Years ago, I had a profile on a dating site. My call sign was “champagnenyoga” which pretty much summed me up at the time.
In fact, it pretty much sums me up now. Still. AND, I’m still single. Go figure.
Anyway. The thing about that name was that I was always trying to find the balance between the rampant party girl in me – the one in the heels leaning over the bar trying to get the bartender’s attention to order another (yes, another) bottle (yes, a bottle) of champagne, or wine, or more cosmopolitans, or whatever, and the girl chanting ‘om’ three times a week in yoga class.
That girl, and the one who decided she wanted to be a yoga teacher, because maybe by learning to be a yoga teacher, and deepening her knowledge and practice of yoga, she would leave that girl at the bar behind. Or if not leave her behind, find a better version of her.
Have I succeeded? Well, I’m me, and that’s the only person I can be. I still love a bottle or two of champagne, and I still love yoga, and I’ve come to believe that (for me anyway) to force yourself into being someone you’re not is just as damaging as forcing yourself into a yoga pose that you’re either not ready for, or your body is just not cut out for.
I thought that I was probably not alone. I mean hundreds of thousands of people attend yoga classes every week around the world – it’s one of the fastest growing “sports” around.
In Australia, 3.3% of the (female) population said they participated in yoga, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Sports and Physical Recreation: A Statistical Overview, Australia, published in 2012. In the United States, 8.7% of the adults – that’s more than 20 million people – say they practice yoga.
Now, I’m thinking they can’t all be shunning alcohol and meat and late nights.
How do you balance being a serious yogi* or yogini** and modern life?
Is it necessary to shun the “naughty” things – and are they even naughty?
Is it essential to live a life of complete purity?
I’ll attempt to answer these questions and more in this series of posts by talking to yoga teachers and yoga students, people who practice a lot and people who practice a little. Maybe even nutritionists or Ayurvedic practitioners to gauge how to find that balance.
Let me know what you think.
*A person who is proficient in yoga
** The corresponding feminine yoga proficient