Question: How Do I Feel About Yoga?

Via on Aug 16, 2013

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The more I do yoga, the more I develop opinions on how other people should be doing yoga.

I have opinions on what makes a good class and a bad class, on what styles I adore and which ones I will “never take again!”and on why other people come to a mat.

Usually, I’m not very attached to these opinions, and I can easily check into, “live and let live, man.” But even so, that doesn’t really change how I feel about all of it.

My opinion regarding yoga is that—to make a generalization—there’s a lot of showing-off and I don’t like it.

My perception is that showing-off usually falls into one of two camps.

The first camp is the selling of yoga as a commercial product: Buy me! and all happiness will come to you in the form of your dream body, fancy yoga-wear, an awesome set of friends to take class with and possibly a career wherein you will reach enlightenment.

The second camp is the “yogier than thou” camp. In this camp, the crowd will have you know that they are more evolved than you, so therefore they are too good for you. But hey, you could be more evolved too, if you just do this thing on this mat and then you will also be better than others.

(Now as people who love yoga, we all know that for as many irritating and frustrating experiences we have had with the industry itself, there are countless places to practice yoga that are filled with nothing but the exact nurture we crave.)

So, great. I know what my opinions are regarding this.

But…why do I care?

Because, ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Everything I just wrote about what I think is good and bad does not matter.

If even one person on this planet walks into a CorePower Yoga and that class completely changes their life forever and brings them only good things, what right do I have to shit all over it? Just because I wouldn’t have a transcendental experience there doesn’t mean that someone else won’t.

If one person walks into what I would call the hoight-iet, toight-iest spiritually-inclined yoga lobby and feels only love and thankfulness and acceptance, I can have nothing bad to say about it.

My opinion means nothing.

I think at the bottom line, we all just want everyone to have a good life. And we develop these opinions as sort of protections for other people. Example: commercialized yoga is bad because it does bad things for peoples’ lives.

But…what?

We can have no idea what it does for other peoples’ lives; we can only ever know what it does for our own.

In my life, I don’t need to take a yoga-aerobics-core-strength-ab-dominator class. And, I don’t need to walk into a space where the teacher will quote the Gita for two-hours straight, but not introduce herself to me before class.

That doesn’t mean that no one else should do these things.

Just being able to say that feels so fucking freeing.

I have to think this way because this is the way I feel free inside, and as it turns out, freedom is what the whole point of my yoga boils down to.

I want to feel free.

And walkin’ my talk means that I must create space to let go of all my opinions that tie me to a narrowing set of demographic factoids—limiting me down to a young, white, female who does this for money and talks to these people on the weekends and is super into this band (but not this other band).

Letting go of that opens me up to the possibility of becoming life itself.

Now, I’m not saying that just because I feel the need to abandon my attachment to having opinions, does not mean that anyone else should.

The whole point of me writing this is to a) hold myself accountable for what I find inside of me; and b) create space to release my own suffering.

My opinions cause me suffering—I don’t know what your opinions do for you.

I put this out here in the world to promote freedom for all of us.

So, please, carry on and live your life exactly the way you’re living it. And continue to shine on in ways that maybe I or other people don’t agree with. Accept yourself wholeheartedly and enjoy the company you keep inside the walls of your skin.

That’s what I’m doin’ over here.

 Like elephant yoga on Facebook.

 

Ed: Bryonie Wise

 

 

About Brentan Schellenbach

Brentan Schellenbach is a Chicago based yoga teacher and writer. She co-owns Fermata Yoga Center (FYC), a yoga studio based in the center of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. Through her work with writing, yoga and meditation, she is looking to promote the good-feeling of herself and the good-feeling of others. For writings and personal information, visit: BrentanSchellenbach.com For FYC, visit: FermataYoga.com

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One Response to “Question: How Do I Feel About Yoga?”

  1. Dottie Wagner says:

    Yes!!! This is so true…"my opinions cause me suffering". Thanks for the reminder to hold myself accountable for what is inside of me!

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