Today we are dipping our toes in somewhat of a hot topic in the yoga world. If you are on Instagram, tumblr, Facebook and following the yoga accounts on there you are quite familiar with the majority of the online yoga scene now. It’s very visual (of course, social media is connecting us on a visual and auditory level mostly). The photos of the yogis and their poses are very advanced, beautiful, acrobatic and sometimes simply seemingly impossible to achieve while the cover girl – model – looking-yoga girl is smiling while performing the pose.
I have always been a person that makes sure to see things from everyones perspective, I stay away from single mindedness and one size fits all assumptions, I avoid yoga purism based on some ancient book that we may or may not understand fully and it may or may not apply to the consciousness of humans nowadays. Everything has its positive and negative sides to it even if the positive is that something has become so unhealthy that it is exposing more and more the need for change.
The reason why I have always been a proponent and a teacher of a home based practice is because it allows one to understand his or her body before others explain to us how to understand our own body. It allows the mind to quiet down so that true experience and experience of the pure self occurs. It is a great tool in creating a safe place for us where we can connect simply with a deeper part of our own soul and it allows us to develop body and soul awareness in the process. Self reflection is more likely to occur in the quietness of an empty mind in an empty space (room).
Another aspect of a home practice is the lack of competitive edge it has, due to its lone nature. That way we are protected from falling into unhealthy self abusive, self denying, self deprecating self talk.
But… and here is the “but”
As the social media and technology has allowed us to create more safe space in our own company away from the crowd, giving us tools for self advancement (doing youtube yoga sessions for example), in the same way it has created the potential to become extremely unhealthy- where we are constantly bombarded while at home, in our safe place, with images of perfect yogis in unattainable poses that keep us in the realm of hungry ghosts. We are never good enough, we are never there, we have not achieved enough, theres more to want and desire from ourself and our practice. And here, our realization comes back to – no matter how much our world has changed in the past 20 years with the advancements in technology, at the same time we are still pressed with the same dilemmas, issues and challenges to overcome as we have always been. In essence we have to develop our connection to core, core truths and core strengths regardless of the presence or absence of the unhealthy sometimes images. We are not immune to the world, we cannot live in a bubble. But what we can do – is we can be so core centered that things with little meaning (such as a photo) does not affect our groundedness the slightest bit. And this is exactly how a healthy practice can serve us- by building us from the core out.
I am not entirely a fan of the super acrobatic poses most yogis nowadays are into. I see the great value in them- they are fun, motivating and most of all they make yoga seem cool. They draw in a young crowd of yogis who are better off showing off their amazing poses rather than drinking in night clubs and abusing their bodies (but be aware there is a fine line of similarity here) .
Personally I do not get much on a spiritual, emotional or physical level from achieving some of the fancier poses. I don’t even practice many of them because a lot of them don’t seem very practical and way to ambitious for the mind to be able to remain healthy while achieving them.
So that’s my main message!
Practice as much as you need to!
Make yoga more spiritual and less spectacular!
Make yoga more practical and less visual! So that yoga can serve your body esthetically and practically (strength, cardiovascular endurance, muscles, toned legs, abs, yes! firm BUM, shoulders, joints, SPINE, neck… you get my point). I would much rather teach and practice the practicality of getting a strong core and flat belly (which is not just a visually pleasing thing but also good for digestion and health) then endlessly practice flying from forward bend to chaturanga. :)- that’s why we have the body shaping series on my channel along with the longer vinyasa sessions.
Lets appreciate the visual aspects of yoga and even participate in it on Instagram but at the same time lets not get lost in it. I see a lot of yoga girls that are highly competitive and unhappy with themselves that are not getting the just of yoga and not getting empowered by yoga, all by their own choice. Remember the only reason we are living is to become enlightened. And how we become enlightened? One of the ways is through yoga where we yoke- we combine the body, mind and soul through the breath. So why cancel the goodness that yoga offers by getting caught up in the ego’s need to be competitive.
Practice more self love, trust in your own inner wisdom! Connect with your higher self more.
Lets take the power of our own pure selves back into our hands. Be silent, be still, be humble, be loving and spread that around. Whether you can do a slow fancy transition from down dog to forward bend is highly irrelevant and to me not practical to practice daily as it gives me no physical benefit and definitely no spiritual benefit! So I tend not to practice it 🙂
I teach classes that are very focus oriented on achieving a strong and balanced physical body while not getting completely caught up in the body. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about being healthy, strong and achieving a balanced physique with the help of yoga and movement. I am all about finding, seeing and expressing physical, emotional and spiritual beauty in all of its in forms and expressions. At the same time our main focus at the end of the day is the spirit. All the rest is just tools for us to use in our own evolution in consciousness.
P.S. sorry for the catchy title but I really needed to capture the article in a short sentence 🙂