The time I wanted to slap the happy yoga unicorns.
Updated: Apr 16, 2020
It might be weird given I am a yoga teacher, but I have a love-hate relationship with yoga. Well not with yoga itself (which is the best thing ever. Obviously!), but with the language and vibe that can surround it. Sure, some days I am all hell yeah! burn me some sage, get me some crystals and let me channel my higher Shakti energy, and other times it all irritates me and I just want to work on my core strength whilst I grumpily wonder why my body is creaking and where the hell my butt disappeared to.
I lit up with the joy of recognition last week when Glennon Doyle described her first yoga class, feeling out of place and sceptical of the woo-woo, but desperately low and not knowing where else to turn. Sitting on her mat, wondering what fresh slice of hell this was, the teacher came in, sat cross-legged on her mat and asked everyone to set an intention for their practice. The first to raise her hand - a lady with many beads of course because, umm yoga! - said, “it is my intention to radiate sunlight to all sentient beings”, and then everyone else proceeded to offer some “unicorn shit intention just like that”. Glennon’s first response was to decide her intention would be not to stab everyone in the room to death.
I laughed hard because so often I have sat in a yoga class and wanted to start throwing yoga blocks at people who spoke dreamily of their light-radiating hearts when that was so far from the sticky, desperate depths of what I myself was living . When my mental health was in tatters, I would muster all my emotional energy to drag myself to my yoga studio only to arrive, freeze with dread at the thought of having to sit alone with my thoughts on a yoga mat for an hour, and walk straight back out the door home again. If I did make it in to a class, the last thing I needed to hear was about people channelling moonbeams and shooting rainbows from their heart chakras. I just wanted to make it through class without losing my shit and get to night time so I could cross one more day off my list.
Nowadays, I am much more open to the spiritual side of yoga (I even own beads!). Intrigued and grateful even. But I wasn’t when I started practising and I certainly have days where it still makes me irritable. I know plenty of yogis who just aren’t interested in that side of the practice at all. The sum of it for me is that in the end, yoga changed my life, a hundred times over. It saved Glennon Doyle’s life. No matter where we are at along the Unicorn Woo-Woo Spectrum (yeah that’s a thing), yoga is big enough to make room for all of us. Man, I myself run up and down that spectrum like its exercise in itself within one day! Some days I feel like I am bubbling over with joy and love and light for all mankind, and other days I am frustrated and bitter and want to eye-poke anyone overly chipper who even mentions their heart chakra. Maybe it’s okay that we are sometimes a bunch of contradictions and all we can do is go with what we bring to the table that day. You do you, and I’ll do me and some of us will be unicorns and some of us wont be and will want to punch the unicorns. And that’s okay.