August 11, 2010

Four reasons why Toesox Suck.

Want better balance and awareness? Socks off!

If you’ve been reading Elephant Journal over the last few days you’ll have noticed several articles and much debate about the issue of whether or not it’s ok to use nudity to sell yoga.

It started with Judith Hanson Lasater’s heartfelt and courageous letter to Yoga Journal asking them “not to exploit young women’s sexuality to sell products or more magazines.”

Yesterday Toesox, one of the companies at the center of the whole ‘using nudity to sell yoga’ scandal, hit back with this response defending their ads. In that response, Joe Patterson ‘Founder/President
ToeSox, Inc’ states that the “focus” of the marketing campaign is to “inspire people,” and that “The selling of Toesox is actually secondary.”*

(Note: the acronym LOL – Laughing Out Loud – is often used inaccurately. For example, people say LOL when they are only mildly amused, and not, in actual fact, laughing out loud. Similarly, the acronym ROFLMAO – Rolling On the Floor Laughing My A$$ Off – also tends to be overused: it is rare that anyone actually rolls on the floor whiles laughing.)

*In this case, I am not exaggerating when I say LOL. I could almost say (but not quite) ROFLMAO.

I’m not going to get too involved in the “sex sells” debate. I’ll simply say that for some of us, Yoga symbolizes purity, wonder, and the quest for truth; for others it’s a bandwagon to be jumped on to make some fast cash. In the same way that there is disco yoga, yoga boxing, yoga-lates-sex-ercise (ok I made that last one up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it really exists!) and countless other types of silliness, there are also people who don’t practice yoga yet make good money from it. It’s big business now; let’s not fool ourselves about that.

However, the point that I DO want to make is this: it’s better *not* to wear socks when practicing yoga!

I have been practicing yoga for about 18 years. I have been a full-time yoga teacher for over 10 years. I always tell my students to take their socks off when practicing asana. Why?

There are a number of very good reasons:

  1. The more contact you have with the ground, the more grounded you will feel.
  2. The better you feel the ground directly through your feet, the better your balance will be.
  3. Most people spend most of their day wearing shoes and socks. Free your feet! Let them breathe—they’ll thank you.
  4. One of the main benefits of asana practice is that the energy flow is improved. Every piece of restrictive clothing you wear inhibits that flow. Loose comfortable clothing is the best choice, and don’t wear anything you don’t need. Unless it’s really cold, I don’t wear socks. Period.

So, forget about the whole nudity / exploitation debate for a moment. What’s important in all this?

Answer: your practice.

If you were thinking of ordering some ToeSox, please ask yourself why.

Was it perhaps because you believe their website when it tells you that their “unique five-toe design” (LOL) “allows the entire foot to perform naturally”?

If so let me tell you: what helps the foot perform naturally is natural performance, which means naked.

Or could it be that you buy into their line: “Toe socks increase dexterity and tactile sensitivity and awareness during any activity”.

Sorry, they probably don’t. They will reduce your dexterity and tactile sensitivity, and lower your awareness.

Maybe you agreed with one of their official “reviewers” who said that: “ToeSox are here to free your little twinklers from traditional sock strain”.

To that, all I have to say is: ROFLMAO.

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