Sunday, April 18, 2010

How to Look Like a Yogi

When I worked for Yoga Journal, there were several occasions when I'd step into the elevator at the office only to be greeted with the question: "Are you one of the yoga people?"

Now, it's not like I was walking around the office in yoga clothes most of the time (thought, I admit I did choose not to change after a lunchtime class a time or two) so it's strange that in my normal office attire people still pegged me as a yogi. I didn't adorn myself with Om jewelry or greet people with "Namaste." I didn't even carry a yoga mat with me because I left mine at my desk. So I never really put my finger on what it was that made people look at me and think, "she does yoga."

I guess I just fit into some of the most common stereotypes about yogis... Perhaps, the following:

I'm a young-ish white girl with a small frame and fairly toned arms (have I mentioned my love for arm balances?).

I wear minimal jewelry and natural-looking make up.

My style is laid back, sometimes a bit Bohemian, which I guess could be interpreted as a little hippie.

I like lavender essential oils and lotions, so maybe I smell like hippie, too. (But not the kind that doesn't wear deodorant.)

I eat a lot of salad (so I often had a big one with me in the elevator).

I'm cheerful, happy, and friendly to strangers.

I hate being stereo-typed, but I suppose there are worse ways to be labeled. Do you think people who don't know you identify you as a yogi? What do you think it is that makes them think that—or not?