Personal appearance in the life of a yogi can be a tricky thing. On our journey to Samadhi or enlightenment, just how much importance should we attach to things like the perfect lululemon outfit that accentuates the legs and hides the less than flat tummy area? Should we book that pedicure every week because you know, it’s really off putting when you’re in uttanasana and you’re staring at chipped toenails. Does our 21st century obsession with our appearance help us on our journey, as in when we know we look good we’re not distracted by the fact that we really need to touch up our highlights, or are we supposed to just put ALL that jazz aside and instead start staring deeply into the appearance of our souls.
Does it depend on other factors, like our age, gender, where and who we practice with? In this world of snap decision judgments based on what we look like unless you have the perfect yoga body and you’re having a great hair day, you can feel a little vulnerable. But that of course is not the musings of a true yogi. I don’t think Patanjali was obsessing that he needed to lose another 5 lbs when writing the Yoga Sutras. One of my favorite yoga quotes goes like this:
“True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed; yoga is to be lived. Yoga doesn’t care about what you have been; yoga cares about the person you are becoming. Yoga is not a work-out, it is a work-in.”
I think that sums it up, real yoga doesn’t care about your outfit, age or whether you’ve shaved your legs. Real yoga is about your deepest you, about paying attention to the eight limbs and trying to live your life in observance of them. Then, in a strange way the insecurities of modern life that can take up so much of our waking hours tend to dissolve and float away on the wind.