The Hobo Guide to Being a Yoga Wanker
The Enlightened /ɪnˈlʌɪt(ə)nd/ (noun): A group of people who religiously practice yoga, and whose enlightenment through the practice turns inwards and into semi-delusion as to their “goodness”.
Synonyms: Yoga wanker, the author
The Enlightened are a fun bunch. They’re the ones calling themselves “yogis” and talking loudly in the organics store about how much they just love making their own toothpaste, and how they dedicate 20 minutes a day to swishing coconut oil around their mouths. They use yoga as cultural capital, smiling wryly as they explain their daily meditation ritual whilst basking in the glow of self-congratulation.
To them, you’re not living your best life until you spend at least seven hours a week in incense-scented studios with 20 other bougie bitches, informing anyone and everyone that you’re off to “find your zen”.
So you want to know more? Enter me: a middle-class white girl with a tri-weekly practice and a good pinch of delusion, here to enlighten you. Your journey will begin with one snap of a headstand in front of your choice of sunset, waterfall or surf-beach, captioned with an inspirational quote, then all you need to do is take the following advice.
“Find yourself” at an overpriced overseas yoga retreat
Step off the plane and straight into the sticky arms of Indonesia’s most popular yogi paradise: Ubud, Bali. You’re here to edify your body and soul, and more importantly, sweat out that diet of rosé and ramen. Tell the world you’re “leaving behind your inhibitions” and “breaking free” whilst “truly connecting” and “sticking it to the Man” (who probably organised the retreat in the first place).
Look the part
Everybody knows half the point of yoga lies in the aesthetic. Enlightenment occurs when you turn your gaze to loving the outward self and looking like a true yogi who takes their shit seriously. Simply wander into a Lulu Lemon, or any of the countless other cookie-cutter yoga luxe retailers, to stock up on strappy crop tops and hella-cute patterned tights.
Pricewise, it’s recommended you spend at least a week’s pay per 10cm of fabric. I tend to go for two weeks’ worth to provide a much-needed boost to that $25 billion a year industry. Spend a little more of Daddy’s cash and trust Lorna Jane to justify that D in ethical business by making sure that five-year-old sweat out some quality stitching.
Choose your studio
When overseas, it’s always best to support foreign-owned businesses. This way, you ensure you’ll get exactly the same experience as home for a more expensive price point, all the while failing to stimulate the local economy. It’s also essential you find a studio with excellent lighting. Too much shadow can be disastrous, morphing that perfect lunge-twist from profound to pornographic. That’s not the kind of self-love we’re after here.
Make an entrance
Walk directly into the studio and place your eco-friendly mat in the centre of the room. It doesn’t matter if it already has designated spaces. This will ensure you have a stage to intimidate and awe the un-enlightened plebs. Proceed to bend yourself in two, or even three. From here, I find launching yourself into the most obnoxious headstand possible a real winner. Ten points if you touch your head with your toes, and 20 if you can levitate.
Start with your breathing. Top tip: only refer to your breath as “pranayama” in day-to-day to life. This will give you an air of superior spirituality.
Your guru (or teacher, obviously) will tell you to make your breath sound like an “ocean wave”. Ignore them. Instead, make your pranayama as audible as possible. Release a hurricane-like gust; you really want your neighbour to experience that home-made kombucha you had before class. This will show everyone how much harder you’re zenning than they are, making sure they know you’ve got this shit as down as your dog.
Throughout the practice (a cardio HIIT vinyasa flow), the instructor will give you “options” or “advancements”. The truly Enlightened should only ever take on the latter. Options are for the weak; push past the pain. The feeling that your hamstrings have been razorbladed? That means it’s working. Smash down those heels until your ass is as taut as that chick’s you just pinned to your dreamboard.
Initiation into Enlightenment
At this point, you’ve wrapped yourself tighter than a summer roll, pulled 578 muscles, slipped a disc and you’re almost certain that’s blood dripping from your nostrils. This, my yogi alumni, is what we in the Enlightened community like to call success.
Hopefully by now, you’ve got a real sense of superiority in your zen. You’re 90 per cent sure you’re a better person than most of your friends, and you’re considering becoming vegan (but only on Wednesdays).
I would say congratulations, but I’m sure you’ve already congratulated yourself enough. Now there’s just one more step to becoming truly Enlightened. Assert your elevated sense of self-worth through the only medium that truly means anything: Instagram or it didn’t happen.
Cover by Jared Rice