The halo effect of yoga
By Christine Schaefer
Thirteen years ago I fell blissfully in love with something other than my husband and new baby.
The au courant thing in my life was a no-strings-attached union, one that was just for me, so of course at the time I devoured our stolen moments together — not just for the sake of my lifted postpartum hind quarters, but also because I was donning a shiny new Yoga Halo given to me by my vinyasa yoga practice.
I have always been a surly gal. I am swift with a quip or an all out jab, just for shits and giggles, but never to intentionally harm (unless I was pissed off first, and frankly, if so, that is what ya get sucker). However, something curious happened on my way to enlightenment. For some reason, about six months into my yoga practice, I became mellower. The little things that would fry my backside didn’t seem to sting quite as much. No longer was I popping off in traffic or making faces at the grouchy customer in front of me at Starbucks. My friends were aghast; my sister was appalled, and told me, and I quote, “Whoever you are, please tell Christine to come back from Planet Earth Mother, because we miss her.”
Was it dewy Mom bliss, or was I wearing a happy hat? Why was I soooo okay with just about everything these days? I agree that we all mellow with age; however, this was a more sudden effect: the halo effect of sucking down too much Shakti as I grasped for something that would set me apart from my wham, bam role as a wife and mom (both of which I loved — but this is a role that many times makes women beg the “Who am I?” question, rather than just enjoying the ride.)
Upon further reflection (and after I blew out my hip for the fourth time, thank you very much relaxin), I came to realize that my yoga halo could use a little tarnishing.
Like many other areas of my life, I was under the foolish belief that I had to do yoga perfectly, even if that meant losing my edge and adopting a laissez faire flow outside of the sultry bamboo walls of class.
For a while longer, my vinyasa-through-life worked… until one day when it didn’t anymore. I can clearly remember my tipping point. It was when one teacher called herself “a conduit of light to clear the negative energy from your chakras.” At that point, I thought: “Hold up! I am just fine, as I am, right now, in this moment.” Also, can a mama get her workout on without all of the added jargon? Can one both be a yogi and enjoy sarcasm? Why does this all have to be so deep and so serious? Should being a yogi make one numb to the human moments that we all have?
After this moment, I knew that I could be both a yogi and be true to myself. After a few more moments, I knew that it is okay for me to be irritated by Cape Cod traffic with a screaming baby in the car, or that it is more than fine to poke fun at life’s little bothers. While we are at it might I add that it is fucking A AWESOME to make fun of people who suck? Because in this surly yogi’s opinion all of the above is soul food!
That evening I chuckled the entire Savasana, both at myself for thinking that a simple thing like yoga could turn a mouthy East Coast girl like me in to a twirling Pollyanna, as well as at someone who would ever be ridiculous enough to call themselves a ‘conduit’ of anything.
Christine Caira Schaefer is a happy wife and mom who lives in the suburban Boston area. When she isn’t chasing her pre-teen kids around, writing for her blog, cutting her clients’ hair, or trying her damndest to get into the clinical rotations that ALL nursing school candidates need, she enjoys working out, volunteering at her kids school, and decorating her home. While she doesn’t feel insane enough for a 7-day-a-week hot yoga practice, she arguably sees why it could be easier to check out and hit the mat while allowing her husband to man her tribe. More about Christine.