My head is spinning. Is yours? Seems to me there’s a lot of noise these days in the yoga world over, I dunno, just about everything. From not enough care in class, to puffed up egos, to objectifying women, and questioning the merits of teachers, the list goes on and on. For the past few weeks, it seems like there’s something new every day. Personally, I think there’s way too much talk and not enough practice.
I really cannot understand what all the big deal is about. It’s not like the practice of yoga has not been on the rise for a while now. It’s not like it just came out of the blue and smacked us all on the ass and asked us to take notice. And we all know that popular movements often take the heat of scrutiny. Seems like people don’t know where to funnel their frustration, so their turning it on yoga.
Most of the articles I’ve read lately are completely one-sided and unless you’ve got the balls to stand up for yourself and do so, much like Glenn Black, David Regelin and Briohny Kate-Smyth via Kathryn Buding, you are bound to get lost in the fold. [Read the articles above if you have no idea of what I’m talking about or need a refresher].
What surprises me most is how easily the yoga community is ready to judge others based on what they read, rather than what they experience. It begs the question, are you practicing your yoga at all?
Through the practice of yoga we learn to be more compassionate and less judgmental of others. If you’ve taken the time to read any of this banter, then you’d see that a good portion of what anyone is writing is completely harsh, bashing, and one-sided. Add in all of the personal comments and it just feels gross. Since when do we criticize others for their personal reasons for coming to class? Is it not enough that people want to move, breath and feel good? Why can’t that be reason enough? Do you remember why you stepped on your mat the first time you came to class or did you forget? Shouldn’t good teachers take an experience, whether it is ego-centric or not, and take it a little deeper so that students start to understand how loving and appreciating themselves can help them become more loving and and appreciative towards others? I would hope so at least.
Kaitlin Quistgaard, editor in chief of Yoga Journal, summed it up in her article for the New York Times: “the beauty of this rich and multilayered practice is that it meets each of you where you are, without judgment.” Well said! Each one of us has our own experience and unique journey to follow. There is no right or wrong way, there is only practice. Practice and listen to your body so you don’t wreck your body. Practice and calm your mind so you no longer attach to having to nail that headstand if it kills you. Practice and control your emotions so you don’t shortsightedly bash other people for their beliefs, but instead start to cultivate compassion and understand where they come from. Practice and learn to be kind to yourself so you learn to be kind to others. Forget what everyone else is saying and doing. Practice, practice, practice and as Sri. K. Pattahbi Jois said “all is coming.”
I shared this piece with a good friend and fellow yogi before posting. I wanted to air it out to make sure I wasn’t about to set myself up for disaster. She pointed out that anyone that has a dedicated practice for years and years can’t be completely dead inside. Meaning that at some point they’ve touched their soul through their experience with yoga and hopefully (fingers crossed here) are better equipped to navigate through all of the chatter, not only in the media, but also in their minds.
I love that. As you deepen your practice, you are transformed and the ego becomes more of a playmate rather than an enemy while you work through your karmas. You learn that putting your leg behind your head is not a requirement for enlightenment. Rather, learning to be still long enough to quiet the mind, listen, and let go so that you can touch your divine true nature takes time, dedication, and above all trust in the process and practice of yoga.
What are your thoughts on the recent articles criticizing the yoga practice? Do you think the conversation is necessary or completely overblown?