I wrote this almost 2 years ago sort of as a vent/joke. RecoveringYogi liked it, but they already had a similar article, so i’m publishing this here for your reading pleasure…
note: i am not going to hold it against you if your underwear shows up in my classes. i understand that ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ happen. it’s cool, honestly. this was written totally for fun.
Have you been seeing a lot of this lately in your yoga classes?
Me too. Since it’s so prevalent in the yoga classes I attend and the ones I teach, I figured it would be a good topic for and article. I mean, if one is wearing his or her underwear in plain view, we should assume that it’s up for discussion, right? Like a nice piece of jewelry, ‘Hey that’s a lovely chakra pendant, where did you get it?’ Except in this case it’s more like: ‘Nice thong, did you get it at Women’s Secret? Oooo, I just love their stuff don’t you?’
Over the years I had picked up a few thongs, certainly they weren’t the kind that I would want anyone seeing. Prior to them playing peek-a-boo in yoga classes and the world at large, I had thought they were an intimate item that only you knew you were wearing, that sort of being what made them ‘sexy’. I figured wearing them gave you that knowing look on your face that you had a secret, which men, of course, also wanted to know. What thongs give you, in reality, is a permanent wedge. I vaguely remembered this fact, but after seeing so many thongs in yoga classes I decided maybe I was missing something (this is a feeling I have a lot and has nothing to do with thongs). Maybe I was being prudish with my breathable, high-impact, comfortable underwear that never rides up and is certainly never seen. I thought perhaps I should really give that thong thing another try.
Over the last 18 months I’ve gone through many internal and external changes, a lot of old baggage had to go. With increased health, happiness, and a positive outlook I decided it was time to go underwear shopping. So into the bin went over 20 pairs of saggy, baggy, elastic gone, threadbare, holey underwear. Some of these were my favorites, but so tatty it was really more of a mercy toss, allowing these poor pieces of cloth to attain a higher station on the wheel. In came sporty, candy-colored underwear, including quite a few thongs. I believed that with my newfound health and happiness already doing a lot for my outward appearance, the thong was going to bring it over the top with that lovely knowing look.
Just for background information, here’s a brief (HA-ha) history of the thong. The thong made its post-1900 debut in New York City in 1939, when the mayor ordered dancers to ‘dress more appropriately’. I’m not exactly sure how a thong ensured ‘appropriate’ coverage. Of course we all know Brazil is famous for its thongs and string bikinis and the craze migrated to all corners of the world, starting at beaches everywhere and eventually reaching Hollywood. (As most things do- even yoga. I wonder when the concepts of living simply and personal enlightenment will reach Hollywood?) Personalities began sporting thongs, when they wore underwear at all, with their low-rise trousers and a fad was born. Of course once the general public started copying stardom, and doing it badly, celebrity made its exit, stage left. And to pull you back how this is all about me, this leaves a yoga teacher wondering how to adjust certain postures without touching a small flag who’s most recent territory was… well you get the idea.
The only advantage to wearing a thong I could find listed on several websites was ‘no panty lines’, especially under light-coloured or skin-tight clothes. It neglected to mention that though one would have no panty lines, the cottage cheese-textured cellulite would be clearly visible under said light-coloured and/or skin-tight clothing. The other word that keeps coming up in relation to thongs is ‘sexy’, which really is an ambiguous term at best. What defines ‘sexy’ is really as diverse as people themselves. My question then becomes: Why do people feel a need to bring ‘sexy’ to yoga? Cleansing the body, mind and spirit and walking the path to complete awakening and awareness isn’t enough to pull together? Another question: How is displaying one’s underwear completely unacceptable as business attire, but seems to be perfectly acceptable in a yoga class, or a gym, or on the street, or at a night club? What boundary was crossed between work and non-work that made the thong declaration possible? As a yoga teacher, teaching yoga is my profession. I do not show off my kit to my students, yet they feel completely free showing it to me.
Maybe I’m taking myself way too seriously and the showing isn’t for my benefit at all.
I do practice in a thong now, and once I get over the initial urge to remove what’s gotten stuck in there, I do find it wearable. Does it contribute positively or negatively in any way to my practice? No. Does it give me a knowing look? Between ‘jumpthroughtosittingbindinhalepanchadasa’ and ‘pushupjumpbackekadasaexhale’ there isn’t a lot of time to have a knowing look, and certainly no one is supposed to be aware of my ‘knowing look’ if their eyes are focused on their drishti. So you won’t see my thong in any of your classes. And I’d prefer not to see yours either.