People that never did yoga are now, all of a sudden, all about it. People that, up until recently, poked fun at that “new-agey, grass-eating spiritual crap” now live by it. Yoga used to be this niche market where those of us that did it were so cool because we were so different from everyone else. Similar to the tattoo market, the fetish market, the drama kids and every other clique group you can think of, we identified with a small (and in our eyes) elite group of yogis that helped us to better define ourselves when, otherwise, we were lacking.
who we were
we weren’t —
Let’s discuss my childhood. I started doing yoga when I was 10 years old. I don’t remember exactly what gave me the drive to start doing it specifically over any other physical activity. There was this local band that I was obsessed with, and the fiance of the bassist was a yoga instructor. I expressed an interest, and she was wonderful enough to start to teach me. I guess you could say it was sort of a happy accident.
Until my early-mid teens, I had always been seriously overweight. When I was 15-16 I was at my absolute worst (I won’t discuss the numbers). By this time, I had been practicing yoga on and off in lessons, groups, and by myself for a good few years.
At 16 I changed schools and went to a liberal arts boarding school somewhere outside of the City. I was vegan for nearly two years (it wasn’t so much a political thing for me, I’m just a vegetable girl); though I gave that up on St. Patrick’s day (yeah, who can resist mom’s corned beef?!). My depression waned – I loved the cold weather, the cultural experience, the atmosphere. Everything was different than it had been. Everything was better.
And there was still yoga —
Yoga helped me through weight and health issues, yoga helped me through my depression, yoga helped to calm and inspire me. Even at my worst weight, people were astonished at my ability to stretch, bend, and contort myself. But, to me, none of that mattered – what mattered was how good yoga made me feel.
Now, fast-forward to this past year. A decade later, and
yoga is this huge trend —
People that scorned yoga, people that poked fun at yoga, people that did everything they could to not do yoga are suddenly dedicated yogis. How can that be when yoga was our thing?!
I met this extremely pleasant woman a few months ago that is involved in the yoga community. When we first spoke, I asked about her sessions, etc, because, although yoga has always been there for me, there are times when I think a good few sessions would do well to inspire me to dedicate myself again.
Although she answered me, she seemed quite disinterested in my interest in yoga and in my, perhaps, booking a session with her. Yes, I’ve gone up and down in weight, and I’ve never (even at my skinniest [read:underweight]) had the lithe but toned body of a yogi. For as long as I’ve done yoga and as long as I’ve loved yoga, I have never been good at playing the part of a yogi. But I didn’t understand her reaction.
feel the need
But I didn’t ask. I dropped the subject and never brought it up again. I recently noticed that someone had posted something to a Facebook community of yogis about how they didn’t know whether they should involved themselves in getting frustrated over yoga posers – whether they should laugh, cry, comment, or totally ignore the person in question.
By now you’ll understand that I was being somewhat droll in the beginning of my post. This is an opinion of yoga-practitioners that I’m hearing more and more of on social media. Just the same as the alternative community doesn’t consider people with ear piercings or a butterfly tattoo “hardcore enough,” now the yoga community doesn’t consider people with a new interest in yoga “hardcore enough.”
This is something I don’t understand. Yoga has done so much for me. Whether you dedicate your whole day to the study or just an hour once a week, who the hell are these old school yogis, and what gives them the right to judge someone’s attempt at becoming more physically and spiritually centered!?
Isn’t that the point of yoga?
To be a constant student,
to seek out positivity,
to better understand oneself,
While I do understand commenting on misinformation or a misrepresentation of facts in order to help the parties involved to learn and grow, I don’t understand this superior attitude that old school yogis have. Those with knowledge should seek to impart that knowledge on their new counterparts – or, at the very least, just leave them alone.
It’s not like new yogis are sucking up all the good Karma.
Why invite negativity into practice that is all about understanding and positivity? If that’s the case, then we should really consider who it is that is really doing the posing.
To anybody just starting out in yoga: work hard, learn lots and don’t worry, you don’t need anybody’s validation.