The halo effect of yoga. ~ Christine Shaefer

Via Recovering Yogi
on Sep 6, 2011
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 Originally published by our elephriends over at Recovering Yogi on August 29, 2011. 


The halo effect of yoga

By Christine Shaefer

Thirteen years ago I fell blissfully in love with something other than my husband and new baby.

The au courant thing in my life was a no-strings-attached union, one that was just for me, so of course at the time I devoured our stolen moments together — not just for the sake of my lifted postpartum hind quarters, but also because I was donning a shiny new Yoga Halo given to me by my vinyasa yoga practice.

I have always been a surly gal. I am swift with a quip or an all out jab, just for shits and giggles, but never to intentionally harm (unless I was pissed off first, and frankly, if so, that is what ya get sucker). However, something curious happened on my way to enlightenment. For some reason, about six months into my yoga practice, I became mellower. The little things that would fry my backside didn’t seem to sting quite as much. No longer was I popping off in traffic or making faces at the grouchy customer in front of me at Starbucks. My friends were aghast; my sister was appalled, and told me, and I quote, “Whoever you are, please tell Christine to come back from Planet Earth Mother, because we miss her.”

Was it dewy Mom bliss, or was I wearing a happy hat? Why was I soooo okay with just about everything these days? I agree that we all mellow with age; however, this was a more sudden effect: the halo effect of sucking down too much Shakti as I grasped for something that would set me apart from my wham, bam role as a wife and mom (both of which I loved — but this is a role that many times makes women beg the “Who am I?” question, rather than just enjoying the ride.)

Upon further reflection (and after I blew out my hip for the fourth time, thank you very much relaxin), I came to realize that my yoga halo could use a little tarnishing.

Like many other areas of my life, I was under the foolish belief that I had to do yoga perfectly, even if that meant losing my edge and adopting a laissez faire flow outside of the sultry bamboo walls of class.

For a while longer, my vinyasa-through-life worked… until one day when it didn’t anymore. I can clearly remember my tipping point. It was when one teacher called herself “a conduit of light to clear the negative energy from your chakras.” At that point, I thought: “Hold up! I am just fine, as I am, right now, in this moment.” Also, can a mama get her workout on without all of the added jargon? Can one both be a yogi and enjoy sarcasm? Why does this all have to be so deep and so serious? Should being a yogi make one numb to the human moments that we all have?

After this moment, I knew that I could be both a yogi and be true to myself. After a few more moments, I knew that it is okay for me to be irritated by Cape Cod traffic with a screaming baby in the car, or that it is more than fine to poke fun at life’s little bothers. While we are at it might I add that it is fucking A AWESOME to make fun of people who suck? Because in this surly yogi’s opinion all of the above is soul food!

That evening I chuckled the entire Savasana, both at myself for thinking that a simple thing like yoga could turn a mouthy East Coast girl like me in to a twirling Pollyanna, as well as at someone who would ever be ridiculous enough to call themselves a ‘conduit’ of anything.

About Christine Caira Schaefer

Christine Caira Schaefer is a happy wife and mom who lives in the suburban Boston area. When she isn’t chasing her pre-teen kids around, writing for her blog, cutting her clients’ hair, or trying her damndest to get into the clinical rotations that ALL nursing school candidates need, she enjoys working out, volunteering at her kids school, and decorating her home. While she doesn’t feel insane enough for a 7-day-a-week hot yoga practice, she arguably sees why it could be easier to check out and hit the mat while allowing her husband to man her tribe. More about Christine.



About Recovering Yogi

Far from the land of meaningless manifestation, vacuous positivity, and boring yoga speak lives Recovering Yogi, the voice of the pop spirituality counterculture and an irreverent forum where yogis, ex-yogis, never-yogis, writers, and readers converge to burst the bubble of sanctimonious rhetoric. We are critical thinkers and people who just love to laugh. Visit us on our web site for some straight talk, join the discussion on Facebook or Twitter, or buy a t-shirt and support our mission.


20 Responses to “The halo effect of yoga. ~ Christine Shaefer”

  1. chrissymom says:

    Thanks so much Christi….I am there for both as well….it is when yoga becomes something else….there is nothing spiritual about hopping up on a pedestal and being kooky….we are all here for a greater purpose….some however could be a tiny bit quieter about it 🙂

  2. chrissymom says:

    Actually Roger, I am there for both the spiritual as well as the physical aspect of asana… more one or the other given the day as each practice is different, however I just am so tired of the sell sell sell hootenanny that is so unbecoming to yoga…so yes, at times I am torn..and I question whether or not my 20 bucks was well spent if I have to listen to some crazy BS….Viva la difference indeed 🙂

  3. Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Bob W. Editor
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  4. chrissymom says:

    Thanks so much Kate! Shouldn't enlightenment begin with comfort in ones own skin?

  5. notarecoveringyogi says:

    Why are recovering yogis even writing for this site? Please recover elsewhere so we can enjoy our practices.

  6. warriorsaint says:

    Recovering yogi=keeping it real.

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

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  8. chrissymom says:

    Hysterical…sounds like ya might need to recover from the crAnkies if the opinions of others effect your practice 🙂

  9. chrissymom says:

    I love to keep it real 🙂

  10. Tanya Lee Markul says:

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

  11. SteveA says:

    Right Speech is certainly one of the hardest f*cking parts of the 8-fold path!


  12. chrissymom says:

    Right….??? Agree, disagree then go about your day….I also wonder why anyone would take the time to post something negative about the perspective of another anyway….hmmm mm I am all for conflict as it helps one grow, however to say who should or should not be writing for this site seems a tiny bit extreme and quite opposite of the yogic philosophy…idk…maybe it is also boredom 😉

  13. chrissymom says:

    Yay! Many thanks for such a great forum for writers!

  14. chrissymom says:

    Thanks so much <3

  15. […] The halo effect of yoga. ~ Christine Shaefer […]

  16. chrissymom says:

    Yes it is Steve…and I will shout it from the rooftops…I LOVE YOGA! My body and my mind adore the practice of yoga…what I cannot figure out is why people make such a fuss. Let people take what they need at the time from their practice, because no one is better at yoga…yoga should be individual…

  17. chrissymom says:

    Of course you should enjoy your practice! I love mine, and I love Yoga….I just don't love going in to a class to relax and connect to my body and my spirit to be told from the conduit of light that I need a Chakrah cleanse….because then I lose focus as I wonder about the teacher being like one of the Merry Maids of the 8 fold path…and then I laugh…look it isn't easy to get out and steal 90 minutes to myself. Attending a yoga class is a treat for me so I want to enjoy it, free from the barrage of what I view as weirdness….

  18. I am a yogi who lives in the world. My practice on the mat has taught me to be flexible in the body, mind and spirit. It is a practice, not a perfect. If we were all perfect, we couldn’t call it a yoga practice, could we? Thanks for the fun read…I also cuss and swear–I broke one day after an incident with a relative–and have not turned back…I am trying to reign it in again. I am all for the spiritual aspects of the practice. They have helped me become a better person, but I have also learned that it is a never-ending process and that just because I drop an F-bomb or two, or snark now and again, it doesn’t make me a bad yogi.

    Anyone ever attend a Bryan Kest workshop? So fun!

  19. chrissymom says:

    Good for you Janet!
    I would love to check Bryan out! He does sound like fun…and you nailed it! It is a practice..because what is perfect anyway? Life is supposed to be fun, right? Sometimes Fbombs are fun! Thanks so much for reading!

  20. […] The halo effect of yoga. ~ Christine Shaefer […]