I often peruse yoga blogs, blog commentaries, and yogi Facebook groups which frequently leave me pulling out my hair thinking, “My goodness! Yogis are the worst! So much drama!”
Why is it that for a group of people who are seeking a path toward enlightenment, surrender and acceptance, yogis are so quick to judge, reprimand and be opinionated about… well… everything!? Be it the argument of “My yoga style is better than your yoga style…” Or “That person put their mat too close to my mat…” Or “This studio is better than that studio…” yogis seem to find themselves in the midst of these arguments all too often.
As a teacher, studio owner and yoga student for over 15 years, I have some thoughts on this. I say this lightly and in jest, and by no means count myself out of the group, yet I believe there is reason to look into this further.
Here are my top 3 reasons why Yogis are the Worst:
1. With intelligence and awareness comes ideas, opinions, and in the space of online forums… gossip and drama. Yogis are some of the most intelligent people. We gravitate toward a yoga practice because we seek internal silence. During our yoga sequence, there is no time for thinking, making lists, or over analyzing. It’s just me, my breath and the moment (at least that’s what we are trying to achieve.) People become passive aggressive or just plain aggressive in their comments, while still claiming openness. I see comments like, “I’m not judging, but…” For future reference folks, the “but” invalidates the “I’m not judging part.”
2. More recently, people practice yoga to achieve fitness results and the spiritual aspect of yoga becomes secondary. This is what attracted me to yoga too! However, one of the main pursuits of yoga is to achieve BALANCE between the physical, mental and emotional self.
This goes three ways:
The three categories are interchangeable. So it doesn’t matter whether we are practicing yoga to get fit, or we are practicing to relieve stress and balance emotions, the side effect is more balance- a balance between mind (mental), body (fitness/therapy) and soul (emotions). But, this takes time to achieve so in the meantime yogis are “the worst” because there can be a sense of superiority that comes across as arrogance and narrow mindedness. Thus we are subjected to thoughts and opinions which go unchecked outside of the yoga bubble.
3. Commoditization of yoga and the yoga lifestyle has been fast on the rise leaving us with a false sense of spirituality. We are told by the mainstream media that wearing the best yoga gear (yes, I like my clothes), driving the hybrid car (yes, I have a Prius) and having the right yoga mat or towel (I’ve got a bunch) will enhance our lives and are what make us good yogis. All too often, people walk the walk and talk the talk, but most haven’t gotten to the place of true enlightenment (we do try though). In fact, what makes us good yogis is our ability to keep showing up. What makes us good yogis is the practice of getting back up. What makes us good yogis is our practice of compassion.
So how can we use what we learn through our yoga practice and apply it outside the yoga room?
One thing we can do is recognize that our yoga practice is a microcosm of our “real” life. Everything that happens in the yoga room can be applied to some aspect of outside life. I call this process S.L.A.P. Here’s how SLAP works with learning a new yoga posture for instance.
See the posture and visualize it in your mind
Listen to the instruction
Approach the posture by setting up your body
Practice the posture by doing as much as your body allow.Now apply it to gossip. To move away from gossip and more into balance remember SLAP.
See yourself and notice your thoughts.
Listen to your internal voice and recognize what voice is higher self.
Approach the conversation from an open perspective, or better yet, skip to the fourth step
Practice Dharma not Drama. Turn off the device, or close your lips, and just walk away.And if all else fails, keep it simple! Just SLAP yourself upside the head for your silliness, do more yoga, and try again tomorrow.