Day 1,107: YJ + TY KU = WTFF

There are two things in life I love: yoga, and being judgmental. So when Laura and Holly alerted me to Yoga Journal’s big new heavily promoted advertorial partnership with TY KU Sake, aka “The Official Drink of Apres Yoga,” I simply could not wait to learn more. Let’s take a look, shall we?

First, here’s the image on the TY KU Sake landing page:


Friends, let’s get straight to the heart of things:

What the fuck is going on here? Why are these two women hanging out on a fake stoop that is clearly indoors? Are they on Sesame Street? If so, where’s Gordon? Where’s Maria?

Why is the one on the left smiling blankly into space, and why is her leg Photoshopped? I know what pose this is supposed to be. I’ve done it. I did a lame facsimile of it today as blog research. And I still can’t work out how her knee is facing forward unless it has been removed from her body.

And can we talk about the smug-looking chick on the right? Specifically: what the hell is she wearing? Is it by chance an acid-washed, elastic-cuffed denim jumpsuit? It is, isn’t it? And those are high-top moccasins on her feet, aren’t they? It’s okay, you can tell me.

Everything about the denim-jumpsuit girl and her smirk is freaking me out. I feel sure she is a malevolent spirit that rose from the ashes of those ads about Yoplait being shoe-shopping good.

Finally–and you’ll have to take my word for this because I cropped the photo badly–there is a loaf of French bread in the tote bag behind the disembodied pink leg. Just in case you needed one more signifier that these are the classiest, most urbane yoga ladies of 1994: they have stick bread with them, okay? They are practically named Audrey and Tautou.

Whew. So now that I’ve got all that off my chest, let’s talk about the six reasons YJ and TY KU say that sake is the perfect post-yoga beverage…oh shoot. There was one other subtle thing about the photo that bugged me and now it’s slipped my mind what it…oh wait, I remember now. It was the RANDOM BASSET HOUND on the top step. He doesn’t even seem like he’s with the yoga women–maybe he’s the landlord? And is this really the best shot of him they could get? “Oh man, Mr. Furley licked his own nose again.” “Fuck it, we’re losing the fake daylight. It’s a wrap.”

Anyway. Here are the six reasons YJ and and TY KU think you should drink this 20% ABV stuff after practice:

  1. It may help reduce stress and allow you to ‘live in the moment.’ And god knows you’ll need that, after a yoga class aimed at building tension and encouraging you to obsess over past mistakes and make wild projections about the future.
  2. It’s heart-healthy.  “We know a small amount of alcohol can be beneficial when drank (sic) in moderation.” Oh Jesus, it’s resveratrol again, right? The compound that will make us all live forever when consumed in quantities of wine way, way smaller than anyone who gets self-righteous about resveratrol actually drinks. Okay, yes, you’d better make sure you get your life-saving resveratrol, yogis. And if you can get it in a mind-altering substance (instead of grape juice) right after a sweaty and possibly dehydrating workout, all the better.
  3. Trade wine for sake and you may sleep better because sake contains less sugar and fewer byproducts of fermentation vs. wine. So, basically, it sucks for your body less than wine. Might as well aim high, right? Enjoy that marginally better sleep.
  4. Sake is sans sulfites and tannins. “We suck less than wine! Om shanti!” part 2. Though really, all I can think of is how I used to blame red-wine hangovers on the tannins vs. the, you know, FIVE GLASSES FULL OF ALCOHOL I drank the night before.
  5. Sake may make your skin healthier. “If sipping sake makes you less stressed, it may also have an impact on your skin. A happier person tends to have a healthier glow.” Well, gosh, who could argue with the straight-up hard science they just laid down right there? And again, after that yoga class you are going to need something to lift you up, sister-friend.
  6. Sake is culturally portion-controlled because the serving size is 3 ounces, vs. 5 ounces for wine. Maybe I’m not qualified to comment on this one, given that my understanding of the alcohol ‘serving size’ concept was, let’s say, philosophical at best. But I have visited Japan a few times, and at least from my limited Western point of view, “cultural portion control” did not seem to be a super big thing when it came to booze.

Anyway, Yoga Journal says drink up, yogis!  I mean, sure, excessive alcohol use causes 10% of deaths among working-age US adults. And sure, moderate use can slide into excessive use because alcohol is, you know, a goddamn addictive substance that changes how your brain works. But that’s about other people, not you. You’re so healthy. You’re so mindful. Those awful things aren’t going to happen to you.

I was healthy. I was mindful. Those awful things weren’t going to happen to me either.

So kanpai and namaste! After all, TY KU Sake is ‘happy hour for the chakras.’ And if you’re saying “Wait, I thought yoga was happy hour for the chakras,” well, I guess you’re not quite as big a sucker as they’d like you to be. Work on that, huh?

Day 95

There’s this thing I do: I really, really hate something, and then it ends up becoming one of my favorite things in life. Examples:

  • The poems of Sylvia Plath
  • The Hoodoo Gurus
  • Running
  • Kale
  • Yoga

I am starting to wonder if the R-word–recovery–is next. Like yoga, recovery culture is something I basically dismissed before even trying it. (Uh, I guess that’s another thing I do.) Partly it was a reaction to the idea of meetings: I’m an introvert. It’ll be depressing. It’ll be smoky. There won’t  be anyone like me there (whatever that means). The coffee will be that awful urn stuff. No reason too petty…. Beyond meetings, though, just the notion of ‘recovery’ itself put me off. I didn’t like (and still don’t care for) the idea that an alcoholic will be battling a chronic disease for the rest of her life–I’m sure it applies in some cases, but for me the idea of waking up each day and thinking ‘time to deal with my disease again’ just sounds like no way to live. But most of all, I didn’t want to admit to myself that I had anything to recover from. When I started the 100 Day Challenge, it was to ‘break a bad habit.’ Uh-huh.

Well, I was listening to a Bubble Hour podcast on the treadmill yesterday and suddenly I realized that the way the women used the term ‘recovery’ seemed both comfortable and comforting. Just kind of okay and real and down to earth, you know? And for the first time it sounded like an optimistic word, even a happy one. Because I know that recovering is exactly what I’ve been doing, and it’s working. I’d love to be talking with these women, I thought. Hey, maybe I should find some women like that around here that I could hang out with and talk to. That would be great. And then the old doubts snuck in–I’m not a joiner, t he meetings are probably held in inconvenient places, etc. But the seed is planted, maybe. 

Before I took my first yoga class I had absolutely no doubt that yoga was some kind of mouth-breathing patchouli cult for mushy-headed people. That was ten years, literally thousands of sun salutations, a handful of injuries, and several advanced trainings ago (and yes, it can be a little mushy-headed at times). So if the pattern holds, by 2023 I should be, like, the queen of recovery and recommending meetings to people who don’t even have drinking problems. We’ll see.

Day 95.

Day 20: On My Impressive Capacity for Self-Pity

It’s Day 20 and boy oh boy, am I feeling sorry for myself. The level of self-pity is impressive, really. The thing is, it’s not exactly because I want to drink. I kind of don’t want to drink. It’s because I want something else to fill that space and I haven’t figured out what it is yet. There’s no doubt that my life is better on every possible axis than it was 21 days ago, but also no denying that there’s a bit of a hole in it, too. I’m trying to be patient and give my new life more than half a second to take shape, but patience never has been my strong suit.

One thing that’s tough right now is that my hip flexor or psoas is strained from running–just a minor strain, but even a minor injury to the muscle you use to pick your leg up is not ideal. Exercise–a decade-long yoga practice (that’s right, I’ve been a serious yogi for ten whole years and still managed to develop a drinking problem 🙂 ), Pilates, and a rather slow, agonized form of running–is really important to me for stress and mood management. I’m a live-in-my-head kind of person with perfectionist tendencies and a very high-profile job, and that hour a day of just moving my body is the only kind of outlet I have sometimes. (Well, now it is. I used to have wine…) So here I am sober, tense, and with maybe 1.7 functioning legs. Make that 1.6 since I tripped on the sidewalk today on the way to buy myself some flowers at the farmer’s market and took a header, busting up my knee and my phone in one neat trick. So yeah–I feel like a giant, stressed, sober brain on a stick this week. And yet there’s really no question in my mind that I’m going to stay sober. I’m just going to be a big baby about it, I think.