Yoga is not passive, it is not weak, it is a strong and steady walk towards freedom.
Recently at a bar in Hollywood, a well-known actor thought it would be enticing for me to hear about his love for guns. In any normal circumstance I would have left my bar stool to find a friend, but I had to hear him out—his sentiments in favor of the 2nd Amendment were such a rare species on this side of the world.
He began espousing his rank as the NRA’s number one celebrity spokesperson and said we should have guns—all of us—not just because it is fun and “like yoga” but because it is our responsibility.
By this time he knew that I was a yoga teacher and anti-gun. In a bizarre mix of wooing and bombarding me with pistol propaganda, the actor told me I should come to a shooting range with him because “shooting was just like yoga—meditative.”
I swallowed hard. This was going to be interesting.
I said, “Yeah, um, not so much.”
Yoga is deeply embedded in non-violence.
Even the Warrior (Virabhadrasana) is grounded and without weaponry—other than a penetrating gaze—and the Hero (Virasana) is seated in a vulnerable, non-confrontational position.
When this explanation didn’t work he encouraged me to teach partner yoga classes that could be filmed and that he would help produce. Suddenly, the gun conversation turned from bullets to erotic yoga. Not surprisingly, I discovered he wasn’t so well informed on the benefits of yoga.
If he had been he would not have turned so fire red when I suggested his love for guns was fear-based. His overly loud remarks would not have turned into menacing whispers in my ear from which I had to pull away. The seemingly innocuous bar conversation began to take a more threatening tone, a la Stanley Kowalski and Blanche DuBois.
But having read A Streetcar Named Desire a number of times I knew better. If anything, I wanted to find my Kim Novack pistol and tell him to back off.
But that would have escalated the violence; he would have grabbed my arm, twisted it, said something about that being a “yogic move” and I would have fallen defeated.
Instead, I did get up to greet a friend and found again how yoga is absolutely not like guns. Yoga is not passive, it is not weak, it is a strong and steady walk towards freedom; freedom from violence and freedom from fear.
Caitlin Talbot is a redwood-loving yoga instructor in Los Angeles opening Hollywood Power Yoga this summer. She is also an actress/producer and hails from San Francisco, lived in New York and has family from South Africa.
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Assistant Ed: Stephanie V./Kate Bartolotta