Yoga is just not that interesting.

cd38ae3042a5453142cae002bccf141bSomething fascinating is happening in the Yoga world. If you are one of the 20 million Americans who practice Yoga, perhaps you’ve noticed. The old girl, she’s looking fancy. Much like Christmas, America has given Yoga a makeover so fabulous, so flashy, and so commercial, that Yoga traditionalists everywhere are wondering what to do with themselves. Recently, a few of them put their bare feet down, and voiced their opinions to the New York Post. The Yoga world has split off into two camps-those who think that Yoga is an inward experience meant to increase Peace and Union, and those who think it’s a workout that should be made accessible to all people, regardless of how it becomes filtered or diluted from it’s original intent. As a Yoga teacher and Personal Trainer myself, I fall into the third camp- those who are excited to just be having the conversation. An awesome thing is happening in this age of Yoga “bastardization”: something new. We’re not sure yet if it’s something bad or good, but it is new. The Millennial generation and the Baby Boomers have created two distinct and separate fitness needs for their lifestyles, and yet, the goal is the same: to stay fit while also calming the F down.

The truth is any kind of Yoga does this. Whether it’s traditional Hatha Yoga or Hot Yoga, or Chair Yoga, or Surfboard Yoga, or DiscoYoga or Voga (the hybrid of Yoga and Voguing), or whatever some business brained Yogi has copyrighted as “new”, it’s the same stuff. Do you want to know why there are so many different “types” of Yoga? Because the reality is, Yoga is just not that interesting. I mean, let’s face it. It’s an ancient Indian practice traditionally practiced by older, isolated dudes in loin cloths, that a few Westerners picked up on because they were told it made you feel really, really good. And that’s the other truth of all this- it actually does make you feel really, really good. So in order to make an old practice seem new, something needed to change. Yoga needed a powerful PR team. In order for these same, few, stagnant poses to remain interesting, day in and day out for years upon years, and in order for gyms, studios, and teachers like myself to make it appealing to a new demographic, we’ve had to “sell” it.  You know, throw some glitter on that mess. We’ve had to put bows and ribbons and makeup on it to make it sparkle. We’ve had to name it and rename it, and create hashtags and add campaigns and flash mobs and publicity stunts and selfies to gain attention. We tossed it out on stage and are mimicking the lyrics and choreography off to the side like the Yoga stage mom we are. Because deep down inside, we are afraid. We are afraid that it’s not interesting. We are afraid that it’s not enough.

I’ve got some bad news. We are right. Our deepest fear is confirmed. It’s boring*. I mean, at the end of the day, there are only so many Yoga poses. There are only so many different fun-colored Yoga pants. There are only so many different studios and different genres, there are only so many words in the English language to brand and create new terms and meanings. There is only so much we can do. So what do we do? We do Yoga. Because, while Yoga is old, and while Yoga is traditional, it’s the genuine thing. It’s the realness. Like no other. Yoga is a container for your experience as a living, breathing corporeal being. It’s not your boyfriend or your best friend or your reality show. It doesn’t need to entertain you. It remains the same for a reason: because you don’t.

For those of you who have never done Yoga- let me tell you what I mean, and for those of you who are seasoned like me-let me just remind us all. It’s like water. It’s boring but it works. There is no substitution. It is the essence of body-mind union. There is no need to change, modify, or create a new “Yoga.” Once you know the gist of Yoga, it will get old. The poses won’t be new anymore. You’ll nail them and be ready to move on. You’ll get that six pack and be ready for a spinning class next, or you’ll learn to stand on your head and feel the thrill of accomplishment, only to be followed soon thereafter by the pang of wanderlust. But it gets in your body, and one day very soon after you’ve signed up for that 6 months of indoor-rowing-via-coupon-deal, you’ll no sooner find yourself hitting a downward dog on your living room floor, or a standing lunge at your office desk. Because even though Yoga is boring, it gets you. It is the thing that works. The boring, uninteresting, thing that really works.

If you have been seeing some flashy ads about a Yoga goddess in a publicity stunt to increase Yoga awareness, and it piques your interest, by all means-PARTAKE! And if you are intimidated by the flash of the Yoga monster the internet age has created please know, your teacher is out there. And know also this, that no matter how much Vegas style we attempt to give to Yoga, it really is basic. And easy. It’s not all standing on your head and looking like a gymnast. It’s not all chanting and eyes rolling back into your head. It’s simple, it’s accessible. It’s yours. You’ve just got to go out and find it. And if anyone ever tries to make you feel like you aren’t living up to their expectation of what Yoga is, let them know they aren’t living up to yours. Because Yoga is for everyone. Like water-no flavored, colored, aspartame filled powder needed to enhance it. It is just one of the greatest, most simple, and beautiful things to happen to the human race. And so are you.

 

*Actually, there’s nothing boring about Yoga. That stuff will blow your mind if you stick with it long enough.

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