In the morning, I grudgingly wake up to my alarm and put on my cardigans and my dress pants, and I go to work. I work in a cubicle and sit at a computer most of the day. Since a lot of people in Bloomington-Normal do the same thing, the haughty and derisive around here have taken to calling us “corporate drones”.
I do not have an overwhelmingly important job, nothing vital hinges on my decisions, I do not own a Blackberry. At least on the good days, I do not feel like a drone. I can’t decide if these two sentences are contradictions are not.
My husband teaches three out of the four work nights of the week, so I have large chunks of evenings to myself. Now that the weather’s nice, sometimes I rollerblade down to the park and get some exercise. I walk my dogs. I spend a little bit of time each night fulfilling obligations: dishes, laundry, other chores. Sometimes I meet a friend for dinner or drinks. I spend lots of time reading blogs and keeping up with various internet things. Other than that, the majority of my free time is spent reclining on the couch, reading a novel. It is my favorite way to relax.
Once a week I take a yoga class and twice a week I teach. During these times, I feel most like myself — I feel like the happiest, most positive and clear-headed version of myself I can be.
When I am at work, you have to look hard for signs that I practice and teach yoga. I leave a few hints, but not many. The most obvious is that I can’t sit normally in a desk chair. I sit sideways, with my legs under the arm rest, or have one knee bent with my chin resting on it. I sit cross-legged a lot. I often do odd-looking stretches when my shoulders and back start to feel tense. I do not know how other people go all day without doing them! I almost always take off my shoes and leave them on the floor where my feet should be. I also wear very little makeup and jewelry, which is not yoga, per se, but relates more to Yoga Jamie than Corporate Jamie.
The dissonance of this situation hit me when last week when I was at class, as a student. I shared with some other students where I work and what I do, and it just felt strange coming out of my mouth while being Yoga Jamie. It didn’t seem like me, although I know I do it for nearly 40 hours every week. In the same way, when I am at work, I don’t feel like a yogini. No one I work with practices yoga regularly, and most of my co-workers know just the bare minimum about yoga, my teaching style, what I’m working on, what it means to me. Some of them read this blog, but that is likely the closest they will get to know Yoga Jamie.
I sometimes feel guilty pursuing other leisure activities besides yoga. I love yoga and as I said, I love Yoga Jamie. But I rarely practice at home, because – at least at this particular moment in time – I would rather do other things while I’m there. I want my blocks of time to read a novel, play with my dogs, visit friends. I don’t practice every day. I frequently chose to be Reading Jamie over Yoga Jamie.
There are lots of moments in my life where I think “I don’t live like a yoga teacher”. I don’t drink caffeine, but I almost always have a cocktail on the weekends. I love to sleep in whenever possible, sometimes even till (*gasp*) 9:30, a fact I hide with shame around my friends with children. I love to eat junk food and French fries and chicken. I don’t fit a yoga sterotype, or any stereotype.
I am sharing this because I want to know if it’s typical. Do other yoginis feel this way? What about those whose full-time job is to teach yoga? Is there still a gap to bridge between yoga and personal life? Do people with different hobbies feel this way, too – does someone passionate about painting, or cars, or writing, feel like a different person throughout other moments of the week?
More importantly, is yoga a unique passion because it informs the other moments of our lives? Because I can say “no” to my mat, am I exercising the balance I learned while I was on it? Since I can focus on being present as Reading Jamie and maintaining my breath as Corporate Jamie, am I always Yoga Jamie, whether I realize it or not?