or SH*T Middle-Aged Yogis Say.
When I first found my way to Facebook, I reveled in the ability to reconnect with long lost friends — suffice it to say that thrill is gone. But a few short years ago in my Facebook halcyon days, I found myself friending a woman I had once worked with at Outside Magazine. We cyber ooohed and ahhhed at photos of each other’s children. We basked in the joy of our newly rekindled friendship. Then came the message:
“Okay Amanda, you have to fill me in on the past 10 years. I want to know everything you’ve been up to aside from motherhood; unless, of course, you’ve found yourself through yoga. I’ve got one too many middle-aged yoga teachers in my life.”
That was the moment I realized I had become a cliché. I might have realized sooner had I still been living in Santa Fe (or some other yoga mecca), but I was in Bend, Oregon where trends tend to take their sweet time arriving. The yoga boom was still slowly making its way up the west coast from LA and San Francisco. I admitted to my Facebook friend that I was indeed a newly certified yoga teacher and that I was currently developing a yoga & creative writing program for teen girls. I secretly hoped that the philanthropic aspect of my yogic venture, along with the nod to my journalistic roots, might soften her stance. It did not. I considered myself defriended.
In the years since that first realization, I have had to come face to face with my clichéd life. I now walk into yoga classes and see reflections of myself everywhere – 40-something blonde ponytailed women wearing lululemon from head to camel toe. We all drink green smoothies, eat bushels of kale, and cleanse on a regular basis. We say all the sh*t yogis say, wear mala beads, and set intentions every 5 minutes. Personally, I am drawing the line at getting a Sanskrit tattoo.
The funny thing is, I like my clichéd life. That is a tough confession for a life-long rebel to make, but it’s true. I like that my yoga sisterhood has grown from a handful of closet asana junkies into a force over 15 million strong in the United States alone. That feels more like a community than a cliché, more like a movement than a trend. As a rebel, I like the idea of a yoga movement. As a yogi – well, we always like a good movement.
Consider that 90% of women are dissatisfied with their body image, 50% of women in the United States are on a diet, 20% of women will suffer from depression. Personally, I see yoga as a movement in the right direction. I love that middle-aged women are beginning to see this time in their lives as less of a crisis and more of a chrysalis – an awakening to something new and exciting. Will teaching a middle-aged woman to stand on her head change the world? No, probably not. But it will change her world. It will turn it upside down. That sounds pretty rebellious to me. I love seeing that same woman refuse to be turned out into the menopausal pasture and leap over the societal fence rails in search of a bigger sense of purpose. That is definitely worth the occasional Facebook defriending.
If choosing bakasana over botox and chakra cleanses over xanax binges is wrong, I don’t wanna be right. Call me a cliché or call me a rebel. I am Middle-Aged Yoga Woman, Hear Me Om.
(Translation: OM is the sh*t middle aged yogis say instead of ROAR.)