Over the years I have come across a variety of articles written by modern day yoga teachers and students who have had enough of the yoga scene. Feeling that he or she is dedicated to the real thing, the articles express frustration and concern regarding the sexualization, physicalization and materialization of what we currently call yoga. From my limited exposure to these articles, as I choose to not fill my mind with this type of information, I view them as accurate in terms of what is happening in some parts of the yoga world. So what?
One of primary focus of traditional yoga is self-observation, which means if yoga is an essential component of how I perceive my world, I need to be clear in terms of what I want from my practice, and offer my attention to that aspect of yoga, and not to the distractions created by marketing gurus.
A few years ago, I was at a retreat with a traditional yoga Guru, and someone asked him what ascetic yogis thought of what we have done to yoga. He simply said: They don’t think about it.
As yoga teaches, our attention is a very powerful tool, and at any moment we are choosing what we are giving the gift of our attention to. Once our attention moves towards something, we energize it, for good or for bad. If I offer my attention to the yoga I don’t value, that is what I am filling my mind with, and what is the point of energizing a form of practice I don’t believe in?
So what I am suggesting is that if you love the essence of yoga, don’t waste your precious energy bashing the yoga you resent, as the conversation only fuels that practice. Instead, let your conversations be about the wisdom of yoga, read and write articles that inspire you, meditate, get on your mat, breathe and get to know your ‘self’ through introspection.
This way, we continuously remind ourselves that what we focus on grows and develops the sensitivity to internally and externally experience the yoga we value. May our thoughts and our words be a representation of our highest aspirations.