Here is a critical, beautiful critique of the “Yoga barbie” phenomena in pop spiritual culture, to use the words of author Danielle Prohom Olson. You know. The attractive, skinny, tattooed girl doing yoga in the woods taken for “re-wilding” spirituality.
Isn’t rewilding about returning to a more natural, undomesticated state? How can an icon of a corporate culture which keeps us striving to achieve artificial, cultural ideals be associated with what is wild, free and unsullied by human intervention – exactly?
Many ‘rewilders’ see the Paleolithic as a time when earth, its flora and fauna, and humans existed in a true primeval state. And if we look to our stone-age ancestors its pretty clear ‘the yoga body’ just wasn’t in. For tens of thousands of years, painted on cave walls and carved into stone, the female body was depicted as abundantly fleshed – breasts, buttocks and bellies not only large, but mountainous.
Now I have no idea what a ‘wild’ body actually looks like, but I doubt it would look like a tattooed Tara Stiles wearing a loincloth. And I’d wager that any of the programs and retreats that promise to rewild your body in 30 days (yes they are out there) will just leave you working your yoga body ever harder to measure up.
I’m with my pal Jennifer Matsui when she writes “For “inspirational”, forget hot babes doing yoga poses at sunset on a cliff, and think Kabuki she-demon and buzzard pal eating pomegranates under a tree”. Yes, that is probably more like it. Because from Lilith to Kali, to crazed flesh-eating Greek Maenads, African Amazons and medieval witches, the wild woman was licentious, disheveled, abandoned and carnal – she was never about being pretty.
The image in question: