Raw, adjective: 6. ignorant, inexperienced, or untrained: a raw recruit.

I am trying to be better about taking pictures.

I hate taking photos.  Always have.

And I have long hated those obligatory moments when I've gotta provide a headshot here or Hanumanasana there.

They feel crass.  And self-serving.  And awkward.

And they make me feel shy.  I don't even like looking at other people's photos of themselves.  Let alone my own.

And I hate the way the yoga biz these days is so much about flashing pretty pictures of oneself, preferably in Natarajasana or Astavakrasana, preferably on top of a mountain or in front of a sunset.

(That's a lot of hating-on.)

But I'm realizing as I get older that, well, I'm aging.  And I won't be bendy forever.  Someday it might be a victory to lift my arm above my head.  And I wouldn't mind having a photo or two to show the young pups someday if I'm lucky enough to be around when it's hard enough to just climb a few stairs, let alone jump into Vasisthasana.

I'm 33 this year.  I dig that age.  (As so many people remind me, Jesus's age.  No pressure, right?)

I like 33.  I've liked the thirties in general.  They feel grounded, solid, at ease, real.  They carry a knowledge and a confidence and a "fuck 'em" attitude that my twenties did not.

(People told me that would happen.  I didn't really believe them.  33 just sounded, well, blah.  Like I'd lost a lot of time already. And should have my shit figured out by now.)

But as the years churn by and I see more and more folks I love dealing with worn-out knees and blown-out rotator cuffs and miserable bellies and cranky colons, I've realized, over and again, what a gift it is to have health.

Yoga is not asana.  That's fer damn sure.  Make no mistake.

And perhaps the more heavily I turn my attention toward the philosophy and psychology of yoga, the easier it gets to take a photo or two, because I realize how very little these poses or those knees or that ribcage have to do with the hard work of living yoga.  Asanas are tools, helpmates, vehicles, for sure.  And I crave them indeed, and am admittedly a cranky beast without practicing them on a regular basis.  But they will have their day, and then they will pass, too.  As do all things.

To bodies.
And grey hair.
And achy joints.
And a back that still bends.
(A little, at least. For now.)


Lisa said…
I just love this post. I definitely feel torn as a newer teacher who's currently taking said pictures for bios and to promote my classes. Thank you for being so honest and truthful. Your thoughtful writing is such a pleasure to follow.
Rach said…
Thanks so much for your kind words, Lisa. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one torn by this! Class marketing and [self] promotion are aspects of the underbelly of being a yoga teacher that I never expected, and two projects that I have a hard time stomaching. I've discovered that in all cases, authenticity always wins out. Keep it up!

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