November 29, 2011

Long ago and far away yoga. ~ Kate Stone

 Originally published by our elephriends over at Recovering Yogi on November 21, 2011. 

Long ago and far away yoga.

By Kate Stone

Once upon a time, in the attic of a converted ballet studio, I took a yoga class. I don’t know what “style” it was, which “school” it belonged to. It was called “yoga.” That’s it. We practiced on recycled carpet squares. I wore bicycle shorts and a leotard.

Given that it was 1993, I also wore an oversized t-shirt and a fanny pack on my way to class. And jelly sandals. What?

Fast-forward to yesterday. In the fourth room of a studio solely designed for yoga, I took a yoga class. A heated Power Vinyasa class. I set up in the back of the room with my Jade mat and my Yogitoes towel. I wore head-to-toe Lulu.

Given that it is 2011, I also wore my iPod for the walk over. And fancy running sneakers.

Is this the natural progression of a phenomenon? Is this what happens when an inherently capitalist society bites into a cultural trend? Somehow, in the span of 18 years, instead of riding your bike to yoga with just your keys, you now need to pack a diaper bag of the following things to go to class:

  1. A mat. Not just any mat, but a non-slip, over-large mat made of recycled materials. If you bring a sticky mat from Target, you may as well have just worn the fanny pack.
  2. A towel. Because if you don’t spend $85 on nubbin-appliquéd terrycloth and instead bring a beach towel, or one from your bathroom, you will have to be in the back of the room. Because everyone will laugh at you.
  3. A block. Especially if you don’t actually need it. Because then you can display it and actively avoid it and everyone will know how bendy and awesome at yoga you are.
  4. A strap. It’s the same as the block, but more pronounced when you start to use it for King Dancer and then dramatically drop it to the floor in declaration of achieving the pose with just your hands.
  5. A sustainable water bottle. If you’re not in a hot class, then you really didn’t do anything. And if you’re in a hot class with a plastic water bottle, then you basically just stabbed the Earth in the heart.
  6. An outfit entirely from Lululemon. Because ruffles make your practice more defined. And even though hot classes make Luon stink like you stuffed your crotch with onions, leggings from Old Navy will garner the evil eye from the front row of yogis.

Once upon a time, I went to a yoga class as a twelve year old and felt like I did yoga.

Yesterday, I went to a yoga class as an adult. With my Jade mat that I won in a contest. And my off-brand Yogitoes. Wearing my Lulu that I bought at discount when I worked at their store.

Yesterday, I went to yoga class as an adult and felt like I pretended to fit in with the cool kids in middle school.

About Kate Stone

Kate started taking yoga in middle school as a rebellious move against sports camp. After years of gymnastics, not having to flip over after a backbend was a relief, and the practice stuck. After college, Kate moved to Chicago to teach mean children how to read. She was marginally successful but felt severely, physically ill-equipped to deal with the fighting in her classroom. As someone who takes things literally, she became a personal trainer. Kate spent eight years in Chicago working in gyms, bars and museums, feeling like she was supposed to have a real job. Last year she realized she doesn’t ever want one of those. Kate spent all of her money on yoga training, and is now a yoga teacher, writer and bartender living in Boston.


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