A tale of two black fridays. ~ Samantha Mabry

Via on Dec 6, 2011

 Originally published by our elephriends over at Recovering Yogi on November 28, 2011. 

A tale of two black fridays.

By Samantha Mabry

The morning of Black Friday I woke up to an online news story about a woman who reportedly started pepper-spraying shoppers at a Los Angeles-area Wal-Mart in order to gain a competitive edge on so-called “doorbuster deals.” Apparently the “prize” which she sought with such ferocity was an Xbox.

Also on the morning of Black Friday, I went to teach yoga. The studio at which I teach offers “power vinyasa” classes which are meant to be challenging; however I’ve lost track of the times in class I’ve said things to the effect of “please modify” or “work at your level” or “this isn’t a competition” or “start breathing again” or “be kind to yourself,” etc. I am truly not interested in someone being able to put their foot on their face in an arm balance or whatever, as my own inability to put my foot on my face in an arm balance has yet to cause my personal, emotional or spiritual downfall.

Still though, despite all of my constant bickering helpful suggestions, I frequently see people bullying their shoulders into what have to be awfully uncomfortable arm binds, making hideous facial contortions to try to stay balanced in Dancer’s Pose, and otherwise kicking their own asses in merciless ways for reasons unknown. This type of thing happened the morning of Black Friday; it happens in almost every class. Once upon a time, I was this self-harming yogi, and I sometimes still get competitive with myself even though I know better and have suffered a few ego-related yoga injuries that prove that I should know better.

While a majority of people would agree that it’s certifiably  batshit to cause bodily harm to random strangers in order to get 20% off a Kindle at a Wal-Mart the day after Thanksgiving, I often see yoga students cause bodily harm to themselves in order to achieve… what exactly?

These are. The same. Scenarios. Let’s tease them out: 


Shopper at Wal-Mart believes that Xbox will fill some kind of void in her life.

Yogi believes that finally putting foot on face in arm balance will fill some kind of void in her life.


Shopper at Wal-Mart will get her hands on Xbox by any means necessary. This involves the declaration: “Bitch, stay away from my Xbox, or I will pepper-spray your ass.”

Yogi will get her foot on face by any means necessary. This involves the declaration (unspoken): “Hey shoulders! Shut the fuck up, because I am getting into this goddamned pose whether you like it or not.”


Shopper at Wal-Mart causes harm to others.

Yogi causes harm to herself.


Ultimately, shopper at Wal-Mart gets not-that-great of a deal on Xbox that her family won’t care about by this time next year and is known far and wide as a total a-hole.

Ultimately, yogi gets… I don’t know. Bragging rights? Compliment from some teacher who believes that vinyasa yoga functions on some type of point system? She isn’t known far and wide as a total a-hole but her shoulder has really been bothering her lately.


I’ll end by saying that there is nothing wrong with proving to yourself that you are strong.  Strength, however, comes not in the form of brutalization.

About Samantha Mabry

Samantha Mabry grew up in Dallas thinking she’d one day be a bass player for a famous rock band. She is now an English teacher, writer of young adult ghost stories, and yoga instructor. She enjoys books about monsters and maintains the blog May the Stars Fall Down on You Like Rain.

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One Response to “A tale of two black fridays. ~ Samantha Mabry”

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