Legging Go: A Practice of Asteya
A Curated Note on Spandex and Sparkly Wellness Items
I learned a lot on my three week long road trip up and down the east coast. I tested my boundaries, pushed my limits, met amazing people and teachers, and knocked a few things off my bucket list. But there’s something that I feel is nagging at me to share.
And that is what I wore along the way. And how I curated my Instagram page to reflect my travels.
The definition of curated is to select, organize and look after items in a collection. Essentially, that is what my (and many others) Instagram feeds are: Curated photos of our life, whether they’re sepia toned versions of reality or pushing that line toward blatantly photoshopped.
I believe that we like to see pretty things. Images that remind us of adventures from our past or inspire us for the future. Stumbling on old photos I post sent me back in time for a few moments in sweet reminiscing.
But I have a host of photos I still haven’t posted because they don’t quite fit in with my “story” yet.
Let me explain.
In general, I’m a light packer. I don’t like taking more than I can carry on my own back. So even though I had an entire car that I could have packed with my entire wardrobe, I chose to only take a duffel full of clothes. More than I normally would bring, but for three weeks it felt appropriate.
It was more than enough.
I found myself not wearing certain items, like the pair of jeans I packed, because it was July. What was I thinking there?
I gravitated toward the same few yoga pants and comfortable tops. I didn’t even wear some of my yoga clothes because I easily found ways during my trip to wash the clothes I wanted, even if I hadn’t worn everything yet.
I was happy. I was comfortable. And I didn’t smell. In fact, I looked adorable and chic most of the time.
Until it came time to post photos of my travels online.
I looked like I never changed clothes at all. Which, isn’t true. I have at least 6 pairs of yoga pants that I cycled through, and a few more tops than that. But apparently that’s not enough.
It’s no secret that most of the popular Instagram pages are carefully curated, branded and arranged to be as visually pleasing as possible. It’s marketing, even in the wellness industry where we talk about living with intention and being at peace with what is.
Brightly colored and printed yoga pants, new patterns on yoga mats and shiny, sparkly colors on do-dahs that you never knew you wanted so much for an item you didn’t really need. And it’s not just clothing. It’s books on how to be more spiritual, fulfilled, bendier, happier and whatever-fucking-er.
I buy into it. Most of us do. And because you are on the internet reading this, you have a pretty good idea that you are buying into branding. You are educated in the fact that marketing impacts your decision to buy.
I also am a part of marketing and selling my own products and services.
Sometimes, I am bothered by what I am wearing in my photos because it affects my branding and what I am offering as a coach and teacher.
Even more often than this, I am even more bothered that it has affected how I spend my time.
I spend more time than I care to admit wondering if I’m choosing an appropriate image that flows with my branding and doesn’t clash with the other images on the page. I’m spending more time planning what to wear and how to pose than I actually am spending doing the activity I wanted to do in the first place.
What bothers me the most is that I have found that I am allowing my time and my energy to be pulled in directions I don’t intend.
Because for the most part, I don’t care if I wear the same outfit two or three times a week. Of course I love clothes and bright colors and sparkles. But I am not interested in spending most of my time and money on it. I never really have, with the exception of special occasions.
And I want to be mad at the industry, but that wouldn’t be fair.
Just because it’s of no interest to me doesn’t mean other people don’t find joy in those things. I may not care deeply about wearing outfits that are unique every day but not everyone is like me.
It’s not about the money, it’s about the time. Where are you spending your energy?
So in the spirit of yoga and the KonMari method, take a few moments and ask yourself this:
Is what I’m consuming bringing me joy?
Yoga pants, online subscription services, spiritual guidance books, crystals, smudge sticks, candles and whatever new age old trend that seems to come to light every quarter. Is it bringing you joy? Is the time you’re spending with it, thinking about it, obsessing over it worth it to you?
Because if it brings you joy, or makes you excited or makes your life easier, you’ve got it. You’re rocking it and falling asleep at night a little more inspired.
But if not, let it go. I promise, there are plenty of other ways to spend your energy and time.
I’m not advocating for minimalism or consumerism. I’m not saying unfollow the curated yogi’s on your Instagram feed.
I’m advocating for pleasure and intention.
Surround yourself with the things that bring you joy and let go of what doesn’t.
In the limbs of yoga, I find this a striking example of Asteya. Nonstealing. I find this area of my life an even more beautiful way to practice this concept, because it’s so pervasive.
You aren’t stealing from others, but from yourself when you aren’t mindful of where your energy is being poured. When you allow (because remember, it’s always a choice) your energy to be leeched, you are robbing yourself of joy.
For me, I’m letting go of some of the stories I have about needing each photo I take in a yoga pose to have a different outfit. Instead, I’m spending more time on the words I write about each image. Words are my medium and always have been. Why do I need to force the visuals, too?
Of course, I still buy more yoga pants when a pair of my favorites become worn out and I have to throw them away… Or I find a pair with pockets. Because, pockets.
(I can argue until I’m blue in the face about how pockets are indeed a source of joy.)
But I’m more in control of my energy when I work this way. I’m living with a little more mindfulness in my actions. Yoga off the mat.
So remember. Does it bring you pleasure? Is it intentional?
With love and pockets,