If I knew nothing of yoga before this weekend, I would believe yoga to be nothing more than an oversexed version of Pilates. Why? Because I went to the movies, twice, to see “Valentine’s Day” and “Couples Retreat”. Both movies included yoga, and both made me cringe.
In the latter, yoga is something that scantily-clad, flirtatious women do outside to impress a macho football star. They weren’t so much doing asanas as just shoving their naked hips in his direction and stretching to show off their bare midriffs.
In the former, a yoga teacher is a total pervy-Fabio-type who can’t – or just doesn’t bother to – discern between a yoga adjustment and a sensual touch, and “spanks” his participants as a form of encouragement (and later drinks with them).
In fact, the most accurate “yoga” moment in either of the movies was in “Valentine’s Day” when the 5th grader’s nanny told him to calm his anxiety by “doing that breathing thing I taught you”, at which point the little boy starts Chandra Bheda, or cooling single nostril breathing (through his left nostril, opening the passive side of the body).
What do you think about the way Hollywood illustrates yoga? Is it enough to make you shudder, or am I taking it too seriously? Surely people realize that’s not what yoga is like, just like the movie is not what life is like, right? Right?