I don’t know about your neighbourhood, but here in Vancouver, the vibe is pretty chill. Chill Winston, if you know what I mean, enhanced with copious amounts of Patchouli and a whole new generation of hippy-esque truth seekers. So it’s no wonder that the area has seen a gradual resurgence of a certain centuries-old practice, along with an additional contemporary dose of big business product lines. Paradoxically.
Yes, Yoga is back! And this time, it’s taking the capitalistic route. Namaste That, target consumer group!
Grab a mat and let’s get started. (They’re 30 bucks each, unless you want the good kind), and don’t forget your Lululemon spiritually enlightened apparel! That’ll be an extra hundred bucks for the pants, eighty bucks for a top, and make sure to purchase as many outfits as there are days in the week. So that’s $1,500.00 after taxes, but before studio enrolment, of course.
You know, I’ve never really completely understood the allure of uniting body, mind, spirit and emotions in public arenas, by way of a communal “downward dog” and a communal “being a tree”. And I especially can’t wrap my head around pursuing such heights of multi-tasking contortionism in a jam-packed room that reeks of sweat, and feet, and yes, the dreaded Patchouli.
But I seem to be in the minority.
What is it about Yoga that has drawn the bulk of this city’s population into its embrace with the absolute fortitude of fly paper? And why does everyone keep trying to convince me that Bikram or Hatha is exactly what I need. Bikram or Hatha is not exactly what I need, unless of course, Bikram or Hatha is an ice cold beer! (But that’s not what I tell those kooky friends of mine who…simply want to help, that’s all).I tell them that I’m too busy to slow down for meditational poses, regardless of what they allegedly did for Madonna’s triceps, and that I once read that people who practice Yoga, without fully understanding the psychosomatic elements therein, risk damaging their brains. That’s what I tell them.
Could somebody please explain to me the appeal of a perfect stranger’s sweat-soaked crack being pushed straight into my forehead as said stranger relaxes into “child’s pose”. And in a 90 degree studio, no less! What the…? That’s not enlightenment you’re experiencing mister, it’s variations upon delirium. If there’s going to be any bums in my face, in 90 degree environs, it’s going to be in the midst of a luxuriously bubbly hot tub, with free flowing champagne and a side of perfectly chiseled Tom-Triathlete.
And what’s the deal with you super-enthusiasts? It’s a bit horrifying, actually, to witness the the total obliteration of the Caucasian self as it consciously appropriates the South East Yogi self, complete with towering turban and Sanskrit haberdashery. Isn’t that the very antithesis of the original Yoga philosophy? Mind you, who am I to say? Maybe it’s a rite of passage and I, being the proud occupant of the lowest rung of the spiritual actualization ladder, can’t be expected to comprehend.
Yup, I don’t get it.
But that’s ok.
Because there’s something very comforting about walking the quiet shores of Spanish Banks in a $20.00 pair of shorts and a crappy old t-shirt. The air is fresh, the sun is warm, and the unifying effect on my body, my mind, my spirit and my emotions – pocket-book wholly intact – is truly transcendent.