I am at a yoga festival with thousands of yogis from across the U-S of A. We are all gathered here to practice, to play, to work hard together and I am sitting all by myself feeling like shit.
This is the kind of festival where white people gather to affirm each other's privilege and their butts and my job is to be their teacher assistant in the process. As I am a naturally cynical person you may ask: Why Emelia, would you go to such a thing you were preparing to dislike so much? Good question.
The first class I'm involved in has over 300 people squished into it. The teacher has huge hair. The girls behind me are talking about how their dream is to be "yoga rock stars" just like her. Right away, my little inner a-hole comes creeping out of my butt and gets ready to pounce. Vapid bitches.
This big haired teacher talks to us about how we are all one. She talks about how our natural state is to always be in union with each other. It makes me want to cry a bit because that sounds like such a good idea.
I leave the class and walk past all the hundreds of vendors hawking their yoga food and funky clothes and spiritual bracelets guaranteed to bring you into balance. I feel even more sad and lonely than before.
I head to the teachers' lounge to have a rest. All around me are other teachers podcasting, live blogging, giving interviews. Their voices are loud. The energy is high. It's almost like they are out positive-ing each other.
I cannot be here now with any of these people because they are all too busy selling their sacred and revolutionary brand. I feel like a real failure amidst all these spiritual entrepreneurs. I think "God, I am such a nobody loser." Which is such an ironic thing to feel at a yoga festival because didn't she say we are supposed to be all one?
What's wrong with me? I feel bad. As in. I am a bad person. All of me is not allowed to be here.
I have to ignore the part of me that questions these people when they talk about loss of ego and then hard-sell their yoga DVDs.
I push away the part of me that gets annoyed when I hear words like manifestation and co-creation but then I see it relating to manifesting their own personal wealth and fame. I get pissed off when someone is talking to me and then sees someone who is more important to talk to so walks away mid...
Don't get me wrong, this is definitely jealously speaking. I would love to be extremely successful and rich from what I do too. I just get super confused when I am told to let it flow and relax into my destiny and then I see teachers around me giving themselves hemmies from career pushing effort.
Yoga is such a mind f&%k.
There is elitism in the yoga community that I have not encountered anywhere else in my life. There is a hierarchy and if you are a rule-breaker in any way, or a swearer or a smoker or chubby or poor you might find yourself on the outside looking in.
Which is hilarious. And sad.
I wonder how many other people at this event of thousands feel like shit? I wonder how many other people want to sneak into the bushes and eat a hamburger? When told to breathe into their hearts and feel the love surrounding them, how many other people are thinking to themselves: I can't feel a thing?
Maybe it's just me.
"No, it's not," says my cool friend. "The world is full of negativity and you get sucked into it, of course you engage. You are a microcosm of the macrocosm and your job is to decide if you are going to breed more of the hate or not. Don't be your mind's bitch, Emelia. You cannot control your thoughts but you can control what you do with them."
So in the afternoon I start to rebel. I run around and punch a few people in the arm (I ask first) and it feels great. I do a couple donkey kicks around the sacred space. I put on my big bling dollar sign necklace that I use when I need a big up.
I fart in class and then laugh. I tell a woman that her handstand F&%#ING rules in my outside voice.
I let the part of myself that feels so tiny here a bit more free.
It is true that the emperor has no clothes on at this yoga festival. He is in down dog showing us his hairy balls and making money off it and it is easy to judge and shame him but that is what you always do Emelia. You are fighting the wrong battle here.
It's not the yoga assholes that I hate; it's the thoughts I have about the yoga assholes that I hate. So I want to invite you all to my new yoga festival. The prerequisites are high:
I make it to the end of the day. I am assisting a Thai yoga class and my teacher asks everyone to get into pairs, face each other, put our hands on each other's hearts and look directly into each other's eyes. Then we are told to breathe together.
This is highly uncomfortable, bordering on impossible for me because I have suited up with so much protective armour... but I look right into this woman's eyes.
I meet her gaze and my belly softens. I go deep and I feel it. Just for a moment. The oneness they have all been talking about. I see her as me. And it is real. And it is easy. And my heart opens. And it feels so good.
I start to cry because this oneness is such a great idea. Someone should trademark it. They would make billions.
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