Wow… over the coarse of the my near 30 year relationship with yoga I have seen more than a few changes. I remember a time when Savasana was not a household word, when yoga classes were held in cold school gymnasiums or someone’s living room, when yoga empire would be assumed to be a new Star Wars movie and when teachers had all studied in India with a dedicated master & lifelong practitioner of not just asana but all yogic principles. Considering nearly every philosopher since recorded time has found one way or another to say ... the only thing that is consistent is change... we best not be getting our knickers in a knot about the change yoga has undergone and will continue to undergo.
Now in the era of glamorous drop in studios, yoga corporations, yoga teacher training factories and every type of yoga trademark or product under the sun I can not help but smile. Change is inevitable and change is good…. That is what yoga has taught me. Occasionally I hear individuals , including myself make fun of what has become of this new western version of yoga…… but who hasn’t enjoyed a gym yoga class or eyes up a pair of Lululemon pants, sipped on a Yogi Tea or flipped through the pages of Yoga Journal?
Could I even support myself as a yoga teacher without all this hype that brings millions of students to the mat each day? Health is said to be the fastest growing industry in the Western world, yoga being at the forefront of that growth... how can that be bad?
I have a choice to be apart of commercialized yoga or not or I can choose to practice by similar principles of the many yogis before me. I can choose teachers who have dedicated their lives to study. I can choose to attempt to learn and integrate all 8 limbs on & off the mat. I can choose to teach in an environment without the fluctuation of drop in to dedicated students willing to commit to this ancient practice. I can choose to adapt my practice and my teaching as I continue change and grow. I can choose to follow my own inner guru who tells me all yoga is great, all yoga helps people, all yoga has purpose . However, as people are not exactly the same, not all yoga is the same. Just as there is room for all the different types of people we must make room and accept all the different styles of yoga. As students and teachers of yoga we need to choose what our truth is and honor it to the best of our ability. Trust that if you follow your heart it will lead you where you are meant to go.
In the light of all the yoga drama in the media over the past few months regarding the Anusara and Ashtanga communities my heart goes out to them. It is never a good feeling to be judged. We all make mistakes and have to live with the consequences... this does not make us any more or less yogic….. as Jesus said “ let he who is free of sin cast the first stone. “ In my experience there is no right or wrong when it comes to yoga simply learning, the more we practice the more difficult the lessons become.
"Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field; I'll meet you there." ~ Rumi