Here’s a question: who are these people who find yoga fun and relaxing? I see them on magazine covers or in ads smiling and laughing while they do their poses and pretend that yoga is just so damned lovely it makes them incontinent of joy and probably incontinent with joy as well. I’ve got to tell you that those images of yoga good times make me feel like I’ve really gotten it wrong, as if there was something they forgot to tell me to do, recite a mantra maybe or visualize puppies, when I showed up for class.
I mean really, what do fresh yoga models know of life? The reality for most people doing yoga is that it’s neither fun nor relaxing. Try yoga after enduring any of the traumas visited on our bodies by life’s cold calculus, of which the following is only a tiny sampling: ACL replacements and hamstring tears, herniated discs, sprained ankles, angry SI joints, dislocated elbows, whiplash, broken kneecaps, inflamed bursas or frozen shoulders. Then show me the smiles and laughter as you try to persuade your body to bend, twist or balance.
What I’m certain is happening is the weeping, agonized faces of these models are being photo-shopped into oblivion, replaced by a sort of Stepford Yogis look intended to convince the doubters that “despite your dilapidation, yoga will permeate your soul causing unrestrained giddiness and laughter”. The yoga ads remind me of the demented grinning you see in photos from North Korea, where Kim Jong Un is surrounded by uniformed flunkies whose only hope is that if they smile harder than the next guy their Supreme Leader won’t annihilate them with an anti-aircraft gun or a pack of starving dogs.