My yoga is much better than yours
Ones upon a time I got myself involved in an argument with a yoga practitioner of a different lineage (I won’t name names:). I was mostly practicing Ashtanga back than and took it too much to heart when she said that Ashtanga is just a physical practice with no real spiritual value. There was a long pause for a moment as I didn’t know what to say to that. And than I charged – I had to defend Ashtanga’s honour, right? I called her practice boring granny practice and so we went back and forth like the two silly young girls that we were.
Few years later the Universe sent me another critic of my chosen practice. Just to see if I’m going to handle this one any better now that I’m a freshly certified teacher. I didn’t. I told her that the reason she is so critical and she can’t understand the point of arm balancing is – ‘cause she can’t do it! Some big bottoms were mentioned as well. Oops..
Later I felt bad and hoped and prayed for the Universe to grant me another chance. And it did. In a form of a handsome yoga teacher. This time he was on the Ashtanga side (see how that worked out?!) and I was defending my new found love, Prana flow. And this time I nailed it! I wasn’t defensive at all, there was no shouting, no big anything was mentioned:). I spoke from my heart and made him rethink what he’d said. He agreed at the end and felt bad for saying what he did. And thus, I completed a circle.
I still don’t know was it my more enlightened self or his beautiful bright smile that made me finally react as a yogini should:). I like to think it was the former.
I hear this a lot. Yoga practitioners and teachers of such and such yoga calling all other styles bad, wrong, not spiritual enough, too dynamic, dance yoga, too boring etc.
We all believe in the benefits of our own practice, even more if we teach. But, saying something bad about other styles, schools or lineages just because you might disagree or dislike it is not very yogic at all. You should respect any tradition and chose the one you find most beneficial for you.
There are so many different styles to chose from. They all have their following, some more than others. Calling something wrong just because you do it differently is just – wrong. Especially if you are a teacher.
Yoga is an universal knowledge that is here to teach us to get to know ourselves, to show us a way to our true nature, or rather to see and understand our true nature. Is there really a yogic formula that works for everyone? A teacher, a guru, a practice, a lineage that we all should follow and it will get us there? It would be great if there was, but I don’t think there is. We are all different. We have different needs, likes, and paths to follow to perhaps reach that goal in this or another one of our lifetimes. Also, is yoga the only answer, the only discipline that can get one there? Certainly not.
If anything, I believe we get stuck in our ways and our believes if we cease to explore other ways, other practices, other opinions, other truths. We end up narrowing instead of expanding our views and understanding.
So dear yoga friends, never cease from exploration..