Yoga Blogging Chronicles of Brooks Hall

Via on Jul 14, 2011
Yoga Blogging at the Library
Brooks Hall blogging after yoga at the Chicago Public Library.

Hello, I’m Brooks Hall, and I’m a yoga blogger. Other than that I am a yoga practitioner, yoga enthusiast and a yoga teacher.

Yoga, yoga, yoga…

Exactly.

I published my first blog on July 29, 2008. At first I thought it was going to be a blog just for me and my thoughts. And if others read it, well great! Then a writer friend convinced me that if I was going to spend the time doing this that I might as well make sure that other’s read it, too. So I registered my blog at a couple blog websites (that I no longer pay attention to) and joined Facebook to promote my blog to other yoga-interested people. A bit later I joined Twitter to continue to widen my audience. I met our Waylon on Twitter, but at that time I didn’t feel ready to grow past my personal blog at that first Twitter-meeting.

Then, my blog was mentioned in the August 2009 issue of Yoga Journal. It was so exciting to be recognized by them. Wow! I was hitting the big-time. I was inspired to write, and write and write. People were reading my blog.

For about the first 2 years of my blogging I had the sense that I was writing to an intimate community of like-minded friends, even though I had a public blog. I received friendly and supportive comments. And I was writing about my personal experiences with yoga and my reflections on philosophy.

On April 7, 2010 I published my first article at Elephant. This time it was Bob Weisenberg who asked me, and when I saw that my blogging cohort, Jay Winston was doing it, I knew that I didn’t want to be left out. The much wider audience I received at Elephant changed my experience of blogging.

Writing for Elephant Journal has inspired me to write about things that go beyond, yet still include me and my experiences with yoga. I’ve written about the sex of yoga, suicide, sexy yoga, vaginas, mulabandha, slutwalking, pain, feeling like doo-doo, and everything from eating to pooping, and other unintended effects… (of course there’s more!)

In fact my original personal blog has become more of a launch pad for my writing at other places than a place to stop and read—except, perhaps, for the occasional haiku poem, or there is also the extensive archive. In addition to my writing at Elephant, I also have a separate mulabloga project and blog. And the exciting new thing I’ve been testing is video blogging: so fun!

Yoga bloggers are examining what we are doing right now due to a conference panel at the Yoga Festival Toronto (August 19th to 21st, 2011) called Yogging Heads Panel: “The Cutting Edge of Yoga” (…really don’t like the name “Yogging Heads”)

YouTube Preview Image

Carol Horton got the conversation going a couple weeks ago, to help her to prepare for her spot on the panel. She will be presenting along with Roseanne Harvey and Bob Weisenberg, moderated by Matthew Remski.

My opinion on blogging yoga exists somewhere in between Ben Ralston who believes that “you did not help yoga evolve” (even though he might not be talking directly about yoga blogging) and Carol Horton who thinks that “yoga blogging matters.” And I think it’s really a bit much for me to think that I might be on the “cutting edge of yoga” as Roseanne Harvey has stated the place of yoga bloggers. At the same time I find myself appreciating their bold expressions.

Ben Ralston sets up his piece to “smack us down”: I get that right from the title, You did not help yoga evolve. And so I disagree with the vibe of it, and sort of resent the assumption that he thinks that this is what readers generally believe—it just stirs the pot in an unpleasant way, for me. But I agree with the concept that yoga is bigger than the individuals that practice, so I can’t really own anything about the larger unfolding of yoga—none of us really know where this thing is going. Which is cool.

As individual yoga practitioners we offer the valuable resource of our time and attention which does contribute to what is happening in yoga. So I matter in the small way that I can: by doing yoga I participate in the process. Do I run the show when I practice? No. Clearly not. I might be able to use my body and breath in ways I intend, but even if I can do that, how the practice affects my consciousness is something that is not totally under my control. I can learn or understand a lot about the process, but it is alive and changing so any effort at total mastery is a false presumption.

Carol Horton and Roseanne Harvey are getting pumped to speak on the panel, so I can understand their—what seems to me to be their—somewhat inflated speech on the place of yoga blogging.

When I say, “I am a yoga blogger,” I consider this statement to align a bit closer to the statement “I have an obsession/addiction/guilty pleasure” than “I matter” or “I am on the cutting edge.”

Simply said: I love blogging about yoga!

I get a charge from doing it!

When I finish a piece I often feel excited, spent and quiet. And then a new process begins: I get to see how many people are viewing, recommending, tweeting and commenting on the blog. It is a rush and so affirming to be read. And the comments take me into new thoughts on the subject at hand—my world grows larger when I take in the views of others, and I love that!

If I am feeling irritable or blue, if I just apply myself to a new blog post I end up feeling excited, stimulated and renewed.

So blogging is super-personal for me. I feel it. It has helped me to feel much more connected with the world. Subjects that seemed too big to just start up a casual conversation about in the past, I might have just remained alone with, but now I have a forum: a place to speak about these things. And I’ve found out over and over again that I am not alone in my viewpoints and feelings. There are others who feel and think similarly to how I think and feel. Totally affirming for someone who hasn’t always felt like they “fit in.”

Yoga blogging has given a sense of purpose, stability and connection that I could not have experienced before now—because now I have access to a wide variety of minds, and stimulating, brilliant personalities.

Thank you, readers! And a respectful nod to Yoga Bloggers!

I’m just not sure that yoga bloggers are changing the world, or becoming better yogis. I’ve become a better writer and a more balanced and confident personality. But the way to really change the world is to love our neighbors, do righteous deeds, and enjoy and hear the people in our lives. Internet writing, like other writing, can be a bit isolating. And I become a better yogi by practicing: actually getting on the mat makes a real difference for me!

Brooks Hall in Adho Mukha Svanasana
Brooks Hall practicing yoga.

About Brooks Hall

Brooks Hall is a Yogic Muse from Chicago, Illinois. In this capacity she teaches Yoga, writes about Yoga, and generally enjoys it. You can find her at: brookshall.blogspot.com.

1,858 views

Appreciate this article? Support indie media!

(We use super-secure PayPal - but don't worry - you don't need an account with PayPal.)

30 Responses to “Yoga Blogging Chronicles of Brooks Hall”

  1. Love this, Brooks. I love everything about it.

    I'm going to post it right now to the Elephant main Facebook page.

    Thank you! We are lucky to have you here on Elephant.

    Bob W. Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  2. Mat Witts says:

    Ben Ralston of course is completely right. if we take time to immerse ourselves in where yoga has been we can get a very clear picture of where it is going. If we don' t like it then we talk about evolution or revolution and trademark yoga with an adjective or as a Proper Noun and abandon the common noun (which came first). We phenomenalise it, personalise it, anthropomorphise it – write about it – therapeutise it and still the yoga we have today is the same yoga as we had thousands of years ago. Yoga is not mutative and to think that bens view can be rationalised and reduced by reference to the disagreeableness of what he is saying does pinpoint the modern yoga malaise which happens to be a perennial one. We have to put the toys down sooner or later and Ben is simply pointing out that choice is ours to make whenever we feel comfortable in making that step.

    • Brooks Hall Brooks_Hall says:

      Thanks, Mat, for your consideration here. The phrases "of course" and "completely right" ring closer to a dogmatic approach to yogic spirituality, where I'm more interested in the process of questioning and inquiry. I see that the world is very different than the ancient world is said to be, and therefore our yoga may need to manifest differently to help us during this time. The seed of inspiration, or spirit may be unchanging in an unmanifested form but how it spins out into form clearly changes, if we are willing to take into account what is actually happening in the world.
      Thanks, again. I wish you well, even as we might see the yogic process differently.

  3. Tanya Lee Markul tanya lee markul says:

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Assoc. Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  4. Yogini5 says:

    The myths that most yoga bloggers practice Ashtanga, and that a yoga blog was originally meant for public consumption have been shattered with this post.

    That being said, I don't consider myself a yoga blogger even though most of my relatively recent blog entries have been about yoga. That was not intended. It's more like nutrition and body-image. Inspirations emanating more lazing around a pool deck than wiping off my sweat from practicing my rites in a yoga den/studio.

    And I sometimes "steal" from you yoga bloggers (both ideas and words), so keep it up!

  5. Tanya Lee Markul tanya lee markul says:

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

  6. brandi says:

    Brooks…great article. I just became certified and my blog has really become focused on that journey and how yoga affects every aspect of my life. I find that writing about my experiences with yoga helps me learn the lessons that are in front of me. Writing about it seems to manifest what I need much of the time. Do you find that as well?

    • Brooks Hall Brooks_Hall says:

      Hi Brandi! I like the spirit of your blog! And I, too, definitely learn through the process of blogging! As for this part of your comment:
      "Writing about it seems to manifest what I need much of the time."
      I don't know if I find that as well… I haven't been writing with that aim in mind. Writing can remind me about where I have more work to do, and it can bring awareness to the incredible blessings in my life and fill me with gratitude.
      Best to you! And happy blogging!

  7. Claudia Azula Altucher Claudia says:

    Nice Brooks. I guess I had the same reaction to Ben's article, matter of fact for some reason have not read it, and I guess maybe it was because I was a little put off by it, will read it after practice… I relate to your stand of being somewhere in the middle, I have however gone on the other side, I do think it matters and mostly because I have learned things from the blogpshere (i.e.: from amazing tips on backbends that I never heard in a shala, to obscure cleansing practices and sing posts along the road to meditation) that I never did learn in classes or even intensives… Feels to me like we are back to trantric times, all talking out in the open all finding what works…

    Great article! enjoyed reading

  8. Tanya Lee Markul tanya lee markul says:

    Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

  9. Simply put: your many fans (and cohorts) love that you love blogging about yoga!

  10. yoga-adan says:

    brooks, i had this post up for days (had to refresh to post) and am so glad i hung in to finally get to read this

    my feeling, reading your post, is almost of history and history's participant, like from an old time newsreel, only now its a new-time blog real ;-)

    esp liked, "I matter in the small way that I can: by doing yoga I participate in the process" –

    which i think, though, negates your own feeling further in the article –

    "I’m just not sure that yoga bloggers are changing the world, or becoming better yogis..the way to really change the world is to love our neighbors, do righteous deeds, and enjoy and hear the people in our lives."

    i think you short-change yourself there – the feeling i get reading your words is of someone loving their neighbor, caring, enjoying and listening to the people in your life, even if digitally ;-)

    best wishes ;-)

    adan

    • Brooks Hall Brooks_Hall says:

      Thanks, Adan! Yes, being satisfied, or contented (even more yogic) with ones individual contribution no matter the size, amount or force seems beautiful in this light. As for the last part of your comment, I'm speechless and a little teary-eyed. I do care, and for you to notice and say so means something to me.

  11. All interesting thoughts & an interesting blog. I think that any creative endeavor contains a combination of "this is what I want to express" & "I'm not sure why, but I feel the need to express." I think it's ok not to know exactly why you are yoga blogging or to justify it really, despite my own urges to do the same! I am an artist in addition to being an Anusara Teacher & a writer & spent years in the art world getting down my explanations for my work for artist's statements, studio visits, & catalogues. At a certain point, I stopped caring so much about justifying my process & product & just..let..it…be. Totally liberating.

    As for the changing the world or the furthering/not furthering yoga debate, it's sort of karmic, in the sense of karma meaning action (the Tantric view). All action precipitates a waterfall of consequences, results & further actions, so yoga blogging definitely expands yoga's boundaries – perhaps a sweeter & more accurate way to look at the process as opposed the idea of a linear development. If the love is there & the intention is good, yoga blogging is creative, fun, provocative, & sometimes a service.

    Anything that furthers thought is positive in this light – you know?

  12. [...] I have a slight bias here. But it really was good! News of this panel had ruffled a few feathers in the yoga blogosphere last month, with criticism that it was lofty, self-important and disconnected from the practice. [...]

  13. [...] months. Flying Yogini warned that yoga blogging mustn’t be elevated above practice. Brooks Hall doubted that yoga blogging could change the world. Many commenters agreed with [...]

  14. matthew says:

    hey brooks, and commenters —

    thanks for your preview-interest in this event — this is how that panel turned out, from my point of view:
    http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/08/yoga-blogg

    cheers…

  15. Brooks Hall Brooks_Hall says:

    Thanks, Roseanne! Your point is taken about the "cutting edge" and "edge of change". I do feel myself to be a part of an "edge of change" I love to write about topics that need more light, awareness and consideration. "Cutting edge" has an old, pretentious tang in my inner sensibilities—totally a reaction/distortion on my part. Thanks for saying more about it—it helps! It matters to me (Carol H.)! A difference, a shift in me that is totally due to our conversation. Now I feel more involved.

    I'm glad that you are back on the scene, Roseanne!

  16. Brooks Hall Brooks_Hall says:

    Thanks Meredith! Yes, you said it: we somehow touch one another with our words and are affected by that interaction.

  17. carrie says:

    i totally agree with meredith blogging is way to incorperate my two passions yoga and writing

Leave a Reply