You can’t wear make-up to a yoga class, unless I suppose it’s the waterproof variety – it’ll just melt and slide off your face quickly. You can’t wear lots of clothes – they’ll hinder your movement. Loose tops or bottoms will flail in your face as you attempt any inverted shape, so fitted is better. Even if you take non-heated classes, you can be assured of breaking out into a sweat. Yoga is quietly strenuous.
Scantily clad bodies of men and women on mats in close proximity is what a class typically looks like. Yet I’ve never felt, not even a hint of a gaze that’s invasive or uncomfortable. Are yogis a-sexual, somehow switched off to noticing or seeing other bodies? I don’t believe so! What appears to be different in a yoga class is the frame, the frame of the gaze is softer. It feels neither closed nor transcendentally otherworldly. Its focus just more quietly balanced.
In this milieu, where the veneer of polish and sophistication is stripped away – hair sticky from perspiration, make-up out the window, clothing minimal – when being real starts to feel natural, when there’s nowhere to hide and the realisation of no need to hide, that’s exactly when yoga begins.