The many sides of yoga

Several years ago, one of my yoga teachers announced to the class, “keep your eyes on your own mat.  Their practice has nothing to do with what happens on your mat.”  The idea changed the way I thought about yoga… and school… and life… and then I wrote my college application essay about the quote, and then I tried to live by the quote.  Because whatever makes them happy is just that… what makes them happy.  And whatever makes me happy…

I just figure… and this might be a little too atheist for you… that my life is really just my life, and it isn’t worth much else.  I’m going to live it, happily or not, and then it will be over.  It’s super morbid and depressing, or it is super relieving and enlightening.  Because when I die having not been the president or a millionaire or an amazing author, maybe I will still have lived a happy life.  Success! 

This is my blog… and those are unedited thoughts coming out of my head.  Read it or leave it. 

This brings me to tonight’s yoga class.  I decided to try a new studio that is near work because they have a $25 for 2 weeks new student special, and because my firm will pay for half of my “wellness” expenses, so it just got even cheaper!  So I went today after work and tried one of their classes. 

Dear yoga,

Why are you so pretentious?  Why do we need to chant, put our hands into a prayer position, and sit in a heated room for more than an hour?  Does that really make me a better person?  make me more fit?  release energy out into the world from my heart? 

I just wasn’t buying it tonight.  This was the perfect contrast to the humble and simple yoga to the people that I came to know and love in Berkeley.  Does it make yoga more meaningful or effective when the teacher counts off the poses rather than explaining each posture, or does it just make the new students feel like idiots?  I wasn’t sure. 

Anyway, thanks, yoga.  Thanks for reminding me that yoga isn’t yoga isn’t yoga.  People make yoga what it is.  There are so many kinds of yoga for so many different kinds of moods and people.  Tonight I realized that my eyes were almost NEVER on my own mat, but on the people around me doing fabulous handstands.  I can’t even get my injured hamstring straight!!  The class was a reminder that perhaps I have let my eyes wander off of my own mat in my daily life as well. 

Yes, I will play the corporate game.  I will align my behavior with the expectations that come with my role, but I will not be disappointed in myself merely because I am witnessing the success of others. 



I still have two weeks to go at this studio, and I assure you I will not be going to that class again, so I’ll be sure to update you as my search for a down to Earth practice continues. 

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