Despite incessant resolutions to commit to my practice, I have long struggled with creating a daily sadhana that sticks. The stereotype of a committed yogi, though, is one who wakes before the sun and spends hours on their mat followed by a long meditation, incense burning and sitar music playing in the background. Right? There [...]
I’m just going to say it: I am fed up with the “yoga every damn day” mantra. Along with the insta’d images of one armed handstands and beachfront backbends, I feel like this is just another way to yoga shame. I’m willing to admit this may be projection on my part. But, for every day I don’t get on my mat — and let me tell you, between the holidays, a new puppy, and a blizzard, there have been MANY of those lately — I can’t help but feel this hashtag is directed squarely at me. What I read into it is “If you were a real yogi, you wouldn’t let anything stand in your way of a daily practice.” I hear that familiar chant of “bad yogi, bad yogi, bad yogi” in my head.
I’ve never been a fan of organized religion. I didn’t grow up with it, so it made little impact on my life except around the holidays when everyone started picking sides – Chanukah or Christmas. Given my mother’s propensity for food and presents, I celebrated whatever holiday could be covered in foil, ribbons and chocolate. And that was fine by me!
Of the eight limbs of yoga, four — pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and that ever elusive mistress, samahdi — are forms of meditation. Clearly, Patanjali thought meditation was kind of important and who am I to argue with a great sage?
I often say that yoga has made me less of an asshole. I used to be a quick tempered, intolerant, ego driven human being. Many years of yoga have, thankfully, helped to soften some of those sharp edges. The person I used to be -- though she looks a lot like me -- has little resemblance to who I am now. It’s like she’s my evil twin and has been relegated to some far off place from whence she is seldom heard any more. Except for at work where she tends to make regular appearances.
There’s been a bit of a debate going on among my Facebook friends this week about yoga in these here parts (e.g. the West). I certainly have my own issues with the topic. I get on my soapbox all the time about the commercialization of yoga here in the U.S.; the culture of yogalebrities and the focus on Cirque du Soleil moves. But, regardless of all this soapboxiness, one thing remains absolutely crystal clear in my mind; there is power in the practice. Regardless of what direction your path takes, the power will meet you where you are.