When hipsters and the ‘wellness’ movement collide, we are blessed with Cocaine Yogies; slim-looking, body-conscience individuals who snort lines of coke until 1am, and head straight to a yoga class four hours later.
They’re young, relatively. Most days begin at 5:30am, where they roll from bed, bleary-eyed, and hop in the car. They drive to a 6am yoga class, where they meditate for ten minutes both before and after performing their practice. They’re in the front row of the class. They’re very flexible. They have good outfits.
They purchase a green juice, and saunter the street in sunglasses and activewear until 4pm, at which point they swap their San Pellegrino water for a vodka, lime and soda.
And so the night begins.
At first, they plan to have a quiet one: a few drinks with friends at the local, before probably heading home at 9pm to catch up on some sleep. They say something like, “I’ll come out but I’m taking it easy tonight.”
But then a few turns to half a dozen and by 9:30pm they’re working out how many people want to go in for a bag of coke to share. They text their dealer.
They then hop from bar to bar to nightclub to bar, where they will remain until 1am, when they run out of coke, money, energy and the will to live. They skol three glasses of water, two Nurofen Zavance pills to prevent the morning hangover, and catch a $30 Uber home.
Walking in the door, they set an alarm for 5:30am, and fall asleep.
Then they wake up, fetch their yoga mat, and do it all again.
Listen to Brigid Delaney talk about the ‘wellness paradox’ with Mia Freedman on No Filter. (Post continues after audio…)
It can be hard to wrap your mind around: how can anyone wax lyrical about the importance of hydration and Vitamin D before scurrying off to the bathroom to snort three lines of cocaine off a toilet cistern?
Well for starters, it’s probably Bondi paleo cocaine, so it’s free from toxins, you see.
But more broadly, this lifestyle has come to be the epitome of the warped ‘wellness’ paradox.
Dictionary.com defines wellness as, “an approach to healthcare that emphasises preventing illness and prolonging life”.
But to many, it appears the term ‘wellness’ has taken on an entirely new, colloquial meaning that’s more about vaginal steaming and chia puddings.
For these people, wellness isn’t about physical health. It isn’t about kidney function or liver disease or addressing the fact that some Australian suburbs have a McDonalds on each and every corner.
It’s about smoothies. And activewear. And drinking smoothies in activewear. On Instagram. While at yoga. At 6am. On a weekday. With a nosebleed.
Because you snorted so much coke last night.
The wellness paradox is all about approaching health from an ‘I’ll buy it‘ perspective. It’s about cramming your health in everyone’s faces to an extent where it doesn’t matter if you do some drugs here and there. It doesn’t matter. You did yoga this morning. The cocaine doesn’t count.
In the world of 'wellness', health is linked to morality. We use the term 'health' here to mean skinny-yet-muscly with a natural tan, tribal tattoos and a bespoke meditation ritual. In this world, becoming healthy is as simple as buying a freshly squeezed juice and adding #cleaneating to the end of your photos.
It's a world journalist and author Brigid Delaney, who recently published her book Wellmania, understands.
"I caught the Bondi wellness paradox which is coke at night, yoga in the morning," she says in Mamamia's No Filter podcast. "If you have a big green juice it will absolve you of your sins."
"It's become a way of policing, in subtle ways, class and income."
That is, not everyone can afford organic spinach. Or week-long yoga retreats.
The paradox is by no means exclusive to Sydney's beachside hipster-suburb of Bondi. Many cities Australia-wide have their own 'Bondi wellness paradox'; their own cult of active-wearing activists whose self-worth is equally indexed to the depth of their crow pose and the quality of their coke.
Listen to the full episode of No Filter with author, wellness expert, and diet-guinea-pig Brigid Delaney, below.
Do you know a cocaine yogie? Or have you some experience with the 'wellness' paradox? Let us know in the comments section below...