Yoga or The Latest Trend?
Heidi Farber, Hummingbird Yoga Studio Owner
What is yoga? Or should I ask, “What has it become?” Everywhere you turn, there seems to be another popular yoga fad. Over the past 20 years, yoga has become more mainstream. People jump on the yoga bandwagon. What are they looking for? Maybe one wants to lose weight or you are seeking a way to “cleanse.” Certain yoga studios offer extreme forms of yoga to rid the body of unnecessary toxins. Turn up the heat! Perhaps you are in need of an exercise program that will tone your body, as well as increase your stamina. Many yoga programs boast of this as well. Some places will even suspend you from the ceiling and create a sense of weightlessness, like you are flying! Got a gimmick? Yoga will help transform it into a practice. Who follows these trends? People want to look fashionable, zen, and even intellectual. They may follow famous Hollywood stars in their desire to be a yogi. Some even elevate themselves to a higher status.
Call me a purest. But where has yoga gone? It certainly is not what the ancient yogis intended for their students. Old yogic traditions of wisdom and meditation are now over looked. The original practice of yoga involved sitting and breathing. Out of this simple, but not easy, practice grew a few gentle poses. Yoga began as a way to still the body and the mind. From this meditative origin, one could observe self. Awareness, acceptance, and adjustment are the watch words of a yogi. Exploring self takes us to another level. Patanjali, the yogic philosopher, writes in his Yoga Sutras about cultivating inner contentment as well as our creating positive relationships with others. Building a strong moral backbone is essential to your path. Buddha was also concerned with way we connect to the world around us.
It is certainly easy to be swept away by the promises of a yoga practice. Even I have thought for a moment about what I could offer clients that will lure them into the studio. As a part of being human, we all desire to be beautiful, smart, strong, and enlightened. Who doesn’t want an immediate fix? We will try anything to rise to the top. Does being successful mean selling out to the latest and greatest yoga train? Let’s stop and slow down. Take a look at where we are and what we are doing. Breathe, stretch, and focus. Open ourselves up. Reach out to others and take yoga into our life. Keep evaluating self. Inquire. Become a part of the tapestry of life. Journey to unknown shores. Never stop learning. That’s your practice, right where you are. Patience and perseverance are your guides. Begin right now.