The Yoga of Louis C.K.


I have no idea if Louis C.K. does yoga. And I don’t particularly care. I file the weird proliferation of yoga studio celebrity sightings into the same bin as anything found on any gossip blog—I pay it no mind. The fact that Lady Gaga walks into a hot yoga studio or whatever new alternative singer has a hot yoga body does not change my practice one bit, nor should anyone really care if someone famous does a few asanas a few times a week.

What really interests me is the meeting point where philosophy intersects culture in unexpected ways. When Thom Yorke discussed yoga and meditation with Alec Baldwin, I wrote about it because what he said was insightful. There was a benefit to the actual content, not the fact that Thom stands on his head before he performs.

With that in mind, the below clip, which ended comedian Louis C.K.’s HBO special ‘Oh My God,’ while hilariously funny (and worth watching on those merits alone), points to the deep rift we humans suffer on a daily basis: the distance between what we think and how we, at least sometimes, act. Or, at the very least, the conflicting chorus of voices that consistently ring out in our heads, oftentimes at the most inopportune moments—what he refers to as ‘Of Course’ and ‘But Maybe.’

While the latter is nearly impossible to resist—we can reorient and strengthen our neural wiring to change thinking patterns, though given that we don’t even know how thoughts emerge or where they come ‘from,’ the task is daunting—one of the main tools offered by the yoga and meditation disciplines is aligning your thoughts and actions so that they’re on the same page. That is, verifying the ‘Of Course’ and quieting the ‘But Maybe.’

Then again, sometimes ‘But Maybe’ gives us insight into realms previously unimagined. That’s important too. As recently reported in the NY Times, the human imagination is part of what helped us prosper as a species, and that involves looking at things from a number of angles. It also softens the stringent blows of certainty, an important component of staying open-minded. So maybe Louis is more a yogi than we expected…and unquestionably one of the funniest men on the comedy circuit today.

2 Responses to “The Yoga of Louis C.K.”
  1. John says:

    I saw this too. Very funny. Love to see a comedian getting more confident with each new show.
    But yes, there seems to be this balance, like a wave we ride, between being inclusive and nurturing on the one hand, and brutally honest on the other hand. It feels dangerous to consider “disgusting” ideas like “maybe some incredible things were created through slavery”. Like someone is going to tear us a new one for even suggesting such a thing. And then you have to say something ridiculously obvious to save yourself: “of course I’m against slavery!”. But a comedian can get away with it. Comedy really is an forum to explore those kinds of ideas.

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  1. […] are not consistent creatures. (Louis C.K. recently tackled this topic brilliantly in his ‘Of Course, But Maybe‘ […]

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