Yoga has become a very loud, very obnoxious industry. It’s everywhere a person looks…yoga studios, yoga pants, yoga bras, yoga bodies, yoga videos, yoga accessories…yoga yoga yoga. This is the gleaming industry of business…the industry of people who like to make money and know how to make it, through exploitation and through feeding human insecurities. The yoga industry is the same as any other….the cosmetic industry, the vitamin industry, the oil industry, the carpet industry….you name it, it’s an industry like all others. Profitable and glamourized. The more beautiful it becomes with catch phrases and beautiful young girls, the more this industry grows, and remains that subliminal message of “you need this”. When it’s everywhere, we become so saturated in the message, that we don’t even know we’re absorbing it anymore; we just come to terms with yoga being what the industry says it is. Without any questioning of it. And this isn’t going away, there are more people “practicing” various imaginings of yoga than ever before…and these numbers aren’t going down.
We’re refining the nutrients out of Yoga, the same way we do with fast food. This way, it can be the quick consumption that the mainstream prefers, so they can get on with something else. It is for this reason that I created my website. Because there are teachers out there who are still remaining true to Yoga as a lineage, as a discipline, as a way of fostering acceptance and an aligned way of life, as a way of honouring traditional teachers of each lineage. And, believe it or not, there are students who do long to know where to find these teachers; teachers who can support them in their own growth of the practice toward greater self awareness.
As the numbers of yoga teachers multiplies, the fewer there are who can really support their students, who can really provide the true nature of the practice of Yoga. The yoga we’re forced to gulp down is a message of “already having arrived” and “having arrived perfectly” (bleached hair, bikinis and ponytails) with zero effort to get there. Where is the self-knowledge in this? Traveling to India for a YTT without knowing that Yoga is about self-knowledge? What a joke…traveling to the “Source” for your teacher training without knowing this! Yoga has become beyond a dream, it has become a fantasy. Oh, the irony.
I’ve traveled to India many times and I’ve experienced the learning curves in the same way there, as I have at home. It’s not necessary to go to India for this self awareness. If we know self-awareness is the Yoga of yoga then we can sift the fantasy out of the image. We can get down to brass tax and deal with ourselves, wherever and whenever we are. To know that Yoga is based on self-awareness, it’s absurd to travel to the “mother land” for a certificate, without knowing this…it’s abhorrent. It’s abhorrent because of its destructiveness.
Yoga takes a lot of grit, Yoga takes a lot of courage, Yoga requires daily reminders and discipline. Yoga is to be respected to the extent that it respects you. Because it will guide you through your challenges…and anyone who says they’re never challenged and never have been, are living on another planet entirely. I have deep respect for the Yoga Teachers who are committed to sharing the teachings they have learned (and lived) from their own Teachers. I support them the best I can through the community of sharing their works on my website…as they struggle to stay afloat in a world of “Barbie yoga” (as one of my students calls it). There are beautiful stories shared from each teacher on my website, because they have the strength and personal confidence to have been vulnerable enough to reveal themselves…..their loves and struggles with the practice.
A vast majority of teachers today don’t even know what that is…and they don’t know that they don’t know. I strive for honesty on my page because Yoga will strip you to the bone in the most beautiful way, if you let it….and this is a scary thought for those who are just stepping in to it…they need to trust that others who have gone before them have survived the journey. Yes, many have and we’ve got your back. You alone walk through your own journey, but it’s comforting to know that it’s normal to be afraid, it’s normal to think you don’t know what to do, it’s normal to want to turn back but you can’t…it’s normal to have walked half way into the rushing river and have no idea what to do. And then it’s normal to come out the other side, having benefitted from the few bruises you’ve been left with. You will be ok on this journey because Yoga will take care of you. Get gutsy, get real, be afraid…you will be so glad that you did. I trust any one of those Yoga Teachers I have listed on my website to support you as you go forward…and I’m always on the lookout for adding new teachers and what they offer, so keep your eyes on it.--Letters In Yoga www.lettersinyoga.com