In a perfect world (or in a world where money grows from trees), yoga would be freely accessible to all. There would be no such thing as $100 spandex pants or exorbitant yearly pass prices.
Unfortunately, the world is not a perfect place – nor does money grow from trees.
Let’s face it – I’m far from rich. In fact, I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum. I’m a student. In other words, I survive off student loans and the clearance rack at the grocery store, which offers brown bananas and bread that expires that day. Living on a student budget and immersing myself in yoga has been challenging, to say the least. There have been times when I have neglected my practice completely for weeks due to financial or time constraints. At these moments, I feel guilty; guilty for putting yoga on the back burner and not making my practice a priority in my life.
Lately, I’ve been hit hard by a wave of yogic desire, and I’m itching to start a regular practice again. I spend most of my free time researching yoga studios, festivals and workshops, and then staring sadly at my empty bank account. I’m a bad yogini, I tell myself. Real yogis and yoginis travel to Yoga Journal conferences and study with master teachers. Real yogis and yoginis do asana practice at real studios with real teachers.
Then, suddenly, I came to a realization. I realized that my definition of yoga had been tainted and warped by the influence of the modern world. Yoga isn’t only about sporting the top-of-the-line clothing and accessories, and studying with “yoga celebrities”. That’s probably the worst interpretation of yoga there is. Yoga is a lifestyle, a conscious decision to make the world around you a better place. Just because I practice to online videos on a mat in my room doesn’t make it any less worthwhile. I am living my yoga when I do kind things, when I act with mindfulness and intention. Each day I embrace the true principles of the yamas and niyamas, I am engaging myself in the practice of yoga. So what did I learn today? I learned yoga doesn’t equate to dollar signs, and that I can be a true yogini after all.
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