Picking up on yesterday’s post, (and YD and BB‘s previous bits), we come to the phenomenon known as “yoga posing.” We’ve all seen it: that photo gallery on some yoga practitioner’s website demonstrating asanas that supposedly represent dedicated practice (when really we know 9/10 of it comes from a previous life as a dancer). Don’t get me wrong, I know a lot of people say the postures don’t matter when it comes to asana yoga, and I think that’s kinda BS. Asanas bring you to the (un)comfortable edges of your very being. And, while maintaining sthirum sukham asanam may be fantastic in whatever the hell variation of whatever the hell “restorative” asana this is supposed to be….
…or this comfy take on janushirasana A…
…from a psychosomatic perspective, I still think working toward this…
…will get you somewhere even more special than farting while you sleep.
Nevertheless, this “rock your asana” absurdity has just gotta go, son. Trouble is, it ain’t goin’ nowhere until a little something called the “yoga scene” goes first. ‘Cause guess what. “Rocking” asanas like your coochie’s wrapped around a stripper pole is entirely dependent on the presence of commercial pop yoga culture.
Huh? My coochie’s doing what???
To better understand how this works it makes sense to look at the situation from a different subcultural perspective.
First, imagine you’re part of the art world. Now, how do you think you go about defining yourself as such? Obviously, few people are comfortable simply being a voyeur or art tourist. On the contrary! You’d rather be someone who does something. For instance, you might be a collector who chooses just the right pieces to cover your high-ceiling walls….
Or, perhaps, if you’re one of the lucky ones, you get to be an artist yourself!…
Ultimately, the way people know any of this about you is by seeing what it is you produce, that is, what your commodity is. Either you show off your collection, you give people links to your articles, or you have art openings of your own. That’s how you visibly participate in the culture of art.
Participating in yoga culture works in a similar fashion. And, why wouldn’t it? The culture of yoga is first and foremost a scene. The product, yoga, is merely the medium through which the scene arises. Literally, anything could take its place. That being the case, in order to fully participate in yoga culture you best have something to show for it. You need a commodity. For some it’s saying “Namaste” after every sentence, a practice that even those comfortable with the ubiquitous punchline can find annoying. And yet, who could deny that demonstrating feats of asana brilliance is one of the quickest, most conversation-stopping, ways to show your allegiance. You don’t have to say much. You simply bust out a sick back bending sequence (preferably in an ironic environment)…
…and everyone knows, “Oh. She has a great yoga practice.” Done! You’re in the club.
The point being: so long as you prop up anything called a “yoga scene,” or invest in what has come to be known as the commercial culture of yoga, you should expect to see this….
…and a lot more of it.
But, for goodness sake, don’t get all bent out of shape over it. As far as We Babarazzi are concerned, all of this is just spectacle. It has nothing to do with one’s personal practice any more than some meditation flash mob does….
Or was that a Karate Kid flash mob?
And that’s the pushing back. Just deny that it has anything whatsoever to do with your yoga practice and then go play for weeks in the sandbox of spiritual materialism. It’s just social fodder. Busy work for people who want to pose as something that differentiates them. In the end, this is what scenes are for. Posturing. Pretending. You wear the clothes. You buy the products. You perform the postures. That’s how you identify as a member. That’s how you claim your place.
Drop your identification with the scene, however, and you’ll find yourself without much to prove.
And, “things” start to become burstingly open-ended.
And, life gets really colorful.