I remember the onset of pattern baldness during my late twenties was kind of sobering. It’s easy to laugh about it now. I know it sounds like a cliche, but it was also just around the time I got interested in yoga, and yoga freed me from a lot. I think those of us who practice can relate to that kind of freedom you feel when you pour every fiber of your being into something. We can walk away from situations and thoughts that are a kind of bondage. Of course, as time goes by, we might go through difficult periods where we fall back into habits. That the potential is there to live at least more free of those afflictions makes yoga a worthy endeavor.
That ‘small ‘i” thinking is tricky – in some ways we do a lot of things to interface with the world functionally that cannot be avoided. It would seem, however, that the impact of these actions can be reduced, or at least seen in context. Only a renunciate has a chance of avoiding these things completely, and it seems possible that, even then, they come up (you remember stuff, right?)
The angle of yoga revealed to me is one where we our identity dissolves. I was able to walk off the mat and be that much more unattached to the state of my hair follicles, who liked me, how much money I made… whatever. I mentioned it to an old school Brooklynite at the time. I told him I was actually happier and felt much better about myself than when I had a nice, full head of hair. “Get cool with who you are,” he said in a sage-like New York accent.
It probably is frustrating to some, who know me well, that I avoid wading too far into volatile cultural waters. The reason is mainly two-fold; I have somewhat of a greater sense of self-preservation than I did in my caustic rocker days, and I really do think marrying the culture of yoga to current cultural issues is rather dishonest. But, hey, you do you… Get cool with who you are.