Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yoga And The Waves of Life

I have been taking Yoga more seriously for the last seven or eight months.

Sure; I was exposed to it long ago and have practiced many postures since I was a child. Lotus, wheel, and shoulder stand were all part of my childhood. I didn't know what it was I just knew it felt good and thought it was 'cool.'

In all of this practice I have been searching for the perfect course and the right teacher.


I have found something far different than I expected. Several well known teachers have not responded, promised things they later did not deliver and generally gave me a whole different impression of the practice and the 'scene'. I have looked and looked and can't seem to find the right fit. Recently I found another school I thought might be right for me. I found it odd that they more than respect their Guruji; they treat their spiritual master like an idol or god. Something does not feel right. It is like we are all equal but Guruji is more equal; this seems contrary to the concepts of yoga.

I already have a great teacher. This beautiful and graceful person has not done all the hoop jumping and paying and requirements to be certified to train instructors. YET... She is one of the best teachers I have found. There is a genuine concern for the student's progress, attention to detail in the instruction, breath  work (pranayama) in almost every class and the understanding that the postures are just a vehicle for mental and spiritual transformation. I have grown amazingly with this teacher and look forward to more.

What has lead to this new way of thinking is excessive pushing. One day my teacher said 'if you find that you are always pushing yourself to the maximum limit in every class; you must ask yourself why you are doing that.' I'm paraphrasing here but that was the gist of it; AND then it dawned on me: I am overachieving physically and missing the point spiritually.

I found myself with many questions inside especially after participating in one of the 'great' challenges on Instagram. There are many monthly challenges with postures each day.... You take a picture, post it and have a chance at 'winning' some mat, leggings, jewelry or other material thing. At first I thought this was a great way to stay motivated and participate in something 'larger' than myself. Connecting with this MASSIVE community on the interweb through my energy consuming hunk of tech.  
As I experienced the challenge firsthand I realized... The postures are thrown out with a short instruction and text. This is no replacement for a face to face encounter with an experienced teacher. There is little understanding of the meanings and philosophy behind each posture and a lack of respect for the discipline. For most its a glorified popularity contest to see who has the best photo. Login, see if you have won, take another picture, namaste and see you tomorrow. I am not participating in these challenges. Sometimes I need rest, some days the postures are not right for me, I can never find someone to photograph me and the whole point of yoga is missed in this competitive situation where $80 leggings and $90 mats are dangled in front of devotees like prizes for their dedications to these challenges.

Is this what yoga is all about?

We must open this discussion and ask these strong questions~!

How is it possible that you can go on a retreat, meditate with some people for a few months, pay some money and all of a sudden you can make humble devotees teachers. Do not confuse this exploration for bitterness or anger. This is a genuine concern for what is going on in this growing fad throughout the world. How is it possible that someone who has studied relatively little can suddenly call themselves a teacher and be looked up to as a master? By charging large quantities of money for these teachings does that mean that the poor do not have a right to yoga? Is it right to just go pay $2,000-4,000 to get a certificate saying you know much about this ancient and little understood discipline? 

Lets talk about this. I invite you readers to become participants. This is our blog. Lets explore what this really means.

With love light and healing vibrations for all.

Kelly Ann