Please, Step Away From the Yoga Mat!
Lately we have been reading and listening to so much yoga controversy. We have Bikram vs Yoga to the People, we have the Anusara exodus and other issues flying around. It seems to me we are losing touch with what yoga is all about and being directed towards a less spiritual approach to yoga. So I would love for all of you yoga practitioners out there to (please) take a step back and reflect on what yoga means to you.
I'm going back to basics here. The word yoga means "connection", "attachment", "union". Metaphysically it means to unite one's body to one's soul, it means the union with the Divine. It does not mean lawsuits. And by the way, asanas belong to all of us. And we don't care about money issues. We're here for the yoga.
For me, yoga means exactly what it means - linguistically. I feel connected when I practice yoga, I feel like nothing is missing.
I've been asking myself what are yoga practitioners intentions? I mean, why do we practice yoga? I believe that whatever reason has led us to the yoga mat is a good one, whatever has motivated us to seek out this path is good enough. But what makes us stick to it? Is it the popularity of the yoga style we have chosen? Is it because we learn directly from a world-renowned yoga teacher? Let's face it: it probably isn't. Odds are the style/teacher resonated with us in such a way that the teachings made sense to us.
I practice Anusara yoga mostly. Why? Because I love it. Recently I have made a conscious choice of separating myself from the current "politics" I see Anusara involved in; I still read the news, but whatever happens has no implication on my practice. I'm in it for the yoga, people. That's all. I love the principles, the way the practice makes me feel, I enjoy incorporating yoga in my daily life so much that right now I cannot imagine my life without what yoga has taught me. This is why I stick to my yoga practice.
Nowadays we have to admit that yoga has become a business and a good one. People live off yoga. There's yoga classes, workshops, trainings, conferences, books, videos, audios, websites, blogs, all sorts of apparel. And we buy them all! We read everything, we allowed ourselves to be sucked into this business. And I believe that's OK, as long as we remind ourselves - at least once in a while - of what really matters.
* Practice yoga from the heart; respect your body - always.
* Lead a good life, be kind to others; practice seva and karma yoga.
* Speak from a place of kindness and devotion.
* Listen and respect everyone around you as the Divine being they are.
* Try and see the good in everyone and everything.
* Respect and love Nature.
* Give thanks and count your blessings - daily.
* Feel connected, feel happy.