Less 'Natural' & More Free
The yogi culture is known to be one that supports, encourages, and practices all things 'natural'. The foundation of yoga is built on purity, connection and cleanliness in both body and mind, so it only makes sense that in today's consumer-driven, Amazon Prime using, access-to-everything-thanks-to-the-internet world, this culture is even easier to push. I admit to at one point in time being fully consumed by it, especially while living in Vermont and throughout my yoga teacher training. It was really black & white, either/or, dogmatic in every way. That was six years ago and I feel that I've not only physically moved away from the Green Mountain State - my dedication to being 'all-natural' has shifted and I'm now happily living in a gradient including allllllll the shades of gray.
I've gone from believing that essential oils had the potential to cure all to diffusing them mostly to cover up the "a broccoli-loving toddler lives here" smell in my home. I do think organic food is the right choice in a financially stable world, and yet, when an already chopped bag of conventional veggies is $1 on sale at Target, I'm buying it. Sometimes when I'm on my period, my body hurts from my head to my pelvis, and the answer is taking an ibuprofen because ain't nobody got time for that. A group of scientists formulated Clorox wipes so I can chill out about the possibility of the flu virus living on the handle of my shopping cart. When my kid eats a bowl of blueberries and turns her white shirt blue, I use a stain stick - the real kind, because baking soda and vinegar aren't actually the answer to everything.
Some of you are eye rolling real hard and are probably like - duh - and I get that because I am on that side of it now, too, but I'm writing this on the other side of shame. Not subscribing to a particular way of life does not make you 'bad' or 'wrong' in any way. There is no room to be inflexible in today's opinionated and over-informed world. Flexibility is necessary for survival. I'm not trying to sound pretentious and I understand the gift I have been given in this life to have a number of choices in how I take care of myself and my family. I am also not here to stand on the side of wishing I had the time and resources to opt for the most 'natural' way of feeling better and living all of the time, because guess what? I don't. I can appreciate that I live in a world where I don't have to be the expert. The internet has curated the perfect environment for my anxious mind to spiral. More available information = more I feel like I don't know = more Google searches = cycle on repeat. In efforts to simplify my life, I've turned to trusting experts and exercising caution + veering off only if my gut instincts guide me that way. This isn't to say that I don't still opt for trying a more 'natural' route first if both makes sense and is available to me, because I do. What's changed is that I no longer conclude that I'm doing harm if I go with a more conventional method. It's incredibly freeing.
Depending on the information that's on your newsfeed the most often and the crowd you find yourself flocking to, the pressure to keep up and be the perfect all natural yogi IS real, and you're probably only rolling your eyes if you're lucky enough not to have been exposed to that kind of cultural pressure. Throw parenting in there and it's amplified 10x. It's out there, and I'm gently reminding you that if you're feeling pressure to be perfect, you aren't alone and you don't have to be. Moral of the story: a person can both love and practice yoga and live a half-natural (at best) life. Finding balance is ideal, and doing your best is the goal. You do you, boo.