Just recently I was listening to a young woman talk about her adventures in gardening, and how her neighbor accidentally damaged something in her flowerbed. Now this is not a post about forgiveness, or neighborly interactions. It is about normative cultural perceptions and the language we use.
In describing her neighbor ( who, coincidentally, I knew by acquaintance - but chose not to divulge) the young woman described her as '...like a 50 year old Yoga teacher who drives a vintage red sports-car.' Goimg on to claim that this neighbor as " Totally Venice" Which, in many ways, was a compliment and does describe one of the multitudinal threads that make up the rich Venice California tapestry.
What struck me, was the "50 year old Yoga teacher" comment.
Now the person speaking has only celebrated her 29th birthday a mere 3-4 times, so has a way to go until she is a 50- year old anything, and I believe she did not mean anything pejorative by her statement. However, I can't help but notice the satire in this phrase. Satire which makes me pause.
What do 25 year old Yoga teachers become if they stay with their craft and passion and become experts in their field; if not 50 year old Yoga teachers ?
Do we look to great sages, swamis, and gurus just to proclaim that:
' ...they are like, 80 year old Yoga teachers' ?
Youth is still overly celebrated in this country and even more so in places like California. Wisdom is often given a passing glance on the way to view something fresh, young, new and exciting and standards of beauty are often obfuscated by an unrealistic media standard.
This is a cultural issue. The satire in the statement is there whether the speaker realizes it or not. It might even be a compliment, but a back-handed one in some ways. It both devalues the person as well as Yoga as a craft, relegating it to something for the young to do on the way to something else.
I hope this changes, and we can see the beauty of age. That we can seek out those that have the years of wisdom to teach us. That we can hope to be so vibrant at any age. Because, if we are blessed with years, we are all (God willing) going to become or have been 50 year old somethings, why not a Yoga Teacher?
Yogi - Devotee