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July 30, 2014

Please Unroll Your Mat: Yoga Welcomes Everyone. ~ Debbie Laughlin

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas/Flickr Creative Commons

In the last few years, yoga has crossed over into mainstream as “the thing to do” and is also now used by professional athletes to enhance their training.

(As we know, Yoga enhances everything.)

But with the huge influx of new yoga students and new studios popping up on every block (like Starbucks), there are a handful of people that believe the purity of their practice is threatened or in jeopardy.

This convergence has actually turned the traditionalists against the basic principle of being a “Yogi/Yogini,” or what some might consider the true nature of spirituality—acceptance and peace.

I understand the desire to believe our community is sacred—and it can be— yet, being “sacred” (from the heart center), doesn’t mean exclusion or superiority.

Enter elitism.

How is it they (the established) are not sickened by their own loud and irritated attitude?

I also get the concept of trying to protect the integrity of the practice, but that integrity is lost when it becomes a hypocritical ideal.

Throwing-down disparaging pretension is less than “yoga like.” It is simply poor behavior.

We must remember where we all come from—it keeps us humble and everyone begins somewhere.

In Yoga, (as a practicing Spiritual Soul), we learn that judgments and jealous competition come from a bruised and unhealthy place—a place we all methodically work so hard to positively dispel.

The end goal is to see it, understand it, throw it up (in our mind not on others) and move on.

Knowing this, I am always a bit surprised if there is condescending energy from the “higher ups” especially when a new student comes to the mat. (Tilted energy can mess up a room quickly.)

How does this arrogance slip in?

I guess it walks right through the threshold with the rest of us because it is human nature to be a bit chaotic with our emotions and negative thoughts.

I have witnessed my own ego doing the same thing while choking on my thoughts and words, but an advanced teacher or student, really might want to have an allegiance with compassion and check the ego at the door.

It is a positive step for all involved.

Good vibes give good vibes back.

Holding out the judgment while breathing in love, empathy, understanding and grace epitomizes yoga as spiritual practice.

And, as the masses are joining us and seeking information to all the mysteries of spirituality, we might want to smile and applaud the effort with a, “Right On” or “Namaste,” because it doesn’t matter what anyone’s reasons are, or if they even have one.

What matters is the ripple of improvement, the pravaha (flow) that we experience as we all grow and send our energy out together.

From the novice to the Master, it is to understand that what we are all actually doing is building a healthier sister and brotherhood.

No one is polluting the practice when they decide to unroll their mats. Period.

Every thought we throw down then out and up will echo, so let’s make it a good one.

The energy (vibration) hits us all and no one can escape it.

My “note to self” is this gentle reminder: If we are going to spew, it could be with this simple chant:

“As I breathe in, I accept all. As I breathe out, I send love.”

A mantra, a lifestyle for us all. As we practice, the rest will fall nicely into place.

 

 

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Photo: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas/Flickr Creative Commons

 

 

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Debbie Laughlin