Bend it Like Bhekasana, White Boy!

jdx-200x300 This is a followup to my piece, “Rock That Bindi, White Girl!” from October,2013 on which the dust never seems to settle…and I’m not sorry. It’s one of my favorite things I ever wrote.

Three things I learned after “Bindi Girl” was posted:

  1. We all need to be heard, or in this case, read.
  2. The power and passion—not to mention the loose interpretation—behind the written word is more substantial than I thought.
  3. As a writer for elephant journal, I’ve learned to take the high road many times, and not react like a hurt bunny when someone calls “Bindi Girl” an “inarticulate, utterly boring, pretentious, horrible article.” I’m also bitter and arrogant, juvenile, insulting and cruel. But I’ve learned that replying with a “thank you so much for reading, I’m sorry we disagree” is much more mature than “go fuck yourself.”

Maybe we can all lighten up? I didn’t kick your puppy.

Now let’s get on with things…

This one’s for you, spiritual yoga guy.

I see it every day, whenever a yoga virgin walks in the door to the studio. You need a new drug, city boy? Are you looking to cure your aches and pains and alleviate your anxiety, or did you just show up to meet some sweet honeys?

Control yourself. It’s not a brothel.

Years ago when I dragged my ass to my first yoga class, without knowing it I crossed the threshold into what some people like to call the gateway to a higher consciousness, or the practice of sacred physical exercises to liberate your body and mind. Others believe it’s the door to let Satan into your soul, a devil’s playground where laughing hellions thrash around in a mosh pit of delight over the ever-corroding life condition of humanity.

I figured that must be why everyone appears so disheveled when they’re walking out of class, looking like a motley crew of people who pour bong water over their cereal in the morning.

So you show up to yoga. There’s nothing to be afraid of…I can (almost) promise you won’t turn into a loin cloth-wearing, scraggly-bearded version of yourself in UGG boots and mala beads around your neck.

For me, it’s been a slightly less painful experience than, say, a performance artist in an act of human suspension, dangling from multiple flesh hooks in various parts of the body. Compelling? Yeah, you could say that…disturbing?

Hell, yes.

But I live in L.A., where the deviants are the norm, and remember, we all need to be heard…or in this case, seen. It’s no wonder we’re supposedly sinking into the ocean any day now, probably under the weight of all the silicon wrapped around the egos of the star fuckers and the BMW drivers.

As an unknown clever person once said, “you’re a ghost, driving a meat coated skeleton made from stardust.”

Yup, it’s a head-scratcher.

Remember, the written word can be powerful, especially when it’s taken the wrong way. Let’s hope this gives us a little perspective on all the snoberry and the silliness.

And If you’re secretly searching for the meaning of life, or you’re hoping for some kind of psychic shift or at least something to raise your consciousness to a level beyond it’s current, well-crafted boundaries against forced spirituality, it’s your lucky day.

In the words of smart chicks everywhere: spiritual dudes are hot.

Pretty soon, some witchy stuff will start to occur…

Unraveling a lifetime of inner angst and confusion about the nature of existence is not for the weak of heart. There’s no sages or wise men sitting on a rock to guide us, speaking truisms about life and the seemingly endless cycle of karma.

Once I brought my self-destructive tendencies, my fears and frustrations and all the self-consciousness in the world to party on the mat with me, yoga gave me what I needed to save my wretched soul from a life of dread and mediocrity and a grim afterlife in the Kingdom of Darkness.

Game on, baby.

I know what you’re thinking: is this “living fossil,”this archaic modality of spirituality really the road toward enlightenment? Or just a good Groupon deal?

There’s so much more. Be honest.

Have you ever…

Considered doing a cleanse to rid your body of those pesky toxins? It sounded good at first, until it dawned on you that you couldn’t eat for like, three days. Not gonna happen.

Heard the teacher sprinkle in words while they teach from a curious, dead-ish language?  What is this, The Exorcist? Are they speaking in tongues?

Googled the word OM, because you were too shy to ask what it means? An inquisitive nature will do you good. And speaking of disturbing stuff, the other day I Googled “half man, half animal,” and found the creepiest shit since “two girls and a cup.”

(Advice: stick with Sanskrit words.)

Started planning your sojourn to India? Are you’re wondering how we knew? I could make a joke about yoga being a cult that knows everything about you before you walk in the door, but I won’t.

Gotten high before yoga?  Look forward to feeling stoned all the time without smoking pot.

Stayed up half the night before your morning class watching The Shining?  The yoga studio isn’t the Overlook Hotel. No one’s going to murder you.

Walked into class with a black shirt, black pants and a black mat? I’ll have no choice but to assume one (or more) of these three things:

a) you’re in a bad mood,

b) you have a dark alter-ego (which I can dig), or

c) Stayed up half the night before your morning class watching “The Shining.”

Opened those shoulders enough to reach back for your feet in Bhekasana (Frog Pose) even though you never thought you could? When you finally do nail that pose, Instagram that shit.

Gotten emotional when a Jeff Buckley song came on during class? I’m talking tears in your eyes, and your heart broken wide open with love and gratitude for this life.

It’s a fucking wonder.

When the shadows start to wane and the angels sing again, you might start to realize yoga is moving with you and through you, in me, in all of us, in the twinkling stars at dusk and with the moon suspended in the epic sky.

Writer Victoria Moran said, “yoga will always be transformational, even when it stops being cool.” So go for it. Let your badassness be free. Keep it easy like Sunday morning. As one friendly person commented, all he wanted to do was stretch out his back, and five years later he’s crying in the car on the way to class for no apparent reason.

That’s the beauty of life; it’ll sock in you in the jaw when you’re not paying attention.

Now go do something life-affirming. Tell someone you love them. Take a drive by the beach. Go make babies. And remember, always take the high road.

Fuck enlightenment, my friend said. Just being alive is miraculous.

Written by Anne Clendening
Anne Clendening was born and raised in L.A. She's a yoga teacher, a writer and occasionally slings cocktails in a Hollywood bar. She could eat chocolate cake for every meal of the day. She has a huge fear of heights and flying. And fire. She wishes she could speak French, play her guitar better and make cannoli. She's probably listening to The Dark Side Of The Moon right now, kickin’ it with her boxer dog and her hot Australian husband ★