Stereotypes are lazy – plain and simple. Rather than take the time to get to know a person we lump them in with a bunch of other people and make sweeping judgements.
Yogi stereotypes include:
- The gentleman in short shorts wearing a bandana around his head.
- The barefooted Hare Krishna.
- The skinny blond with the yoga mat under one arm and green juice in the other hand.
There are many variations, but yes, as yogis we are victims of stereotyping and caricature-like cliches. I propose that we break that mold. To get the ball rolling I have compiled a list of things yogis are not…
We are not…
- Smelly: Quite contrary to most people’s assumptions a lot of yogis smell very good. We aren’t packed with toxins because we sweat religiously during our power yoga sessions… ok we probably don’t smell like a beautiful spring day right after we step off our mats, but generally speaking we smell delightful. Also a lot of us like essential oils, which smell delightful!
- Hippies: The term yoga does not go hand in hand with the term hippy. Yes lots of hippies like yoga, but they also like a lot of other things like free sex and pot. Yogi/ni and Hippy are not synonyms.
- Vegans: I mean some of us like cheeseburgers… as I’ve mentioned I am one of those.
- Hyper-flexible: A lot of yogis started their practice to loosen up their tight hamstrings or lower backs. We’re not all pretzels and twisted & tangled limbs, folks.
- Constantly smiling: It’s easy to think of yogis as smiling weirdos who run around like they slept with hangers in their mouths. But we’re people and we have baggage and problems and sometimes less than graceful ways of handling all of that. Some of the yogis I know are also the most dramatic people in my life, why do you think we found yoga in the first place? Many of us are total loony toons.
- Incapable of mainstream conversation: Just try to talk to me about music, pop culture or reality television. That’ll clear this up.
- Always in black stretchy pants: Ok, I am… but not everyone is. I know a lot of very successful people who moonlight as yogis when they’re done with their 9-5′s. Do I pity people who have to wear real clothes, like pants that button? Yes. Does that mean yogis elect never to dress to impress? No. Yogis do know how to button both shirts and pants.
- Obsessed with astrology: While I do believe that in the yoga community the question: “What’s your sign?” is less of a pickup line and more of a standard salutation, that does not mean that we all buy into it.
And there you have it, a few things that we just simply are not. So go ahead, mock our Birkenstocks, laugh at our om-ing, look down your nose at our lotus flower tattoos, turn a deaf ear to our Sanskrit chatter – but don’t you dare lump us all together. We are many and varied individuals who may do one or two things as you would expect us to but chances are when you least expect it we’ll shock you. And won’t you feel foolish.
Holler to all my yogis!