On Being Authentic (& Not) in the Yoga Community. ~ Britta Trubridge

Via on Jan 18, 2013

Warrior Two

The yoga community encourages ahimsa (non-violence) and warns against the effects of bad karma.

However, like all major philosophies and religions, some members of the yoga community are guilty of doing the exact opposite of what they advocate.

There will always be those who—despite theoretically knowing what is right and wrong or teaching it for a living—still have trouble integrating their yoga practice into their personal lives.

In reality, most of us have some aspect of our lives we have trouble applying yoga to, and truly this is where our practice comes in. For some of us it’s eating; for others it is asana practice, alcohol, sleep, relationships or business. In fact, I recently had the opportunity to bring my practice into a situation which arose in my own yoga business, and that’s the reason for this article.

The definition of plagiarism is, “the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.”

We are all collectors of ideas to a certain extent, always extrapolating bits and pieces of truth from our experiences and applying them to our worldview and lifestyle. But there is a big difference between modeling behaviors, and actually taking someone’s hard work and ideas and “passing them off as one’s own.”

When we do not observe asteya (non-stealing), we cause hurt not only to the other, but also to ourselves by knocking the foundation of the yamas (foundations for living morally) out from under our feet. We may gain an edge on our appearance momentarily, but as the Buddha says, “there are three things that cannot long be hidden, the sun the moon and the truth.” We must remember the importance of giving due credit.

In my case, I worked hard over several years to create a brand image for my yoga business which was in line with my lifestyle. I dug deep, thought hard and did my best to create something completely authentic, from my heart. It felt great, and I was elated when friends and strangers alike told me they were inspired by my work and had begun to make moves in their own lives because of it.

I was elated until I discovered this inspiration was being taken to another level by another teacher trying to pass off the essence of my brand as her own. Initially I thought, what a coincidence! But as it continued for months, and the mimicry began to hit closer to home, I began to feel hurt, angry and confused.

I thought I was crazy. Why on earth would this person want to take from me, when they were already so magnificent on their own?

After seeking the council of my friends and family—despite gaining more insight regarding the situation—they reassured me this was indeed what was going on. This is the yoga business, so I didn’t want to be too possessive over my work or ideas. Besides, they were never really mine to begin with and the sutras teach us to “be glad for those who are prospering, compassionate towards those who are suffering and indifferent toward whoever or whatever is giving you a hard time.”

In my case then, I had two choices: be glad for them—after all, they seemed to be doing quite well—or be indifferent.

Initially I chose to be glad. I reached out and offered to work together, and I commented and liked their posts online in hopes of both diffusing what was happening, and replacing it with love. Although it seemed to slow them down for awhile, it eventually picked back up again.

Then I tried to take the indifferent route, but just couldn’t seem to master the art of indifference. Rather, it morphed into some type of resistance, and as we all know, what we resist persists.

So why was this one hard to let go of? There was obviously some wisdom that needed to be imparted here, and the situation wasn’t going to go away until it was dealt with. It was clear this situation merited some soul searching, so I tried another route: I chose to look inside. My flow coach, Oren Harris, once wisely said, “The apparent conflict with others is only a reflection of your own negotiation with yourself.”

With plagiarism as the main source of conflict in my world, this could only mean I was being inauthentic with my very own self.

Ouch.

With this truth staring me in the face, I started to become keenly aware of aspects of my inner world which were not completely aligned with my truth, and I began to observe how I was projecting these misalignments. I also started to notice where I was taking credit for my yogic lifestyle rather than being humble and offering gratitude to those who had passed it down to me. In truth, there were tons of ways I could be more authentic, and in truth, it’s an ongoing process.

Nonetheless, the situation opened up into an opportunity to become aware of an internal misalignment, and to transform hurt into compassion, understanding and acceptance for both self and other. After all, we only have control over our own monkey minds.

But more importantly, it reminded me in the face of any difficulty, there is always an opportunity to get closer to my truth. And from here it becomes clear if this particular lesson allowed for a blossoming of the soul, then I have nothing but love and gratitude to the one who tilled the soil in my mind.

 

-1Britta Trubridge (B.A. Psychology), creator of B-Tru Yoga™, is a 500h RYT of the Sivananda Vedanta School, a 300h certified Ayurvedic Counselor and a Reiki Master with specialties in acupressure, crystal and chakra therapies. Britta is also an avid freediver and is the yoga specialist for the elite Vertical Blue freediving school. Britta’s synergistic work in combining yoga and freediving has allowed for a great depth of experience with internal flexibility, the bandhas, pranayama and mental artistry, which forms the basis of her methods. Britta regularly contributes to MindBodyGreen, Origin Magazine, elephant journal and Greenster and is an ambassador for Yogasana Yoga Mats and Ravishing Jewelry. Britta currently holds workshops and retreats worldwide.

 

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Ed: Brianna Bemel
Assistant Editor: Jennifer Spesia

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16 Responses to “On Being Authentic (& Not) in the Yoga Community. ~ Britta Trubridge”

  1. Anne Falkowski Anne says:

    I really relate to this article. I appreciate that you went through different stages before you got to a deeper understanding. This gives me hope. Jai.

    • Britta says:

      Hi Anne -It's good to know that others relate! I know that you will find peace and deeper understanding from it. Much love to you :)

  2. Carol Horton carolhortonbooks says:

    While I admire your fortitude and ethical commitment, I don't relate. If someone plagarized something that I had invested my time, heart, and resources into, I would be hurt and angry. I think these are normal and even healthy responses. Ripping off other people is not OK. Why did you feel that your only choices were to be indifferent or happy for their success at stealing from you? This doesn't make sense to me. My goal would be to feel what I really feel, accept it, process it, and let go of it. I believe in acceptance, but not indifference. That said, I'm glad that you found a way through this that worked for you.

    • Britta says:

      Thanks for your comment, Carol. I agree -and indifference did not work for me either! I know everyone doesn't agree, but I am a firm believer that I create my reality, and so I take responsibility for what happens within it. I did feel the negative emotions, very much so…and for a long time. But I just felt that the way through it was to look within and try to figure out why this was happening in my world.

  3. Clara says:

    The road to one's Self is what it's all about. There hardly exists a road that has not been previously walked on. We walk numberless paths in one lifetime and who knows, perhaps some day we will wake to see that we have become authentic, our true self just to realise we are really one and the same flame dancing in the wind. You rock, i find such honesty in your way of being as reflected in your online presence that i wish not to copy you, i actually recognize part of my self in you, parts i sometimes loose track of in the fog of everiday life. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Britta says:

      Thank you so much for your warmth, Clara :) You are right -all of life is recycled thoughts, experiences etc. A wonderful reminder and it relates so much to this example!

  4. West Anson says:

    Hmmm….I am not going say the person didn’t steal from you but let me ask you this. Is there ANYONE today, including yourself, who can stake a claim to anything original or unique with regards to Yoga? Whether it be sequencing, or Asanas, or Philosophy? I would venture to say no. Everything “new or unique” has simply been built upon past inventions and experiences. Hence you cannot Copyright anything in Yoga, just ask Bikram.

    With that said, I would also question how Yogis can practice Yoga with adherence to the Yamas & Niyamas AND run a business? The two are not compatible and when in conflict the business side will always come out on-top.

    • Britta says:

      Hi West, thanks for your comment :) You are right -nothing belongs to anyone. That was what lead me to look within rather than accuse. I do believe, however, that the Yamas and Niyamas can be foundational to an authentic business…or anything for that matter.

  5. Michael says:

    Hey Britta. You might be pleased to know that I've been to 5 different instructors teaching exactly the same sequences and they all felt completely different!!!! Even in Tai Chi people learn the same form from the same master but interpret it on different ways.

    • Britta says:

      That is the beauty of each person's individual essence :) All of our personal experiences can mix with a single teaching to give birth to hundreds of new ways of expression. All of which reaches and connects with different people in different ways. This is another reason why it is so important to honor our own interpretations and not simply replicate or mimic another. Our unique articulations truly do aid in the evolution of the whole. xoxo

  6. Bec says:

    It drives you nuts when people do this. My mother is going through a similar thing. She is an artist and has a friend who is also an artist but mainly paints portraits. Recently she has started to paint seascapes in a similar style to my mother’s and my mum has been painting like this for years. She is so frustrated by it and asked my advice. All I could say is you need to draw back from that person, rise above it as best you can and continue on your path with more determination than ever before. These people are unable to imagine great things and choose to mimic others. Rest assured they eventually get bored and end up choosing someone else to take ideas from. Don’t let it discourage you because carrying on with bigger better ideas and being strong and determined is something they will never be able to copy. I think both you and your husband are incredibly inspiring and love to see what your doing so please don’t stop! :-)

    • britta says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Bec :) Thank you also for your encouragement and kind words. Much love to you xx

  7. marya says:

    I think it's a tad hypocritical that in the conclusion of this article, you took the moral high ground, however you posted this article on Instagram with quite a negative message, threatening to publicly name and shame this person? Did you write the article so people could benefit from your learnings, or did you post it so you could have a vent?

    • Britta says:

      Hi Marya, thanks for you comment. I posted this article several months ago to share a story and experience and also in hopes to deter the person from continuing. My most recent sharing was a final attempt to deter them.

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