I recently went to a yoga workshop, thinking it would be about cultivating community. It was only when I rolled my mat out and looked around me that I realised I was alone. And worse than that, I was alone in a room with a bunch of shiny happy yoga people!
They all seemed to know each other and were happily waving and chatting and stretching their impossibly long legs and showing off their impossibly skinny bellies as they stretched. And I just sat there with a bright red face because I had been running around looking for the place beforehand and because I knew none of these shiny happy yoga people. And they seemed to want to keep their shiny happiness for each other rather than shining in the direction of someone they didn’t know.
After a bit of mat shuffling which left me feeling even more pushed over to the corner we started the class and it was a lovely flowing sequence that didn’t hurt as much as I thought it might! However, while I felt nicely stretched in my body, the class left me feeling bad emotionally. In fact, since the class ended I have had a lingering sense of envy about these shiny happy yoga people and their sense of community which felt more like superiority.
Then I wonder is this envy because I want to be one of the shiny happy yoga people? Of course, it is! I’d love to have a beautifully toned body, a husband who played live music in my workshops, the ability to attract almost forty people to my yoga classes, the audacity to think I would have something to teach them that they couldn’t get for free off the Internet, and the sense of entitlement that would allow me to take all this stuff without question.
Maybe that’s the difference between me and the Shiny Happy Yoga People – I question everything and they question nothing. They take it for granted that life is supposed to be like this. When things like this happen to me I begin to question my sanity. Is this real or am I just manic? Is this real or am I just depressed? I have this never-ending questioning happening in my head and I envy people who seem so self-assured in their community.
Article Photo Credit: Chris Downey.