If you practice yoga, then you know all about yoga voice.
It is a sing-song, la-di-da way of speaking that makes most of us want to scream. But yoga voice is also a kind of groupthink that has infected yoga and it’s making even the smart people lose their mind.
Groupthink is a psychological term in which “the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an incorrect or deviant decision-making outcome.” You know, like love and light over reality.
For example, not one yoga trade journal has written about the recent downside of upward dog except for internet sources. So I thought it might be time for this yogi to find her voice about yoga voice.
Why Yoga Voice Needs to Fade Away Forever.
It’s highly contagious. Whenever I hear yoga voice, the la-di-da kind, I immediately start using it too! It’s like a virus, or when you see Les Miserables, and afterward everyone starts singing at Starbucks. “Can-I-haaaave-a latte-pleeeeeeease?” Someone stop us before the high notes!
Yoga voice, the other kind, is contagious and intimidating. When ‘yoga voice’ becomes Groupthink, then there is only one way to be and it involves endless blessings and love bombing. Then the sanctimonious yogis tell the rest of us that we’re not yogic enough. The good news is they probably offer a yoga training that can help us with that.
For example, the yoga voice yogis say that I shouldn’t write about yoga because I find humor in life (Even though I have written two books, have a master’s degree and three decades in journalism). In fact, a troll once called my employers to say I shouldn’t be allowed to work because I’m not yogic and not funny. Which is ridiculous, because I’m very funny.
Yoga voice is spiritual bypassing. When a student has been abused by a teacher, and the teacher’s response is, “You are not yogic because you are not happy,” the teacher then destroys any validity the student has regarding her experience. This is spiritual bypassing in yoga voice.
When the yoga world supports the teacher by saying, “If you were yogic you would forgive and forget,” they support the abuse. This is what is going on the yoga world these days.
Yoga voice creates shame. A teacher who speaks in yoga voice may tell a student that if she feels anger, then she is not enlightened. This is usually followed by, “Please pay me $3,000 for my teacher training program which will help you to feel bliss.”
Yoga voice makes you stupid. For example, we know that shooting innocent people in a movie theater is bad, right? But many Colorado yogis said at the time, “Let’s send love to the shooter.” How about this: Let’s send the shooter to jail. Furthermore, let’s stop tolerating the killing of innocent people and children. That’s the kind of yoga voice I want to hear, but unfortunately that’s not the kind of voice that’s infecting yoga right now.
Yoga voice creates fear and silence. This is possibly the most dangerous result of the yoga voice virus: it makes us afraid to speak the truth. For example, did you know that not one yoga magazine covered the Anusara Yoga scandal last year? The New York Times, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, and Texas Monthly wrote about it, but what about our own trade magazines? Why? Because the yoga voice yogis said, “If you write about this you are not yogic.”
Therefore, I have decided I will not have yoga voice. I will write about the truth in yoga because the people who love this practice deserve to hear it. What’s more, I will forgive when earned, remember the teaching and laugh my way to enlightenment even if it kills me.
But if I don’t succeed, I bet there’s a training that can help me with that. Right? Blessings.
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Ed: Kate Bartolotta