I was eating lunch alone yesterday and couldn't help but overhear a loud conversation between two people sitting very close to me. A woman was telling her friend how much she hated yoga. She spoke quite loud. She went on to vent about her feelings with certain styles of yoga, stereotypes and "skinny" yoga people. Her friend responded with his own observations which were mostly negative. To me it was like being the ultimate "fly on the wall." I didn't really want to be hearing them but I was locked in by the fact that I had just started eating my meal, and I was intrigued by where this conversation was going. Much of what they said was funny. As a longtime teacher of yoga I'm well aware of the best and worst stereotypes.
Many publications such as HuffPost, Elephant Journal and others explore the ups and downs of yoga from all sides. Recently another "yoga celebrity" was busted for sexual misconduct. A well respected guru type is exposed for being a bit of a cad around women. Lots of negative press surrounding all of this. Shocking? Not really. Another story of a powerful man or woman getting lost happens all around us.
Teaching yoga is one thing and practicing is another. When teaching I take the role of helping others as a guide into the physical and mental aspects of this ancient practice. I want to encourage and keep it genuine. In my own practice I explore my human qualities and gain insights into what makes me tick including where I need to expand and where I feel most vulnerable. I can settle into my body and rest my anxious mind. I just want to relate to the practice as it unfolds.
Being a seeker has a downside. If one is always seeking the best teacher, the best style, the best of anything...where does it end?
Yoga has reached a saturation and maturation in American culture. We've morphed it, dissected it, disrespected it, capitalized on it and brought it to Wall Street. There is much good in the yoga of today and that is where I would like to focus my energy. As a teacher I choose to keep it real and stick to basics. I'm not sure I want to know everything that's going on "out there." It will be interesting to see where the next wave is. Can you feel rumblings of a new paradigm?