April 10, 2012

Yoga Snob? Or Have I Just Found My Niche? ~ Justin Dees

Photo Credit: Flickr The Commons / swaza

Am I a Yoga Snob?

“Would you like to come to a Kundalini class with me this afternoon?”, my friend asked. Having been to my first Kundalini class a little over a year ago, I quickly replied, “No, I’m good. I’m not really down with that.”  To which he replied, ”Wow. I’m surprised how closed you are to it. Interesting. What’s coming up for you? What’s the resistance?” And, I had to think about it for a minute. Am I a Yoga Snob?!

When I think of a “Yoga Snob,” I think about someone who truly believes that their style of yoga reigns supreme. In their eyes, other types of yoga fail by comparison, and they aren’t afraid to let others know about it.

Like I said earlier, I agreed to take my first Kundalini class with a friend, a little over a year ago. He didn’t want to go alone and I had never tried it, so off we went, mat in hand. The class was held at a woman’s home in Hollywood, sometime in the evening. After walking into the “yoga room,” I quickly realized that I wasn’t in Anusaraland anymore. Dimly lit with candles, I felt like I was on a camping trip in India.

The room was draped with tapestries, was full of hindu deities, crystals, and sage, of course. None of the other students were in yoga/workout gear either. The lady of the house instructed me and the five other students to form a circle and have a seat. Oh, and I was to place my mat off to the side, as I would not be needing it? At that point, I became slightly nervous.

The entire class was breathing, chanting, singing, followed by a lot more breathing. I felt a little uncomfortable when the teacher talked about our anal locks (Mula Bandha) while we were performing the “Breath of Fire,” arms raised. I know many people who love Kundalini, but I clearly wasn’t getting it. I felt out of place. I thought to  myself, “Who am I? Why am I here?” At that point, I think I would have been more comfortable sitting through Catholic mass. And, for a gay agnostic, that was saying a lot.

When class ended, I scooped up my unused mat, dropped a few bucks in the dontation bowl, and headed to the car rather quickly. My friend and I parted ways at the end of the night with hugs. And, with me telling him, “Don’t ever call me again.”

I do believe I’m open to different styles of yoga, as I’ve been in many different kinds of classes. Anusara just resonates with me.

I have taken another Kundalini class since, and it wasn’t that bad. I did some research on it beforehand, and had a better understanding of the concept. But, I don’t believe it’s for me as of yet. And, who knows, it may never be. I’ve even been spotted in a Bikram class before, only to realize that the combination of carpeted floors and intense sweating, is not something I can tolerate. On the other hand, some Anusara terms such as “inner body bright,” and “melt your heart,” makes some people want to vomit.

totally get it.

But, the cool thing is, there are my styles of yoga from which to choose, so we can find our place, our niche.

So, are we all just Yoga Snobs? Or have we just found our niches?

On the tail end of a breakup, Justin Dees took up yoga at the local gyms to keep himself focused and occupied. He came across Karen Lane, a certified Anusara teacher, who took his practice to places he could never have imagined. She also kept a permanent smile on his face during his difficult transition. She introduced him to an Anusara kula who became another family to him. They provided a sense of community, love and support during every step of his journey. After this, he was hooked! Justin found his “home” with Anusara yoga. Every day that he is on his mat, he grows physically and emotionally for the better, and has the best time in the process! Justin’s teacher once told him, “You have to try and find the light in even the darkest places.” With his Anusara kula, yoga mat and his bare feet, he is doing just that! Justin is blogging at Justinsjourney.net. You can also follow him on facebook here and on Twitter @Anusarajustin.


Editor Tanya L. Markul

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