August 4, 2010

Enough already! Is yoga freaking people out?

When is yoga just way too much?

We’ve got yoga blogs, yoga products, yoga-branded health food—Prana nuts anyone?—Yogi Tea, cat and dog yoga calendars, and more and more yoga studios arising all over the place. Do I love it? Yes.

Do the people in my life who don’t practice yoga love it? No.

And they’re not alone. There’s begun to be a yoga backlash. Anti-yoga rants by newspaper health and wellness columnists are getting more frequent. Media are resisting running yoga-related stories, explaining that, “We’ve done yoga to death.” And a few of my nearest and dearest are getting close to becoming completely anti-yoga, simply because they’re sick of being told they should do it—not by me.

So here’s what I’m wondering: Is it all too much sometimes? Are we, in our attempts to share the incredible life-affirming benefits of this practice, actually pushing people away from it?

I’ve been considering the idea of energy exchanges on my blog lately, and think I’ve pretty much concluded that when we invest energy in ourselves, in our heart-calling, we invite people in. When we reach and struggle to pull them towards us, we repel them away.

And as I sit writing, teachings from two of my favourite teachers come to mind. Keep in mind I’m paraphrasing here—these are not direct quotes.

Gurmukh: When you come home from your workshop, and your partner asks you how it was, don’t go on and on about it. Just smile and say, “It was great”. And leave it at that. Don’t say, “Oh, you should have come, we did this and that, and it was so wonderful and transformative.” Just go about your daily life, embodying what you’ve taken away.

Max Strom: You can come home to your partner, your family, your friends, and say, “Hey look what I can do!” and put your leg behind your head. You might have been working on this for eight years. And they’ll shrug and look out the window. Just live your life with integrity, use your yoga skills to keep yourself happy and healthy off the mat, and inspire through example.

I don’t know what the answer is to my initial question. But I think, for me, the personal solution is to simply stand in my own space, and quietly invite others in.


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