What she meant, she went on, was that her videos weren’t only about self-love. They reject the idea that sitting in front of a computer is the fastest route to becoming ruinously estranged from your body, like those gamers you occasionally read about who are found dead after going days without food or water. “When I think of the yoga industry or the wellness industry,” she said, “I think of a culture that intentionally or unintentionally markets to your weakness.” Mishler sees her practice as a welcoming, loving alternative. In one of her videos, she shows viewers how to hug themselves. The view count on this sequence only makes sense if you accept the premise that most people feel profoundly alienated from themselves.
Nine months into the pandemic, Mishler told me that she still hadn’t hugged any strangers since that woman in the thrift store. When we spoke on the phone in November, she’d just taken a road trip to West Texas with her boyfriend, where the two had gone for walks, ignored the internet and watched what she called “Sky TV,” which is just … the sky. “It’s constant programming,” she said, with customary Mishler sincerity. “We were there