Interesting title to the post tonight, eh? Hopefully it peaked a little bit of curiosity.
A friend and fellow teacher posted on her Facebook wall this phrase today: “Dear yogis, be kind to other yogis. Love a yogi!” Reading that phrase, you may be thinking that yoga is all about peace, love, and om. But a different energy has begun to shift into yoga that needs to be addressed and cannot (should not) be ignored.
It’s competition. Oddly enough, for what may be a group of people that are more “zen” than average, yoga has become a competitive sport. I’ve had other yoga teachers/practitioners/students post on my Instagram (IG) photos how I could better achieve a pose, many of whom I only follow and who follow me – never having met in the real world. I’ve had friends and fellow teachers call me out for being a “young” teacher in my short two years. I’ve been surprised by students and teachers of other styles confronting me when they do not agree with my primary style of yoga – Forrest.
And it saddens me. Deeply. What is that about and where does it come from? My opinion (and it’s just mine), is that it is the influence of the world at large. Business is about making a buck; yoga teaching has changed from guiding and helping students to making a buck. I get and acknowledge – as a teacher in DC, I am a small fish in the pond. I’ve known in my heart there are bigger fish circling. But rather than setting out to “win,” why not set out to lift?
It’s my goal with the term bad yogi. We each have our own path. While my path is right for me, my path is not right for you. And vice versa. I get excited for students and friends of mine that go for more advanced or additional trainings, even if it’s a style I don’t practice or know much about. That excitement comes because that friend is stepping out on their path. Every step forward on a path is THRILLING! And should be celebrated. When friends/teachers get new teaching jobs, I get excited for them because that’s the (non-spoken) goal of most teachers – to reach a broader audience of student. And when teachers speak down about the day in, day out grind of teaching, I will call them on it because quite frankly, we are so lucky to do what we do. Having worked in numerous office settings, 9-5 and Monday-Friday, I will tell anyone that listens – teaching yoga is the BEST thing I’ve ever done. I honor that daily.
What does all that mean? I don’t know. Honestly. I think that everyone – yogis and non – need to do a better job of truly being happy for others. Of learning that someone else, when they achieve success, doesn’t actually take away from our own experience of it. And I think that IG yogis that correct my heart opening poses and coach me to go deeper need to know – every heart opener causes amounts of panic to roll up through me that only with deep breathing and a desire to walk my path have allowed me to actually hold the pose long enough to snap a picture.