There are over 20 million yogis in the United States, and more and more people are becoming interested in this practice everyday. Yoga has become a phenomenon in this country, and has crossed over into the mainstream.
It’s no longer just for new-age hippies who wear hemp robes at the natural store food store while buying barley in bulk. Yoga is attracting everyone from bankers, to suburban soccer moms, to football players.
I’m glad people are getting exposed to the physical teachings of yoga, and are releasing energetic blockages with their Bound Side Angle — but I don’t care about any of that. What I want to know is — how deep is your yoga?
If 20 million people can do Side Crow — that makes zero impact on the world. But if 20 million people were all practicing the yogic philosophies, then that would be interesting. That would make real impression on humanity.
Here are some of the things I ask myself to keep my yoga life honest, and deepen my practice.
1. What is my relationship to the stuff I buy?
Where are these clothes from? Did a 5-year old child sew this feminist T-shirt that says, “What do men have to do with my hymen?” (Trademark Toni Nagy). What is the material of this jacket? When I wash it, will these polyester particles go into the water and pollute the rivers?
What kind of company made this product? Is it a huge motherfucking multi-national conglomerate that is currently anally raping the planet with no lube? How can I swear less, and perhaps not use disturbing metaphors?
Basically, how can I be a more conscious consumer and support my values with where I spend my money?
2. What am I eating?
Is this cracker from an agri-business that is aggressively destroying the soil with pesticides and GMOs? Am I supporting a local farmer who desperately needs my financial commitment and not a green-washed “organic” company that does the bare minimum for certification?
How are my food purchases taking into consideration long-term sustainability?
3. Am I being energetically responsible?
What do my bad moods look like? Am I taking them out on others and snapping like a turtle? Am I allowing myself an authentic reaction, yet not spreading negativity like emotional herpes?
3. Am I being a competitive dick?
Am I comparing myself to other people? Am I being jealous of someone’s Facebook status because they’re sharing good news, but I'm mad they’re more successful than me?
Am I genuinely being supportive of others?
4. Have I done something for someone else today?
Okay this one is easy for me. I have a kid and do things for her all the damn time — like make her sandwiches, find her pants, find her shoes, find her socks with the yellow stripe NOT the green stripe, find her stuffed animal, find her “My Little Pony” toy that is the size of a speck of sand. (Kids lose stuff a lot.)
But have I done something for a stranger? Have I done something for a friend? Have I somehow extended myself for the benefit of someone else while wanting nothing in return? (Except for them to help me find my kid’s “Hello Kitty” T-shirt that has short sleeves, NOT ¾ length sleeves — because then she will be too hot).
I applaud you if you can do a one-armed Handstand with your legs in Lotus. I will NEVER be able to do that, and your effort is not unrecognized. But I don’t need to see more Instagram accounts where we impress each other with our bodily prowess of being able to execute a no-legged Plank.
I want to see how much your life practice has been influenced by your yoga practice.
Maybe rather than asking ourselves “can I touch my toes with straight knees?” or “how long can I stand on my head?” our internal dialogue should be questioning, “am I an asshole, and how can I be less of one?”