“Hey Leslie! Where are you teaching yoga these days?” – everyone, anywhere that I ever come in contact with that knows I did yoga in the past but continually ignores the fact (even though I’ve told them at least a million times) that I no longer teach yoga, or really even do yoga for that matter.
I started taking (“practicing” is a word I’m retiring right along with “playa” because Burning Man is annoying) yoga in the late nineties. I became obsessed and continued on to teach yoga, attend infinity yoga teacher trainings and workshops, and even open up my own studio. But all that has changed. I have since stopped taking yoga, teaching yoga, attending yoga teacher trainings and workshops, and owning my own yoga studio. And if things continue the way they are now, I don’t see that shifting anytime soon. Or ever, really.*
The current state of my relationship with yoga (or lack thereof) isn’t new. For all intents and purposes, I haven’t touched a mat or lit a Nag Champa stick in over two years. And although I do still enjoy doing the occasional yoga class and wish I could get to the studio more often, my primary involvement with it at this juncture is to point and laugh.
I haven’t made my departure from yoga a secret. In fact, I’ve made it pretty public (obvi). Every time someone asks me about yoga, I tell him or her that I no longer do it and haven’t really done it in years. When they ask if I know someone in the yoga community, I say I don’t because I haven’t been in that world in years. I’ll even go so far as to round out my answer with a few complaints about how much my back hurts and my posture sucks because I’m so out of the yoga loop, just to drive the point home. But, it doesn’t matter. For some reason, people just will not get it. Each time I talk to people about yoga, it’s the same old set of questions, to no avail.
Contrary to popular belief, yoga is not a virus that you can’t shake, people.
It’s not as if once you get the yoga bug, you can’t un-get it like, say, mouth herpes, hepatitis C, or the clap (not really the case with the clap, but it’s just so fun to say). People can actually just stop doing yoga even if it was their whole identity for ten-plus years. They can roll up their mat, donate all of their yogic texts, retire their lulus, and let the whole thing go. Just. Like. That.
*As for why I stopped doing yoga, the reasons are varied and banal. It’s not really important. The point is, I stopped. End of story. And no amount of breathing more or going with it or getting up earlier or being more open minded or blah blah blah is going to change that fact. So, be a lamb and leave it at that. Mmkay?
Artwork by: Vanessa Fiola