A Lovely Bout of Introspection

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facebook-logoI like to use Facebook as my own personal newspaper. It’s like that 8th grade class where you’re learning about mass communications, and they teach you ‘Who, What, When, Where, Why and How” as the skeleton for conveying news, send you scurrying to read newspapers, and then have you mock up your own hometown blend. What I post is usually something I have resonated with, and deemed worthy of sharing for a variety of reasons.  I respect the freedom of others to do the same.

The ‘feed’ is another topic altogether. This is the reverse. This is where I am fed what other people place on their facebook page, based on whatever criteria they use to distribute information. My general rule in reading is that I need, yes need, a variety of positive streams to assist me in creating the vibration I choose to live by. I frequently use the unfollow button, when a person consistently distributes some brand of negativism. More often, however, I find hidden gems.

But there’s another side, too. Sometimes somebody posts something which gives me a glimpse inside their heart, or their mind… and I find it riveting, compelling, thought provoking and then begin the process of self-inventory to see what exactly are my beliefs in this area: what inside me has been triggered.

Recently I read one such post. I will keep the writer anonymous. Here is what she wrote:

So this is for me. A little honesty therapy I think would make me feel “cleansed.” These are MY thoughts. They don’t have to be yours. If you find what I say offensive, well it might be time for us to part our separate ways, and that’s ok. 🙂
After several years of practicing yoga, going through a seriously intense yoga teacher training, and teaching for several years, I’ve come to the conclusion that Yoga is 98% bullshit. “Yogis” are in my experience the most deceitful, self-centered, non-authentic and downright nasty people that I’ve ever met despite the fact that they’d rather you think they’re peaceful, grounded, angelic like figures. You just can’t be one with the earth while wearing $120 spandex pants. I publicly acknowledge that my posing photos posted here and on Instagram were ridiculous and pretentious. I no longer wish to associate myself within that group of people. For my penance, I wish to save you $100+/month and several hours of your time… Stretch gently, and in regular ways at home daily in a non-heated, comfortable environment. Using that time, take some deep breaths, relax, and reflect about how lovely your life is. You’ll get all the benefits minus the hipster, trendy crap. You’re welcome and thank you! ”

The first thing that came to my mind when I read this was that I have learned to express my feelings from the first person. It’s unlikely that I am ever going to rail at you for being a narcissist or a hipster or something related to ” you “.  I might instead say that after intensive study, after a teacher training, after several years of teaching, that I have discovered that I do not like the yoga scene and I no longer feel that teaching yoga is a good for fit for me personally.  Or I might cite a personal issue that came up, and how I felt about it.  Or I might even just be aware that this no longer serves what I feel is my highest purpose, and I seek a change.

It’s been my own life experience that occasionally things I once thought were so important and so incredible became less so as I experienced growth and change. I have learned that it’s okay to have a change of heart, based upon new findings.

My observations and experiences regarding the world of yoga here in the west have up to this point however been completely and diametrically opposed to what is written above. Just the other day I was talking to a friend about how I had received an anonymous gift in the mail and that I thought perhaps it had been sent by a person I met in California two summers ago who had started a pay it forward gift exchange. He and his friend had offered a shared ride from the Reno airport to Squaw Valley and I was lucky enough to be their passenger. They’re really two of the coolest most open hearted loving talented creative people I’ve met. Are they trendy, good-looking and hip?  Hell yes.

Yogis are not, however, without fault. On the contrary they are humans just like me with flaws and frailties with fears insecurities and also with strength encourage and tenacity.

And it turned out my anonymous gift actually was from another yogi and close friend. Just because. How nice is that?

This morning in a class it became apparent to me that Yoga may look like a purely physical practice but what they say is true – it’s much more. It’s really not about pushing your body to the point of injury. It is however about pushing back on the boundaries of comfort and finding that metaphorical edge.  Like with many physical endeavors we gain lessons in courage. We come away more aware of our weaknesses ~ the things that hold us back ~ and a newfound sense of hope and strength and support.

As a result of showing up regularly I have become aware of myself as having a positive courageous and open heart. I have become aware that I like challenges. And I have also become aware that it times I simply fall apart.

As I continue to dwell on this I think — my view on yoga is not so much who you are and what labels I can apply, but who am I and what do I bring to my mat, to the studio, and off the mat – into life. I like to think I bring sincerity. That is, I will try new things, I will listen and do what the instructor says, even if I’m unable I am mentally envisioning and sending messages to my body to give its best effort. I also like to think I bring an open heart. I am genuinely interested in the subject and in you. Lastly I like to think I have no real agenda except to be present and let this adventure unfold before me.

I am a relative newcomer to yoga at just over 2 years. My yoga adventures have lead me to 4 countries including the US and many states, as well as festivals and workshops. Overwhelmingly I have found the people I meet to be perfectly imperfect, but fascinating in that they too are following a path that is challenging and captivating. They seem for the most part to be studious, dedicated and warm hearted.

instagram-logoI’m well aware that we live in the age of the selfie, of social media, and I’m aware of the controversial gurus who have, like the golf and tennis pros and personal trainers of ill repute, fallen prey to the temptation of misusing their power as teacher with their clientele.

I’m well aware that there are clothing and fashion trends and that companies market heavily to a hungry consumer base. I heard someone say recently “Yoga: love the practice hate the scene” … And here’s what I have to say about that. If I’m uncomfortable with someone or something then I just go somewhere else. Live and let live. But live.

I make a conscious choice to expand my view and experience base rather than narrow it.  With respect to Instagram, asana selfies and yoga challenges, I have found personal growth, a sense of community and improvement in my practice because of this practice.

So it is with gratitude I conclude this rambling essay. I plan to continue my yoga practice and my hippy thoughts and wear the clothes I want and listen to the music I like… And to my anonymous, frustrated friend, I thank you for writing your thought provoking post and I look forward to my next magical yoga adventure…

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