Judgment is inherent in our being. As animals we need to discern if situations are safe or if foods are ripe. As a society though, we’ve amplified this action of the brain to include our every like and dislike down to a click of a button. We associate ourselves with “tribes” based on the clothes we like to wear, the slang we like to speak, or the brands we follow. Social media has made it easy to spout off opinions without ever getting to know someone else’s. Of course I find all of this disheartening, but what really saddens me is how it’s done in the yoga community. As students of this ancient tradition each of us is looking for liberation. As I stated in class last night, we come to yoga to either celebrate the divine within or to be reminded of it.
Your style might be different than mine… whether you strictly follow the lineage of your teachers or make it up depending on what feels good to you. Whether you want to practice it in the heat, room temperature, or in the nude. Whether you show up for a work-out, to destress or to connect with god. As long as the tenants are followed re: the ethics of the yamas and niyamas, posture, breath, withdrawal of the senses, focus, meditation, connection, then isn’t it considered yoga? If the ancients wanted it done in a strict format wouldn’t they have left that in writing rather than the sutras with their profound and yet, somewhat vague and debatable interpretations? Yes, as teachers we have a responsibility to our students, but my belief is that responsibility is to offer the tools that will connect them to themselves so they can find their path, not be loyal servants of mine. As conscious beings, it’s our responsibility to find our own way in this world, despite how easy it may be to subscribe to the path of another.
I teach the way I like to practice. Somedays it’s quiet and reflective with more mediation, sometimes it’s loud with chanting and fluid movement. I may take a soak afterwards or enjoy a beer (or both if it’s in my backyard). I’d like to think it’s always intuitive and that you never feel rushed or pressured – because we get enough of that out in the world. Some of you will like what I have to offer, others won’t. No hard feelings, we’re all headed in the same direction at different speeds and down different paths. We’re taught in yoga that everything is our teacher and our thoughts should not necessarily be trusted. Likes and dislikes shouldn’t define who we are. Opinions shouldn’t be so rigid that they separate us so defiantly. In the end, we are all connected to one another, this planet, life itself. Please remember that who you are is infinite. This path is yours. Everyone is divine.
**There are many spins on yoga these days, many of which I personally enjoy. I’ve been teaching it on Stand Up Paddle boards for years now, am currently studying it in the aerial format and lead classes at Big Stump Brewery the second Sunday of every month now. To me, these aspects of the practice are celebratory of our existence and tantric in the ways we find conscious pleasure in this human form. You’re welcome to join me or judge me. Either way, I’ll keep walking my path and you should yours.