October 30, 2015

Let us Unite, not Divide, Oh Yoga Snobs!


Let me begin by stating that I am most definitely not a Yoga Snob, (the definition of which will become clear as this article unfolds).

I love yoga. I have been practising yoga for 12 years, and it has become a large part of my life. I am a yoga teacher, I read about yoga, I listen to yoga lectures on Udemy, I watch Yogaglo videos until I am blue in the face and I am constantly on the internet searching for yoga articles.

Let’s safely assume that yoga is big in my life.

However, what gets my goat, what peeves me, what really cheeses me off about the yoga world is that there are so many Yoga Snobs out there!

You will know exactly what I mean if you have ever been made to feel inadequate for not practising yoga every day without fail or neglecting to meditate daily whilst sitting on your custom-made silken cushion (no doubt in your special meditation corner in a dedicated room in your home filled with incense and Buddha statuettes).

Or if you can’t do a perfect headstand and then show your upper body weakness because you simply cannot manage the perfect arm balance in your Crane pose. And can’t quite get your head on the floor in Standing Forward Bend in your sweaty, sexy, Bikram class (and show yourself up because everyone else can see you as they effortlessly rest their head on the mat and look through their glistening, toned legs at poor old you unable to conquer the pose).

The shame of it all is enough to put some poor beings off yoga forever.

Or how about when you decide as a yoga teacher to spice things up a little in class by including a pair of one kilogram weights for your yogis-in-training to (optionally) use? You hear murmurings of disapproval from other teachers who have discovered what you are doing and insist that, “What she is doing is not yoga at all, it is just a fitness class.”

Then when you are not totally earnest and solemn in class and sometimes throw in a little joke and amuse your students by doing a David Brent dance whilst demonstrating Goddess pose? Goodness me we can’t have comic yoga teachers, can we?

And when you get a bit bored with the same old yoga playlist that includes dreamy sitar music, piano solos and soft, floaty, wavy sounds that people expect to hear whilst concentrating on their Eagle posture or lying in Savasana? You pepper it with a bit of The Eagles, or old-school Madonna or even Drake (now it’s getting controversial) just to prove the point that any music can be played in a yoga class.

But oh, no, you can’t possibly do that, how could you think that our yoga citizens want to hear RnB or Country on their yoga mats? Who do you think you are, mad teacher? We must stay true to the yogic path. What would this say about our lovely, fluffy, yoga community if nobody stuck with tradition?

I will tell you what it says. It says please, please, live and let live! Please move with the times. Please do not judge us if we are not the perfect impression of how a yogi should be.

Allow us to do whatever we feel is right to encourage as many different types of people onto the mat as possible. Please don’t be dull and start raving!

Please let us reach out in whatever way we can to those folks who can’t stomach the idea of a green smoothie for breakfast or a gluten-free cabbage wrap for lunch. Perhaps by appealing to the masses and not being stuck in a stereotype of what a yoga student should be we can engage more people and put more butts on (meditation) seats.

Please, Yoga Snobs, stop judging us for not being the perfect specimen of a yogi, as it is surely only your idea of perfect and not anybody else’s?

Let’s all laugh at ourselves, love ourselves and embrace the quirky differences that we all have—all our nuances and the many contrasting ways that make up this magnificent world of ours.

Let’s not judge a yoga teacher just because they are mixing it up a little; instead enjoy the fact that we can appeal to so many more within the global community if we stop harping on about the true nature of yoga and how it has to be “just so.”

Yoga is unity, so let’s all unite in our distinctiveness and have a good Buddha belly-laugh about life—both on and off the yoga mat.


Relephant Classic:

Yoga Doesn’t Care: A Disclaimer that should be Posted in every Studio.


Author: Natalie March

Editor: Toby Israel

Photo: distelfliege/Flickr // Andrea Parrish – Geyer/Flickr


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