* What do you look for in Yoga?

yoga in India and USA

I subscribe to the Yoga Journal magazine, and I must be honest here and let you know that it looks more like a fashion magazine and Bally’s commercial than a journal about yoga.

Why?

Because I come away feeling pressured to be younger, skinnier and more beautiful. There can be some great articles in between a bunch of marketing telling me to:

tune in
lift up
strive
be strong
aspire
be awesome
get toned
buy this
look cool
eat healthy
as you give to the world
radiate
you can do it
….  and relax!

It feels exhausting being around this vata energy and targeted marketing.

Don’t get me going about yoga clothes either … I’m looking for clothes that fit and feel comfortable and don’t fall over my head in downward facing dog! Pink neon pants … really?

In my 30’s and 40’s I really wanted to be fit and awesome and now I know that what we all yearn for is to feel centered and accepting of ourselves.

A part of me understands that it’s  connected with the stage of adult life that we find ourselves in. Yet the message of what yoga is really about is being lost.

Yoga isn’t about postures, fitness and looking good.

It is a spiritual path that brings our attention inwards in order to awaken to our true Self.  Its about bringing alignment and a strong foundation into our lives… and yes, our bodies too 😉

It feels wonderful and empowering to find this place without competition, looks, accessories and being seen … just to accept ourselves fully and find peace within. There is a lot of love here.

And to those of you who don’t get it yet, I know it may seem like being old and boring, but to me its pretty darn cool.

Namaste

47 responses to “* What do you look for in Yoga?

  1. Chögyam Trungpa coined the phrase ‘spiritual materialism’, which was a reference to contemporary Westerners looking to ‘acquire’ the psychological accoutrements of their supposed spirituality as if they were tradable commodities. It is a failure of the mindset which sees no benefit in merely disabusing oneself of wrong views, and instead seeks only accrual and a putative betterment. As a result, we see the complete corruption of classical paths to liberation, a good example being Neo-Advaita and how it cascaded in popularity in the West over the past fifteen or so years.

    H ❤ [Not wearing pink neon pants.]

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Yes, Val, the Yoga Journal has become more and more magazine-like, with a growing emphasis on the external. How else will they sell more copies?
    Many studios, too, have added their clothing racks, adding beauty and style as a sort of 9th limb of yoga.
    Is this cultural appropriation, or is it simply revealing us Westerners for who we are?
    The government of India has taken a stand against this latest wave of variation on ancient themes. It may not bode well for Bikram-like and YJ innovations.
    On the other hand, if hot pink yoga pants will inspire more women (and men) to start a path of attunement, awakening, health, or self-awareness, is that bad?
    Vincent

    Liked by 3 people

  3. It always amazing me how consumerism jumps out at anything beneficial. It follows that which is good and constructive and the moment people begin to take an interest it starts dressing it all up in its profiteering clothes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • People are always looking for ways to make money, so it’s not surprising that marketing companies will latch on to anything popular. In a way it’s good that it attracts marketers – because yoga IS popular, and that’s good. Yoga’s popularity also means more classes available to all of us klutzes out here!

      Liked by 1 person

      • So nice to hear from you A! Yes – marketing companies latch on … And I believe its up to us to be mindful and make choices that work for us.
        P.s. Klutzes can do yoga! If you can sit, stand and breathe … You have the foundations for your practice.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Good for you for speaking out, Val. Feeling good in my body and mind is why I do yoga, not to be admired or envied. There can be a fair amount of social pressure in some yoga classes if you are ‘not in uniform’ although few would actually come out and say so. I find the neon pink yoga set humorous and kind of sad that self acceptance takes such a back seat to fashion vs. the ideals of what yoga can really be. I’ve seen quite a few women come to class then never come again because they felt self conscious and my instructor is really laid back! If it was one of those ‘high-achiever’ classes, I can imagine the attrition would be even greater, which is really too bad because I really believe yoga can be for everyone’s (and ultimately society’s) benefit.

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  5. I admit that my primary reason for doing yoga is fitness. I do a lot of cardio exercise, like walking and Zumba, but yoga is good for endurance and developing balance & core strength. I leave every yoga class sweating! That said, I think yoga does challenge us to use the breath to be able to do things with our bodies that we didn’t think possible. To maintain those poses is also a great challenge! My main mantra when doing yoga is mindfulness. That is my goal.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Don’t get me started on the lack of yoga clothing for us plus sized girls!! But, you are right, it’s more about the journey and the path for me, and a few months ago I realized I could do a move never done before, and that felt good, to know my body was changing as a reflection of my inside change – but last week, I did Cow Face arms. And my fingers hooked. Not just a brushing of the fingertips, but I was able to hook two fingers together! That felt great and I saw it as a result of the work I’ve done, inside and out, for the past year! And there is no way I could read a yoga magazine yet, I’m not that strong! LOL

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Enjoyed reading your post as also the comments. Inspiring to see the enthusiasm in yoga at your end. The lady doing the Gow Mukh Asana seems to be very good at it so also the Shirsana.
    Wish you a lovely weekend Val.

    Liked by 1 person

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