“I never wish to be easily defined. I’d rather float over other people’s minds as something strictly fluid and non-perceivable; more like a transparent, paradoxically iridescent creature rather than an actual person.”
~ Franz Kafka
I fear the word yoga, burdened as it is with the weight of its implied significance. Something about the way it’s flaunted in public like the spiritual version of a designer handbag makes me feel a bit ill. When I think of yoga, I think of Bieber Fever and the masses so desperate to be told what to believe that they fall for an image, too cute to be true.
Here’s how I imagine yoga class: a roomful of blond women, impossibly perfect, looking down with pity at my sad attempts at appearing worthy of being in the same room as them, much less participating in their cliquish sport.
I fear herd mentality and fitting in at the cost of losing myself. Or worse—being rejected by the herd.
These fears, I know, say a lot about me and nothing at all about yoga per se, as yoga doesn’t really exist. The word yoga is an empty signifier, pointing only to an idea of yoga—my idea of yoga, in this case. There is no independent entity, nothing solid there, only a slippery word in shifting contexts between people, across time.
All this thinking about yoga reminds me that my fear of looking like an idiot in front of a group of people still exists.
Imagining myself ‘appearing to try’ yoga in front of a bunch of strangers with (alleged) spiritual superiority complexes is mortifying on more than one level.
“When you don’t cover up the world with words and labels, a sense of the miraculous returns to your life.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
My own hypocrisy is not lost on me. While I consider my anti-labelness one of the only defining aspects of my personality, I’m also aware that insisting there’s a meaningful distinction between labels and anti-labels and yoga and not-yoga perpetuates the very me vs. them dualistic attitude I’ve been attacking so rudely.
But all this aside, I think I’d probably quite like yoga.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: Nikki Hoffman / Flickr