10.18.2013

In defense of Yoga

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I started practicing yoga a year ago. In that time it has become a big part of my life. It brings me joy, it makes me feel strong and capable. Its given me a noticeable measure of progress in what can otherwise be a humdrum day-to-day.

So then this:

Anonymous said...
Expect a lot of hate mail about this one. Yoga people act like they are full of peace but I think the opposite is true. Whenever anyone says anytihng negative about yoga they lose their shit.


This wasn't the first time I'd seen a comment like that, so when I read it, I'm not going to lie... that comment, from a humorous post by Stephanie Snowe about her "yoga failings," really bothered me. This world is made up of good, kind people; and vindictive, nasty people. Both demographics cover every particular race, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation, job, degree, and yes, sport.

So here, is my defense of yoga, and what I find to be its most common criticisms. 

Yoga is both a physical practices and a exercise in focus, breathing, and mental fitness. While yoga tends to be more focused on finding your inner calm then many sports, the end goal for most practitioners is just trying to do something we love while using our bodies and minds in a way to keep them healthy. There is a joy in that, but it isn't unique to yoga. Runner's high, the endorphin rush after a great game/match, most people experience something like it or else they wouldn't go back! Yoga simply chooses to help you focus that inner exultation in an attempt to carry it through your everyday life. You do not have to be Buddhist to practice yoga, you do not have to be a drug hazed hippie walking around "namaste-ing" everyone*. You just need to want to move, stretch, and get in touch with the workings of you body in an amazing way.

Which brings me to the fact that there are jerks in yoga. Yup, there are. I've seen that guy with the Namaste bumper sticker flipping you off as he peels away. But there are jerks in every sport. Are there some who would jump all over you for not liking yoga? Sure. But they are the (unfortunately loud) minority. 

The honest truth of yoga is this: Most of us are just normal people. We're not all Lu.Lu.Mon wearing goddesses with perfect tresses, tiny thighs, and impeccable balance (dear god, take one look at any of my pictures and you'll see that!). Sometimes we fall, we sweat, and sometimes we even fart. In class. No lie.

I went into yoga wanting to try it, wishing I'd love it, fearful that it would be just one more thing that wasn't for me. I'm so grateful I tried it. It is one of the first exercises that calls me in and makes me want to do more. I don't do it because I should. I do it because I want to, because I need to, because I LOVE to. And if someone like me wants to share that with you, well take it as a sign that we want you to find something you love too.




*FYI: Namaste is a Hindi greeting meaning roughly: salutations to you.

2 comments:

  1. I guess I'm lucky to only know people who happen to do yoga rather than these 'yoga people'. Too bad that a few obnoxious folks have managed to turn others off an activity entirely

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    Replies
    1. Exactly. Thanks for the comment Mer!

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