In any case, continuing with the whole yoga as (not) self-expression conversation, I just read the latest post on the Babarazzi about this subject. As always, the people at the Babarazzi (what do they call themselves? "Babs"?) have pulled off a scathingly witty critique of contemporary commercial yoga culture; which is something that I, with my long-winded ponderous meandering writing style, can never hope to aspire to. In this latest post, the Babs make the following astute observation about commercial yoga culture:
"It’s pretty hard to find moments when we aren’t expressing ourselves. For instance, when we help a homeless man covered in a million bags hop a turnstile, we’re expressing our love of a thrifty deal... Self-expression seems to be a pretty f’ing constant occurrence.
Commercial yoga culture uses the ubiquity of self expression as a way to make yoga culture forever relevant to consumers by defining “yoga” as the very thing we can never not do. It’s a wondrous logical coup that allows commercial yoga culture to package and sell back to consumers whatever it is they want, and at the same time call it “yoga.” Think about it: If self-expression is all we ever do, and yoga is self-expression, than yoga is by definition anything you ever feel like doing.
- If painting is a form of self-expression, than painting is yoga.
- If dancing is a form of self-expression, than dancing is yoga.
- If singing is a form of self-expression, than singing is yoga."
I think you know where this is going: We can easily extend the logic of this argument in some very interesting directions. If we were to take the notion that self-expression is all we ever do to its literal conclusion, then every single thing that we do in our lives is, by default, self-expression. So we get:
If taking a shit is self-expression, then taking a shit is yoga.
And maybe, come to think of it, taking a shit is yoga. After all, I have often wondered about the laxative effects of the Ashtanga practice. Okay... but here's something else that the Babs wrote:
Personally, I don’t really get the arguments laid out above that are pro-yoga-as-self-expression. It’s kinda like saying, “Eating a banana is the same as sucking a penis, ’cause both go in your mouth.”
Well, I really don't know if eating a banana is the same as sucking a penis, although there is probably good reason to believe that at least some of the same muscles that are involved in the former action are also involved in the latter. But here's something else to think about: If every single thing that we do in our lives is self-expression, then we would have:
If sucking a penis is self-expression, then sucking a penis is yoga.
Now, now... wouldn't this be a great idea for a new yoga style that caters to a particular fetish? Yoga for Penis-suckers, anybody? And notice that the enterprising yoga-preneur can actually create two different fetish yogas out of this one notion: There can be (1) Yoga for people who are into sucking that particular part of the male anatomy, and (2) Yoga for people who are suckers about that part of the male anatomy. The possibilities are endless...