They would be wrong.
For my part, I have tried to give up cursing. I gave it up for Lent one year, but failed. Miserably. I tried to “Oh my gosh” my way to success in Los Angeles, but failed at that too.
In fact, I have lived in many places, but none were as difficult as my time in California. As a displaced New Yorker, I did not drive. I would rather read a book than see a movie, and the F-Bomb is by far my favorite word. Three strikes; I am shocked they did not throw me out.
There are two kinds of Californians: There are the ones on TV in the “Kardashians” who curse with relish and who do not exist in the real world. Then there are others who have children, are religious, and do not—ever—curse. Those would be the Californians who very much exist in the real world.
I learned this the hard way years ago when volunteering at pre-school. I was making new friends when I accidentally dropped a tray (and that was not all I dropped).
Me: “Oh shit.”
Parent: “Did you say shoot?”
Me: “Oh my God, I did not say shoot.”
Parent: (Aghast) “We say, ‘Oh My Gosh.’”
Me: “What the [email protected]?” She is lucky I did not add, “Bitch.”
So it was with dismay that I realized that there are some in the yoga world who are also either from California or have just never encountered a New York yogi.
Many yogis will tell you that it is not yogic to curse. Their argument is that the language is harsh, probably sexist, and objectifies something. Therefore it causes harm. I will tell you that I have read the Yoga Sutras many times, and nowhere do I see mention of the word “F*&k.”
On the other hand, I see “Ahimsa,” which means do not pass judgment on those who curse.
Here is a primer on how to curse, because if I wasn’t the “Yogi Muse,” I would definitely be the “Cursing Yogi” if there was a market in that.
How to Curse Like a Yogic Sailor.
There is a skill to using the F-word. Do not tell a story about enlightenment, and then out of the blue drop the bomb. It’s too unnatural. If you are going to curse, it’s like voting in the South—do it early and do it often. Otherwise, stick with the lighter stuff like, “Oh my stars.”
Dropping the F-bomb needs to be completely authentic. If you want examples, I recommend the movie, “Get Shorty,” where you can practice the following, 100% accurate quote from Ray “Bones” Barboni: “F*ck you, you f*cking f*ck ball.” That’s genius.
Try not to curse if you teach yoga. I actually hardly ever curse in class anymore because you can be fired for that even if you’re not in California.
However, I love certain teachers for their willingness to drop a bomb in class. So in effect, I see the good in both sides and I’m not taking a stand, which is very yogic.
If you write a book that used the F-word, and people say you should die because you cursed with the sacred practice of yoga, say “Thank you.” Thank you is the new [email protected]#k you. I am going to trademark that.
However, if the uber-yogic yoga police come after you because you cursed, don’t tell them “Thank you,” because they won’t get it. So for those people, you want to say “F*ck you.” And, “Have a nice day,” because you are, after all, a yogi.
Lastly, it’s not as important whether or not you curse, as it is that you try to care for others, and that you leave the world a better place. Then the Divine might forgive the occasional bomb. If not, then find a place that welcomes sinners on the mat and I will meet you there.
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Editor: Travis May
Photo: Wiki Commons