I was doing yoga this morning. Yep, just putting it out there. I was doing yoga, not only once, but twice!
I’m doing this yoga not for my body, but for my C-PTSD. It just helps. I pick a video sequence that suits my energy level, and I follow along. Yesterday, due to some devastating news that I will maybe discuss another day, I was in a stunned haze. My stress and anxiety and hypervigilance were over the top and so I did yoga three times in the day. Three.
And so, this morning, I thought of something. I thought back to my years in university when the teacher (a woman) scorned yoga for its cultural appropriation, for its shallowness, and for its lululemon pants. And I thought of how much good this video, a calm video discussing awareness and energy and breath more than any physical aims, was helping my mindfulness and ease my anxiety. And I had an enlightened thought. Just one.
Fuck you if you hate yoga.
Because you know what? Yoga in the west is largely a woman’s thing. It is a safe, gentle space for women to come together and embrace their bodies. It is largely practiced by victims of violence as a means of overcoming trauma. It’s recommended by doctors and touted by energy healers and survivors of violence as well as war veterans. And you know what? Yoga clothing embraces a female body without pinching or fat shaming.
So all this hatred towards yoga is largely misogynistic victim hating. Making fun of mindfulness and the loving self-help incorporated into yoga is ridiculously harmful when it’s exactly the sort of thing that doctors prescribe for us survivors.
Is there yoga that’s cultural appropriation? Sure, but I’ve also seen yoga that is very respectfully done, thank you very much. Is there yoga that is performed solely for physical gains? Of course. But I think it says something that one of the highest ranked videos on youtube when I simply typed in ‘yoga’, talked entirely about spirituality, self love, and mindfulness.
And you know what else? I’m sick of female culture being pushed down on. I’m sick of things women like and do being touted as ‘silly’ or ‘shallow’ when it’s the farthest thing from it.
So yes, I’m practicing yoga – a lot of yoga – to try and get better. It’s my form of self care. And I do it in leggings and its comfy as can be.