass. ~ Brie Doyle

Via elephant journal
on May 14, 2011
get elephant's newsletter

You know the type:

Sports bra only, teeny tiny spandex, killer tan and six-pack, fake knockers and naturally curly locks who’s always positioned front and center in class. You try not to notice her, but by God, you’d sleep with her if you didn’t have a husband and kids. The tiny bead of sweat coming off of her looks like liquid gold to your buckets of gnarly, salted byproduct. And while you’re grunting your way through every sun salutation, she bends beautifully with the grace of a Julliard-educated ballerina.

Photo: Tiffany Assman

What starts as awe quickly becomes jealously before you can blink twice. Suddenly you’re half way through class and the whole “focusing on yourself” thing has yet to happen because you can’t keep your eyes off the effing goddess to your left who is still holding her handstand. “Damn her!” You think as you take yet another swig of water noticing her bottle has yet to be cracked.

I get it. We’ve all been there. It’s hard to stay focused when lately yoga classes feel more like the Friday night meat-market out at the bars. And somehow, everyone in the town of Boulder has managed to have practiced yoga for at least twenty years already. What the? That or people here were just “born naturally flexible.” Sweet.

But viewing yoga as a sport or some kind of competitive endeavor is just ridiculous. I know and really believe that, even though at times I’m as guilty as the next idiot. So, I try and do as the cliché suggests and “focus on my breathing” and on my own practice.

Yet it never ceases to amaze me how many people do come to classes seemingly with the intention of having the “best asana.” Too many times I’ve heard students engage in hollow conversations about how they’ve “been to five yoga classes in the past two days,” and how they’re “sorry to hear you could only make it to one.” One upping each other in yoga? For real?

Photo: Lululemon Athletica

Well, maybe it’s the new age yoga challenge: how to have a healthy, grounded and mindful practice in a sea of competing Barbie and Kens. I guess it’s hard for me to feel that this profound practice, that at first felt so authentic and private, is as pop culture and expected as watching American Idol. Guess it’s time to get over that.

So, I suppose I have a new practice in my yoga. Next time I try to hold chaturanga too long because my homeboy Ken on the left is doing the same, maybe, just maybe I’ll remember to look inward as opposed to out.


Though pretentious yuppies abound in Brie’s home town of Boulder, CO, she can’t seem to find another place she’d rather live. But she’s been fortunate enough to try many places. From NYC to New Zealand, SE Asia, Japan, Nepal and India, Brie has traveled the world seeking adventure and stories to share. Pre-babies, she was a middle school teacher and a yoga teacher, but now that she is pumping out children, she stays at home and writes. She has written two novels, one based in India, one based in New York, and she is furiously seeking publication. In the meantime, she can be found making light of life on her blog:


About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive—and get your name/business/fave non-profit on every page of Questions? info elephantjournal com


38 Responses to “My Asana Kicks Your Asana’s Ass. ~ Brie Doyle”

  1. Lilliputian says:

    Another way to approach this "asana jealousy", is that rather to wallow in one's own set backs from a particular form, take pleasure in the beauty someone who can perform it brings. By morphing jealousy into inspiration and outward love, then you truly shift your attitude within your practice.

  2. sarah says:

    Ouch. Maybe part of "looking inward instead of out" should involve a bio that avoids labeling others as "pretentious yuppies."

  3. Luke says:

    You definitely nailed it on this one. I just out of a yoga class that felt like a Saturday night happy hour with people abound like you're describing.

  4. Yiipppeee says:

    Everyone knows Boulder is filled with pretentious yuppies! It’s just part of Boulder’s identity. Luckily there are also a lot of wonderful people too 🙂

  5. tanya lee markul says:

    Hi Brie – nice! Love the reminder to turn our attention back to being inward.

    Great blog.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

  6. Yogini5 says:

    It has nothing to do with the presence or absence of mirrors in the studio (some yoga studios also teach dance and dance-fitness in the same studio rooms, and they have to have at least mirrors if not other dance accoutrements) and everything to do with the style of yoga taught in that studio.

  7. Yogainthevalley says:

    Learning to deal with our tendencies towards competitiveness and judgement is part of the practice of yoga. Not everyone has learned that or is ready for it yet. Everyone gets there in their own time. Why should their primping or one-upmanship have any affect on your practice?
    …and I do agree that labeling people as "pretentious yuppies", or anything else, may not be in the full spirit of yoga.

  8. SAL says:

    I like old hippie yoga, which included asanas (to prepare for meditation), meditation and striving to be a conscious, kind person. I think something is lost in a gymnastics-focused practice, although it's very beautiful to watch.

    • Yogini5 says:

      I do, too. The Kundalini-infused neo-hippie kind rocks–

      And in the centering, calming, spirit-rising department: My kriya can kick asana ass, sometimes …

      • Leah says:

        Maybe nothing is "lost" in an asana practice that is viewed at strong. Maybe the asana is a moving meditation to the practitioner.

  9. Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Bob W.
    Yoga Editor

  10. […] My Asana Kicks Your Asana’s Ass […]

  11. Lek says:

    Boy this blog seems to have gotten up a lot of noses. 🙂
    I have really enjoyed reading the comments. There were some interesting observations on our fellow yogin.
    Cheers you lot.

  12. curtisbrown baltmd says:

    I belong to a thriving yoga community in Baltimore Md. Last night I stayed up in side crow for the first time after 5 years of practice. No applause in the room. No one knew but me – a personal victory. I laughed to myself and out loud a little bit, another one of my impossible poses, transformation.The point is not the pose, am I breathing?, just move and breathe. From beginners to advanced, I am inspired by the quiet devotion and dedication of those practicing around me. I am so grateful to them and my teachers for sharing their devotion by showing up to the mat everyday. Just read Donna Farhi's Teaching Yoga, she gives eloquent description of yoga etiquette and devotion throughout her book, very inspiring to me as a student. Thank you for your post.

  13. […] My Asana Kicks Your Asana’s Ass. ~ Brie Doyle […]

  14. Yogatchr says:

    I thought this was very very funny. A yogini with a sense of humor…Yay!! I shared this an several of my students and they got a kick out of it. It also generated some discussion about how the very lovely group of people I teach are joyful about each others practices as well as their own. Sometimes in class we even joke around. Scandalous!

  15. […] If an individual who was intent on a Yoga practice applied the highest values of Rand’s philosophy, that individual would undoubtedly be in India at this very moment perfecting every asana. […]

  16. Boulderisforchumps says:

    You live in Boulder, girlfriend! All that sh*t’s expected! Keep your asssana up yous a funny broad!

  17. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp legal and financial troubles are getting bigger.The U.S. Justice Department has beenhave contacted British law enforcement officials to look at allegations of illegal payments reportedly paid by Murdoch’s News of the World to Scotland Yard police officers. If the allegations can be proved, Rupert Murdoch’s troubles are just beginning as any payments may have violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that makes it illegal for any American company to pay bribes to foreign government officials.

  18. Yogini5 says:

    Yoga classes like that spawn professional yogis who think they can do a demonstration in a crowded New York City subway train:

  19. GHD NZ says:

    Hi, Neat post. There is an issue along with your web site in web explorer, may test this? IE nonetheless is the market leader and a huge portion of folks will omit your great writing due to this problem.

Leave a Reply