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Being a Reactionary

Posted Jan 22 2012 11:13pm
Reactionary: one who responds to a situation, person, or circumstance, oftentimes quickly without forethought. [Please note that this is the blogger's definition and Webster is not resposible for this hack job]

One of the reasons I love yoga and meditation is because both provide the practitioner with something very important -- space. There's nothing quite like getting quiet, calming the mind, and taking a pause. That ever-important pause is that prevents us from being a reactionary and saying the hurtful comment or acting rashly or making the mistake in haste. 

Of course assumptions and judgment happen, regardless of how much time one spends on a yoga mat and/or meditation cushion. I certainly am far from perfect. Yet, every now and again, I am heartened when I notice myself noticing when I'm assuming and/or judging. 

Just last week I wrote a post and made a statement that could easily be construed as meaning a certain thing. In fact, some people that know me (or perhaps they don't really) jumped to the obvious conclusion, when, in my opinion, should have known better. This happens quite a bit. Often people think they know me because they read my blog or read my updates on Facebook. Yes, my blog posts do reflect who I am, but they also don't divulge every detail about my personal life. Regardless of my being a blogger and a user of social media, I still think that some things are private and sacred and I don't share them with the world at large.

That being said, it's not uncommon for me to write something that sounds like one thing when it really means another. That's my sly way of telling the truth without divulging everything about my personal life. Interestingly enough, a close friend of mine knew exactly what I was referencing in the blog post. She knew that it wasn't about a love relationship -- or at least not the type one would expect. Yet so many people jumped to the conclusion that it was. One person, in fact, had a very strong reaction to the statement I made, which I found disappointing. 

Regardless of my years of a regular yoga practice, I am not above being a reactionary myself. Just over a week ago, I saw the Yoga by Equinox video that yogi Kathryn Budig defends here . Why would a brief yoga video need defending, you ask? Perhaps because it shows a scantily clad yoga teacher -- Equinox's Briohny Kate-Smyth practicing in her bedroom?

My first reaction to the video was quite interesting. I thought that the video was beautiful -- Briohny Kate-Smyth is a delight to watch. The scantily clad part didn't bother me at all -- I think that bodies are beautiful, and I thought it was lovely to see Briohny proudly sharing hers with us. Briohny's yoga prowess is impressive. And that's where I noticed myself cringing just a bit inside.

It's not about showing one's body. Heck, I can't tell you how many pictures I've seen of ancient Indian men practicing in little more than a loincloth. What made me a bit uneasy about the video was the perfection and acrobatic nature of it. Is this what people think yoga should be? Do they watch this beautiful, strong, supple body practicing challenging poses and think, "I could never do that." 

Of course this has nothing to do with Briohny or her lovely video. This is what I think is a common problem with yoga in the world today -- the perception that you have to look a certain way or have a certain body or be physically fit to practice yoga. I want to see some yoga misfit videos with fat rolls and inflexible bodies and basic asana rather than complex feats of strength and flexibility. 

Just because one is a yoga teacher does not mean that he/she has to be physical perfection personified or be able to perform each posture flawlessly. No, this isn't Bikram's Yoga Olympics. This is life. This is imperfection. This is yoga, which is accessible and can be practiced by anyone (even someone who is bedridden). Perhaps it's time for us to take off our masks, as this wonderful blog post calls us to do .

So yes, I, too, am a reactionary at times. I sure am better than I used to be in this regard. I'm no longer the knee-jerk queen. But creating more space certainly isn't a bad thing.

Namaste!

 

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