January 10, 2014

When Yoga becomes Entertainment: My Love/Hate Relationship with Online Videos.

It makes for interesting alchemy, practicing this ancient art of yoga, as a modern householder in America.

Not only do we have to choose from the 45 some trademarked styles and rising, we now have the online yoga entertainment on the rise. Instead of going into a cave with our guru we can go into a cocoon with hundreds of teachers and styles online and never have to leave our room.

The thing we must cultivate as we find ourselves blessed with this mainstream entertainment yoga dichotomy is discernment.

What I love about practicing with the online yoga videos:

I don’t have to leave my house.

I can pause it to check email.

I don’t have to listen to the teacher—I can be rude and do handstand while they are warming up or forward fold while they are doing handstand.

I can fast forward through intention setting, when I know my kid’s movie is only an hour long.

I don’t have to dress any certain way, or even get dressed at all.

I don’t have to leave my house.

What I don’t like:

I am more likely to injure myself.

No adjustment and touch of a teacher.

No breath or synchronistic movements of supporting each other and our intentions.

As an introvert, I am too comfortable.

I was too afraid to walk into a yoga community until I started teaching.

Only when our inner voice of dharma gets louder than our fears and insecurities do we make change.

Today I work with people who have cancer, and the best thing I can do to serve them, is to help them out of their cocoon, and into a community space of healing.

In the world of yoga entertainment, I hope we can educate each other on where the true well-being lives.

As  Swami Satchidananda said, “The only difference between Illness and Wellness is the first letters.” We belong together.

Practicing with my teacher, Shiva Rea’s DVDs at home is a little different because it reminds me of the transference I have experienced during our times together. I hope that my students receive the same grace when they are practicing at home with my yoga paraphernalia. A home practice is also unique and it takes a very advanced and disciplined yogi to achieve a consistent one.

What a home practice can give us:

It gives us a chance to be creative. Think of your mat as an empty canvas and you as the paintbrush.

It gives us an opportunity to really listen. Listen to our bodies and explore with curiosity our range of motion.

It strengthens our confidence as we learn to trust ourselves as inner guru.

It cultivates both flexibility and focus. As householders we may have a few interruptions so it teaches us discernment about when we need to ignore the phone calls, or let go of our routine and practice and just play—with the kids, animals, partner—whoever is vying for that attention of your.

Again, we need each other.


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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Tiny Tall/elephant journal archives

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