Greasers, Rejects, and Hipster Doofuses! Come sit with me! ~ Dani McGuire

Via elephant journal
on Apr 30, 2011
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Cliques haven’t been left in the past quite yet…

Back in high school, I was a bit of a loner. With all the groups to choose from, I could never fully immerse myself into one. I loved to dance and I was a cheerleader, so I could mingle with the popular kids, but felt extremely shy and insecure around this “In-crowd.” I could hang out with the “bad girls” and try a puff of a cigarette, but I was always too much of a “goodie two shoes” to last.

Mostly, I liked sitting next to the rejects, nerds, and hipster doofuses. It was a chance for me to just let go of the need to be someone else and just be myself.

Today, I’ve had just as hard of a time choosing a Yoga “Group” to hang out with. I am inspired by the open-hearts of the Anusara Yogis, the dedication of the Ashtanga Yogis, and the approachability of the Viniyoga Yogis. I always feel a little like I did after a night of hanging with the stoners after a Kundalini session, but I love them and that practice too. There are so many choices, that sometimes I feel like I am back in high school trying to decide what crowd to follow.

I am drawn to the devotion and movement I find in the Prana Flow style, developed by Shiva Rea. This style always feels most liberating to my body and playful spirit. Although, as I attended my last training with her, I couldn’t help but feel like I did every day at 3:45pm cheerleading practice; the women at this workshop and the few men were perfectly primped, styled, and sleeked for the yoga practice. From manicure to pedicure, sporting Om symbols on their long nails. Many even had accents.

I wish I had an accent…maybe I should just make one up.

I started to feel myself sinking into my yoga mat, and not in a good way—in the judgmental, “I don’t belong here” kind of way. Thankfully, from years of practice, I was able to let go of that dirty little voice of judgment and just be comfortable in my own skin. After all, I was judging everyone else because of my insecurities.

Photo: lululemon athletica

Prior to the last retreat I went on with this group, I hid in the background until, to save energy and fuel, I decided to carpool with a couple of these “Shiva Divas.” I was forced out of my comfort zone and loner mentality, and into making conversation and friendships.

On the last night, one of the Shiva Divas told me that she was glad to have gotten to know me. She mentioned that she would have just had this image of me as a nice girl that smiles a lot, instead of the…(a little mystery is good-what happens in LA, stays in LA).

It was true—these “Shiva Diva” friends of mine were so much more than what was portrayed on their beautiful outsides. One had been through the cancer journey, and another one had amazing adventures traveling the world through her photography art.

When I first began this yoga journey, I thought that we were all the dejected, depressed, loners, or hippies in high school that desperately needed something to tell us we are ok as we are. As yoga has become part of pop culture and attracted the popular girls, it has broken off into groups, and become part of mass marketing, I realize that no matter what group we belong to, we all need to be reminded that we are okay as we are.

The reason I could never commit to a “group” was because I did not want to be a follower, but I was also missing out on the sadhana (community), and depth of relationships that is an important part of our practice. By sitting with different teachers and groups, I have realized that we are all the same.

As I sat listening to my teacher talk, this time I did not hear some ethereal yogini speaking.

I heard Truth.

Truth that had passed over my Viniyoga teachers, Integral teachers, Anusara teachers, Ashtanga teachers, and my own lips. The Truth of Yoga is that we are all the same in different packages. Still, I think I am a Hipster-Doofus at heart.


Dani McGuire is a yoga teacher and asana addict that loves Love, Life, Family, Food, God, and, of course, Yoga. “Since I am unable to quiet the mental chatter and control thirst for earthly pleasures I live, write, and laugh and my human-ness.”


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5 Responses to “Greasers, Rejects, and Hipster Doofuses! Come sit with me! ~ Dani McGuire”

  1. jen says:

    Beautiful! I agree that yoga can seem kind of clique-y at times, but once you get to know the people around you, you realize many of them are awesome. When we strip away all of our crap, we are all just people, and it is important to remember that

  2. AMO says:

    As teachers and studio owners this is poignant and timely. We can read this, remember how we've sometimes like the "outsider" in a new class, a new practice, a new studio, and make mental note to be VERY welcoming to new comers. I gave a women's sexuality retreat in San Diego a few years ago. One of the wonderful things we did for the women was to hire my friend Karen Abbott to come and give a gorgeous gentle body embracing yoga class. One of the women came to me before the yoga class panicked. She said, "Annie! I didn't know we'd be doing yoga! I'm scared! I've never done it before and I'm afraid I'll do it wrong, or look stupid, or that I won't even be able to do it because I'm the fattest person here!" She wasn't fat by the way, just curvy, though by happenstance she was what I might have called the "thickest" woman in the room, she was gorgeous. We took some breaths together, I walked her over and introduced her to Karen who made her feel SO welcome and safe. It had, until that moment, been a long time since I'd considered that some people are actually afraid of yoga. That woman does yoga regularly today, but had she not been in a place where it was on the menu along with other things she might not have tried it. I know she took her first few classes with Karen, and that Karen encouraged her to find a studio near her home. I hope all the teachers in the world can remember that when we see our favorite students, people we've known for years, maybe trained with, maybe traveled with, and we greet them with enthusiasm (which we should by the way) – to be aware of who's watching and how it might come across as being a little "clique-y" to someone who thinks they just don't know the secret handshake…

  3. Love this article, Dani. Very well done.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Bob W.
    Yoga Editor

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

  5. Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.