How to Know a Real Voice When You Hear One. ~ Michelle Marchildon

Via on Mar 17, 2013

Source: verycoolphotoblog.com via Morgan on Pinterest

I’m starting to wonder about yoga, the practice I love and the people I adore.

There was a major yoga scandal last year, actually there were about six of them, but not one was mentioned in the yoga publications. Not one.

There was a book that documented serious injuries that could be caused by yoga, which was roundly poo-pooed by yogis (even by me). However, I have adjusted my teaching to be safer with the more dangerous poses.

There are studios who take advantage of teachers, and teachers who take advantage of students, and an industry selling teacher trainings, clothes, merchandising, marketing, retreats, festivals, videos, books, crystals, balancing bracelets, and a bunch of other stuff that promise to make you yogic.

But let me make one thing perfectly clear: I love yoga. I love it even though it is not perfect, and I love the teachers who are human. I love this practice the way a mother loves a child: unconditionally.

Yoga Voice

So when a yoga media company recently claimed to be a “real voice,” I had to sit up and take notice. Like every other form of yoga media, this program has never, not once, put anyone even slightly controversial in its lineup. It’s all been love and light. That’s a real voice?

There is a lot of fear in yoga. Studios are afraid that if students discover that yoga is not perfect, they will quit. Yoga magazines are afraid that if readers learn that enlightenment takes work, they will cancel their subscriptions.

And everyone is afraid of going out of business, well except for me, because as a writer I don’t have much of a business, so what the hell…

Then I got to thinking, what does it mean to have a real voice in yoga?

  • >> A real voice in yoga does not judge others who are not “love and light.” Darkness is the most straightforward path to the light because you can see the flickering star.
  • >>A real voice in yoga values different perspectives. Rather than drown them out with criticism, or with silence, they welcome the conversation. There is nothing to fear in education.
  • >>A real voice in yoga speaks from the heart, even if the things we say may cause discomfort.
  • >>A real voice appreciates differences because we know there’s more than one way to be right.
  • >>A real voice in yoga is not all peace and happiness, because that is not reality, although it could be about peace and happiness at times.
  • >>A real voice means saying the unpopular thing. Like certain yoga brands don’t appreciate older yogis, or that some people in yoga are occasionally mean, because we want to make things better.
  • >>A real voice means you are not afraid of change, and you welcome it if it makes things right.

Therefore, if someone is telling you they are a real voice in yoga, and that everything is love and light, and the only thing that matters is love, and people are always good, and the world is always sunshine, and if we chant our hearts are one, and that everyone else is un-yogic, and that your butt looks good in Luon, run. That’s right, run.

If you want to grow, then you want a teacher and a voice that will tell you the truth. When you fall off the path they will guide you back to where you are going. They will tell you when your pose kind of sucks, and help make it right. They will show you the way and they will love you unconditionally.

A real voice doesn’t ignore reality. A real voice appreciates your gifts and your flaws, and loves you anyway. That’s a real voice in yoga.

 

 

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Ed: Brianna Bemel

About Michelle Marchildon

Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She’s an award-winning journalist, and the author of Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga. Her second book, Theme Weaver: Connect the Power of Inspiration to Teaching Yoga, is for yoga teachers who want to inspire their students. Michelle is a columnist for elephant journal and Origin Magazine and a contributor to Teachasana, My Yoga Online and Yoga Journal. She is an E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance and teaches in Denver, Co where she is busy raising two boys, two dogs and one husband. You can follow her on Facebook at Michelle Marchildon, The Yogi Muse. You can find her blog and website at www.YogiMuse.com. And you can take her classes on www.yogadownload.com.

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7 Responses to “How to Know a Real Voice When You Hear One. ~ Michelle Marchildon”

  1. Authenticity is better than rainbows and unicorns. Yes, Michelle, YES. xo

  2. Vision_Quest2 says:

    "Therefore, if someone is telling you they are a real voice in yoga, and that everything is love and light, and the only thing that matters is love, and people are always good, and the world is always sunshine, and if we chant our hearts are one, and that everyone else is un-yogic, and that your butt looks good in Luon, run. That’s right, run."

    Oh, yeah … too much of that going on … and it's usually delivered by someone adept at doing "Yoga Voice" http://recoveringyogi.com/yoga-teacher-voice/ to boot …

  3. Lissa says:

    RIGHT ON. to me, the great value in yoga has been a deepening into self-knowledge and authenticity…which very often gets alarmingly dark. when we look up from this inward journey and see only golden girls chanting their way up Macchu Pichu and doing fetching inversions in Bali, rather than a reflection of the complex reality we’ve found inwardly, it can be both disorienting and devastating. I imagine this sunshine-and-rainbows spin has disillusioned a lot of authentic seekers who would have really benefited from an honest voice. thanks for your brave writing.

  4. Christine Stump Christine says:

    Speak it! My favorite line: "Darkness is the most straightforward path to the light because you can see the flickering star." I see your flickering star ;>

  5. Wendy Moore says:

    Love your straightforward approach to things. Thanks for keeping it real.

  6. Nell F says:

    Thank You So Much. I Am A Yogi. I Am In The Dark Right Now. I Really Needed Someone To Tell Me Its Ok ANd That I Not Crazy In Thinking And Feeling That When Everyone Around Me Is So “Zen” And I Am Not Even Remotely Proximal To That….That My Voice Is Real..

    • KKZ says:

      Important to remember that Yoga is not a competition, not even slightly. Getting to "Zen" takes time – I'm not sure, but by your comment I guess you're a beginner?

      In the end, yoga is between you and your mat. The sangha community can be wonderful, energizing and safe, but also cruel, demoralizing and uncertain. That's when you come back to your mat and your breath and your own voice saying OM.

      It is really really really hard not to self-compare, though. Especially when confronted with a "Zenlier Than Thou" personality. Life gives us the teachers we need when we need them; when you feel the urge to self-compare, that is your teacher, your reminder to honor your true real voice, whether or not it harmonizes with the other voices in the room.

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