I started taking yoga classes when I was 14 in 1987. Yoga wasn’t popular, cheap or advertised on every corner of the city. It was taught by people who had studied in India for years, sometimes decades who used words no one had ever heard. It was straight forward, holistic and weird. Things like chakras were a completely foreign concept concept to me and many of the studios had strange little altars with photographs of a man in a turban with a very long beard surrounded by candles.
I liked it because of the weird, foreign factor and it made me feel fantastic afterwards. When I went off to college 4 years later I stopped my sporadic practice and focused on partying, I mean studying.
Fast forward eight years, a college degree and one baby later. I was ready to find another incense filled studio and om my way back to serenity. I was shocked to discover there were now three studios within walking distance from my house!
Enter the spandex.
My yoga was gone. It had been absorbed and bastardized by the fitness industry. Everyone now wore spandex and had gear marketed to them by said fitness industry. Gone were the loose fitting cotton clothing, the candle lit night classes on the full moon and worst of all the truly knowledgeable instructors. Now every aerobics instructor could take a 6 week course and teach something called “power yoga” which didn’t resemble my old classic yoga in any way.
I tried to seek out the more hippie, traditional teachers and once ended up in a class where a woman I structured me to breathe through my vagina… Surely all of India was laughing hysterically at how the Americans and McDonalds-ized yoga.
No matter what, yoga was something I loved before it became lululemoned and today I went to a Hathaway yoga class at my gym. My spine and hips have never fully recovered from my accident and I thought I would give it a shot. I was thrilled to find a woman teaching it who was wonderful! And more importantly she didn’t say vagina once. Maybe I will go back and see her again.