How The Holidays Are Ruining Yoga
Every year, the holidays piss me off.
Or to be more accurate, it's the rhetoric of food and fitness melancholy that pisses me off. And every year I make a vow to myself to stay on my high-horse of recovery and not let the holiday meal self-loathers and compensatory exercisers get the best of me.
I usually fail.
Now before I lose you, let me clarify things a bit — I love food and I do love the holidays.
And most of all, I love that I've recovered from an eating disorder and have yoga-ed (and wrestled) myself back to feeling the joy of celebrating and feeling fulfilled. Over time, I've learned to decouple food from the jails called 'good' and 'bad', choosing instead to let food lie in the house called "nourishment." I've learned to love the breath and heartbeat of things. I've learned to apply yoga to all aspects of my life.
But when I pulled up a not-to-be-named yoga website after Thanksgiving, I saw something that really pissed me off.
"An all-around flow that geared towards burning off the bird, post turkey day! We begin on our backs to wring out the laziness and make our way into a modified Surya Namaskar A. … Down with tryptophan my fellow yogis!!!!"
What. The. F*ck.
Where is the ahimsa? Where is the love?
It's time to stop turning a blind eye to the perils of fitness and food marketing that come with our season of jollyness. It's time to stop ignoring how these cheap ploys that tug on our insecurities are infiltrating our practice. It's time to say NO to the messages of "burning off" our holidays, as if we've committed some unpardonable sin by sullying our bodies with enjoyable food and company. Come on, yogis!
As a community, it's time to stop the exchange of disordered rhetoric, prescription of compensatory behaviors and latent, self-loathing that is being marketed in our practice.
It's time we stop to say,"That's NOT yoga." LOUDLY.
Simply put, every time we speak in terms that portray food and exercise as mandatory or reward, we are creating a conditionality within ourselves; we are latently affirming a message of: You are not good enough as you are.
Recovered, I know that this language is not only maladaptive, but that it also reinforces a dangerous ideal.
Remember that yoga is the experience and deep understanding that not only are we good enough — we are also divine.
So here is my wish for all of us: Be completely fulfilled as YOU.
Every time you nosh, every time you unroll your sweet body for some yoga — be fulfilled.
Be fulfilled when your belly feels delightfully satisfied with your mama's love-imbued holiday pie. Be fulfilled when you stretch your body simply because if feels good. And don't let the haters (or marketers!) tell you anything different.
In fact, it's time we tell them something different.
Photo by Lindsay France