amanda palmer declares her love of yoga & debunks some myths

Amanda Palmer performing in Los Angeles, 2008

Last week, renaissance woman extraordinaire Amanda Palmer was the Guest Editor of music site magnetmagazine.com(I only found out about this yesterday and a new guest editor has already taken her place). I’m not sure what it means to be a Guest Editor, but she wrote daily blog posts about things. One of her posts was about yoga. For those of us who know that Palmer is a committed practitioner but rarely hear her speak publicly about her practice, this post was an interesting insight into why she does it.

This is what she had to say:

I fucking love yoga and I fucking love you. I love you because I love yoga. It all works in a perfect circle. When I was about seven years old, I fell over a balcony … about a 12-foot drop. I was fine, just a broken wrist (from trying to hang on to the railing; I’m a grabby bitch) and a concussion, but I started experiencing extreme back pain when I was about 15, and I’m pretty sure it traces back to the fall when I landed smack dab on my pelvis. I went to everything: chiropractors, osteopaths, massage therapists, acupuncturists, regular doctors. They all said the same shit: try yoga. I was 15. I didn’t want to try yoga. I wanted someone to fix this shit for fuck sake. After living in agony for about 10 years and asking two or three friends a day to please pull my neck in the correct way as to achieve a satisfying kachchchrunnchch sound, I finally remitted and started a regular yoga practice. It changed my life. Not just the body, but the soul. Nowadays, if I don’t get to yoga for a couple of weeks, I notice a marked, obvious decrease in my mood. I get bitchy. I get unhappy. I get pissed. When I manage to get to yoga three to four times a week, I can pretty much do anything, handle anything (Car towed? sure. Work crisis? sure. Death of a friend? sure) and I stay as grounded to the earth as a Swiss Alp. My preferred style is Hot Vinyasa yoga (in particular, Baptiste) but I’ll take anything in a pinch. When I tour, I simply google. If it’s nearby, I just show up, pay my $15 drop-in fee, and melt into the soothing-bath feeling of being with a handful of other people in a hot room who are committed to silently healing and stretching their bodies for an hour and half. In a funny way, it’s almost like paying for a pre-show high-school-theater warm-up. If they had drop-in classes in that, I’d be there like a shot. Trust fall, anyone?

The biggest misconceptions about yoga:
1) Yoga is for chicks. (not true)
2) Yoga is for flexible people. (the opposite of true; yoga is for people who need to get flexible)
3) Yoga is full of chanting, incense and weird religious Indian shit. (it’s usually not, and even if teachers throw that shit in, they take care not to weird you out)

And here is Palmer performing about her place alongside Lady Gaga and Madonna on the female pop star continuum:

  1. I love that woman. She deserves an official Polga uniform.

  2. My awesome alter-ego is a belly dancer, and it’s interesting for me to read this article just on the tails of a major debate that her behavior sparked in our community. She’s on tour, asking musicians to play for free. While many musicians are taking her up on this offer, there are also many performers find it problematic that she is paying other band members and staff, but not the locals. If this arrangement becomes the norm, it makes it harder and harder for professional performers to get fair wages.

    Aside from that, she mock-raped someone on stage, created a highly offensive “siamese twin” project, and blows off every criticism of her poor taste and bad behavior because it’s ART. Not a fan.

    But she does yoga! Yay? Maybe if she keeps going to classes some of that “weird religious Indian sh*t” will actually soak in.

    • interesting, thanks for the background information. i wasn’t aware of this recent debate and it does sound unfair to local performers. yeah, here’s to hoping some of the ethical teachings of yoga will sink in!