An Indictment of Myself…& all other Hypocrites, Goofballs, Sellouts, Morons, Pretenders and Wannabes. ~ Andrew Gurvey

Via elephant journal
on Sep 5, 2011
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Handstand
Andrew Gurvey Handstand on Squaw Chair

I confess. I wear Lululemon clothing.

I also confess to being confident, self-assured, and I believe in myself and I have no problem busting out a handstand whenever and wherever I want.

I enjoy being in the front row of a yoga class, no matter how sparse or crowded it is.

I like when my clothes match, I enjoy looking good, and I think I’m good looking. I like wearing t-shirts from the yoga studios I’ve been to and I have no problem advertising it. I am not ashamed of my body and I take off my shirt often.

When I teach, I often use pieces of sequences and ideas that I pick up from other teachers. I try to credit where I can, but I’ve taken so many different ideas from so many different teachers that I’m sure I miss some. I love mingling in the different yoga communities and nerding out by comparing yoga “notes.” I love talking about different styles of yoga and the perceptions—and misperceptions—of what happens in the yoga universe. I prefer vinyasa flow over other types of yoga, but I do not believe it is better or worse than those other types.

I’m a hypocrite. I’ve been guilty of being pretentious and condescending. I do the best I can to live by my ideals and by the teachings of yoga of which I am an eternal student and a very new teacher. But I make mistakes. I’ve given bad advice before and presumed myself to be tremendously more intelligent than I actually am.

I’m a vegetarian. This means that I have special dietary needs. I try to be low key about it and don’t flip out if the vegetables I ordered were grown in the same state where people eat hamburgers. My vegetarianism is health-based, not politically-based. I go to Starbucks. Sometimes I forget to bring my personal cup, so I end up wasting paper by utilizing the cups they provide.

I have a water ionizer and I shop at Whole Foods.

I like technology, although my super old flip phone would dictate otherwise. I have two computers. I use Facebook all the time. I play music in my yoga classes, and although I think my playlists are pretty awesome, I’ve played songs that haven’t always worked. I work a day job and teach yoga at night. I work my ass off and I have very little spare time.

Handstand - Wanderlust Store
Andrew Gurvey Handstand at the Wanderlust Store

I went to Wanderlust. I practiced in the front row of every yoga class I took. I do handstands in my sun salutations. I’m sure this will come as a great surprise to the anti-front row, anti-handstand-during-sun-salutations folks, but I practice in the front row for no other reason than that I like being close to the front. I press up to handstand in my sun salutations because it feels great, adds cohesion to my practice and allows me more opportunity for inversion. I know it’s crazy talk that anyone would have the audacity to do such things, because it must really mean that I am vying for the attention of everyone else in the room; it must also mean I am trying to invalidate their practices by showing the superiority of mine. I spoke to and smiled at every person I saw. If we made eye contact at Wanderlust, then I smiled at you. If you saw me at Wanderlust and we didn’t meet, you were very likely in one of the thirty places at which I did a handstand.

I have made an ass out of myself countless times throughout my life and my yoga career. I have overstepped my bounds with yoga teachers and fellow students. I’ve been banned from a yoga studio. I have talked when I should have listened. I have spaced out when I should have been present. I’ve fallen asleep in savasana. My ego has gotten in the way of my practice, and I have most definitely been competitive on a yoga mat. I’ve injured myself from not listening to a teacher and I’ve injured myself while listening to a teacher.

I’m moody, highly emotional, energetically charged, and have a permanent scar inside my mouth from having inserted my foot there so many times. I’m a challenging person to be around because I have an unfathomable energy level, among other things. I have two speeds: fast and faster. I have two temperatures: hot and hotter. I am two doshas: pitta and pitta2.

Handstand in a hot tub
Andrew Gurvey handstand in a hot tub

I battle with my ego every minute of every day and sometimes my ego wins.

I’m a flawed human being. I wake up each day and do the best I can to embrace all of the flaws I’ve listed above (along with the cornucopia of other flaws that I haven’t) so that I can move past them, perhaps become a better human being, and maybe take the yogic journey I’m on to another level.

Despite all of my flaws, foibles, idiotic shenanigans, and general tomfoolery, I am still on a yogic path. Having said that, I’m sure there are plenty of people out there chomping at the bit, waiting to rip me to shreds because of my hypocrisy and sometimes painful honesty.

I told you all this about me because it seems that lately it has become stylish to deride people in the yoga community like me, who do things like wear Lululemon, practice in the front row of a yoga class, or shamelessly practice yoga poses. Since I do all of those things and more that probably draw derision from the same crowd, I felt it was time to stand up and say something.

Is there an enlightenment map? Can I take my yogic journey in the direction of that map? Or do I need that map to take my yogic journey? Until then, am I relegated to being a hypocrite and fool because I have made decisions that do not fit an appropriate mold?

If one does not have all of the answers, is it okay for that person to judge me? How about if that person does have all the answers? Does this legitimize judgment of others for their choices?

Handstand on a Rock
Andrew Gurvey handstand on a rock

Everyone who is practicing yoga is on some sort of journey. Some of us may not be as enlightened or as self-actualized as those who are passing judgment on us, but we are all still on a journey. Whether this sojourn resides in the physical or if we still haven’t gotten past the aesthetic, it’s still a journey. Apparently, though, there is a rating system for those journeys that only the elite and the enlightened understand. Oh, how I wish I had the teacher’s edition of Yoga for Dummies.

I guess the only viable option for me, at this point, is to stick with being who I am and you can stick with being who you are. Next time I see you, I’ll smile at you, give you a hug, and then maybe bust out a handstand.


Andrew GurveyAndrew Gurvey is an Engineer for the Fire Protection Division of Underwriters Laboratories by day, and a yoga teacher by night. Andrew’s arrival to the yoga mat was a long and winding road that has since turned into a powerful, focused journey. You can read his full bio on his website and connect with him on Facebook.


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Comments

36 Responses to “An Indictment of Myself…& all other Hypocrites, Goofballs, Sellouts, Morons, Pretenders and Wannabes. ~ Andrew Gurvey”

  1. connie says:

    Yaaaay!! I feel like applauding ! I am very grateful to read your honest and funny writing . I am 63 young years, and started Anusara Yoga at age 60. I also like to be in the front row as it puts me closer to the amazing teachers and less distracting with others in front of me ! What a journey and transformation Yoga has made and is making in the third third of my life….maybe beyond a third third ! I do not wear lululemon (not in my budget or size !), can't afford to go to retreats, but sure would go if I could, and do handstands with a little assist and really get a thrill from that and any inversions ! For sure I do not have all, if any answers and know for sure that the more I know, the more I do not know. It's all a wonderful journey in which I am grateful and thrilled to be present and happily enjoying ! Thank you for your honesty and writing…hope to meet you on the path !

  2. Yogini5 says:

    Well, doing full mayurasana in lotus lickety-split is even worse. Because it LOOKS more accessible to some of us who have not advanced in our yoga practice over years … In the front row, you give me full ability to check out the condition of your Lululemons (this helps me determine which studios I will feel comfortable in … the older and more pilled and over-washed, the better)

    This Kapha-Vata won't be traveling with the 21st century's answer to Deadheads (i.e. the Kulas of the Wanderlust Festival) any time soon.

    So, to each their own.

  3. catlyn777 says:

    WE all could benefit from more silence, inner and outer, and we all could meditate on compassion. Not a thing wrong with speaking with honesty, or learning more about our current weaknesses or views of reality using introspection. "who am I right now", it is a stage along the journey many if not most, so what, better than fake and pretentious?

  4. Chelsea says:

    Beautiful, poignant, and honest Andrew. Really enjoyed reading it.

  5. Bob bernstein says:

    The only time those front row people piss me off is when I'm not in that row. I seek the guidance of the instructor whenever possible. Seeing a great handstand is enthralling and makes me strive to that awesomness. I too have a permanent scar in my mouth for the countless times my foot has been wedged so furiously there. And my path to enlightenment is personal, whether or not it meets your approval is meaningless to me and I only hope you find your Nirvana. Andrew you're an inspiration on so many different ways and least of all is the things you do on the mat but really your guidance off of it.

  6. Marlene says:

    After having been in classes with you Andrew, your coming up into handstands has never felt "show-offy" but just exuberant, that is just who you are. And isnt this the one thing alot of us are learning through our practice….to be me, more often. I enjoyed this article and think it will help everyone understand there are many, many paths to this thing we call yoga, handstand front row center, lululemons and in the teachers face or back row savasana in sweats. Yoga to the people. Rise and shine

  7. Enlightened yogi says:

    If you smile at me I'll just punch you in your fat ugly face, stfu ah

  8. charlie says:

    Andrew! I really enjoyed reading this and since I'm NOT on facebook (but do wear lululemon and drink starbucks), I'm grateful to have yogi friends who forward me your writings:) Thanks for lifting my spirits today with a some laughter and allowing me a few minutes to reflect….

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  10. Very well written, and honest. There seems to be this misconception that as yoga teachers, we're either complete hypocrites or people are shocked if we're having a bagel. These extreme ideas only enforce the notion that we are separate from one another, when in reality, it is our interconnectedness that allows us to learn from each other. Straight up congrats to you for being able to do a handstand in a Sun Salutation. My ego is jealous of you, but my heart is very, very happy for you. Keep practicing in the way that feels authentic for you, and keep sharing your vision. peace, love, ~T

  11. Carl says:

    Keep it real bro, if only more people in the world would actually walk their own talk then the world would be a less judgmental and honest place to reside. PEACE

  12. LukeOZ says:

    You are the Kanye West of yogis. And I mean that as a compliment. Must be that Ch-town attitude. Yea Man!!

    It takes a real man to confront his shadow, to look it in the eyes, to expose it with vulnerability and humor.

    The shadow has power, grace, fire, and lots and lots of prana. We cannot ignore or denigrate the shadow self, it must be integrated, and I have a whole lot more respect for testicular men such as yourself, and none for the shallow nice-guy new-age wimps that tend to predominate in the yoga scene. I know becase I was once one myself, and had to full on embrace that inner wildman to get back into the light and onto the path. Bring that fire, brother, and keep on shining its light on that shadow.

    Peace!

  13. dominic says:

    Not so much a hyp-om-crite(hell, who isn’t?) More like typically self-absorbed to the brink of “enlightened” arrogance and most certainly annoying.

  14. What i don’t understood is actually how you are no longer really much more neatly-preferred than you may be right now. You’re very intelligent. You realize therefore significantly with regards to this subject, made me personally consider it from numerous various angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to be involved except it?s something to do with Lady gaga! Your individual stuffs great. Always deal with it up!

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