I have seen "Yoga" on Facebook, but I've never friended it (even though Facebook keeps nagging me to do so). So, I don't know if it's ever done one of those "25 Random Things" things. If it has, it probably talked about how enlightened it is, and how awesome it feels to bend over backwards and put your feet on your head. But I see things a little differently, yes I do. And so, without further ado, here is my own version. Now paste this into your update and keep it there all day long:
25 Random Things About Yoga
1. You don't have to be thin to be flexible.
2. To get into certain poses, however, it does help to be thin to make up for a lack of flexibility.
3. Some types of yoga include high-impact exercise (some Kundalini Yoga sequences include jogging in place; Ashtanga Yoga is based on a sequence of poses linked by "vinyasas," which might be described as something like "squat thrusts," which you might remember from high school gym class).
4. What many people think of as "yoga" (that is, the physical poses), is only part of what is really meant by the term "yoga," which includes, among other things, meditation and principles that are recommended to be followed in order to make one's life conducive to a state of enlightenment.
5. The ability to levitate is one of the promised effects of enlightenment, according to the Yoga Sutras, which are to yoga what the Bible is to Christianity or the Torah is to Judaism.
6. You don't have to know much of anything about yoga in order to become a yoga teacher. You simply need to call yourself a teacher. Or take a yoga teacher training course and then call yourself a teacher. I have yet to hear of anyone who was unable to pass a yoga teacher training course.
7. Some yoga teacher training courses take place over the course of a weekend, after which newly minted teachers are set free to call themselves certified teachers. Could be the teacher you had today at your gym!
8. Some schools of yoga do not have teacher training courses at all; rather, one's proficiency as a practitioner and commitment to the practice is judged by the powers that be, and if it is deemed acceptable, one is given "authorization" to teach. This is especially true in Ashtanga Yoga, where the teacher's physical touching and adjusting of the students is of paramount importance to the conveying of the teachings.
9. Many students look to their yoga teachers for nutritional advice and many are advised by their teachers to become vegetarian or vegan or eat raw foods. Some are encouraged to fast and drink castor oil to induce diarrhea. Some are encouraged to engage in "Pancha Karma" (sometimes spelled "Pancha Krama"), which involves not only inducing diarrhea but inducing vomiting after eating butter. I'm not kidding.
10. Yoga teachers are not nutritionists and as a general rule have no training in nutrition (unless they have a degree in nutrition apart from their yoga teacher training).
11. Many yoga students experience "transference" with regard to their yoga teachers, projecting onto them the role of parent or lover, and many yoga teachers experience the other side of the coin in return: "counter-transference" with regard to their yoga students.
12. Yoga teachers are not psychologists, counselors or therapists (unless they have a degree in such, apart from their yoga teacher training) and are not trained to cope with transference and counter-transference.
13. It is not un-heard-of for yoga teachers to have sexual relationships with their students.
14. Yoga teachers are not "yoga therapists" unless specifically trained as such.
15. Many yoga teachers call themselves "yoga therapists."
16. Some yoga teachers request that their students have no other teachers, paraphrasing this sage advice from a now-deceased guru of yoga, "Having more than one teacher leads to the death of the student."
17. The ability to stop and start one's own heartbeat at will is one of the promised effects of diligent yoga practice, according to the current top guru of Ashtanga Yoga.
18. There are yoga competitions throughout the world (e.g., The International Yoga Asana Championship).
19. Yogis have been known to challenge each other to do such feats as practice blindfolded and drop back from standing into a full backbend without having warmed up first.
20. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were more than 5,500 yoga-related injuries treated in doctors' offices, clinics and emergency rooms in 2007.
21. When taught and practiced responsibly, yoga can improve fitness by building muscle while raising the heart rate.
22. Many yogis report that they lost unwanted pounds after incorporating a yoga practice into their routine, which may be attributed to the fact that the yoga practice, with its twisting, bending and upside down poses tends to make its practitioners conscious of what they eat and the way what they eat will effect the way they feel while practicing yoga.
23. Yogis are just regular people, no matter what they tell you. They still yell at their kids, they still park in front of hydrants, they still drop their gum on the sidewalk. Sometimes.
24. Being proficient at yoga poses does not make you proficient at "yoga" or more enlightened or more spiritual or nicer or more worthy in any way.
25. I thought I would leave this one blank...for you to fill in in the comments section!
Follow Lauren Cahn on Twitter: www.twitter.com/yogachickie