Has Namaste lost it’s way?
YOGA now has it’s own International Day – 21st June, also know as Summer Solstice or the longest day.
As a practising Yogi of 23 years and a Yoga Teacher of 16 years, I thought I would share my views on how Yoga has changed over the years, even in my brief two decades of Yoga experience.
We now have Goat Yoga, Beer Yoga, Gin & Tonic Yoga, Rage Yoga, Naked Yoga and puppy yoga just to name a few!
Not sure I would ever try any of these – Seeing someone in Parsarita Padasana (Spread foot forward bend) or Downward Dog in front of me completely starkers, in naked yoga may alter my mind forever. I am not good at unseeing what I have seen BUT lying in savasana (corpse posture) while puppies jump all over me would be the stuff of dreams.
Yoga mats can now cost over £100 and Yoga clothing with brands like LuLu Lemon and Sweaty Betty can charge up to £90 for a pair of legging! Yoga has become a multi pound industry, its a global money making machine!
Maybe I’m just old skool, I practise and teach on a £10 mat and wear anything I feel comfortable in. In India, you practise on rice sacks on the sand and sometimes on your own mat if you’ve bothered to bring it!
That is what is so good about Yoga, you only need YOU, a mat (or rice sack), your breath and your mind. You can practise with or without a teacher, it can be 10 minutes or 2 hours, there are no rules.
With Yoga studios opening on every high street at an alarming rate and Yoga teachers qualifying every minute, is Yoga becoming too commercial? And in danger of losing its spirituality?
Namaste is a term used too readily – workshops called Namaste & Coffee (is that like Netflix and chill?!) I have seen it on t-shirts, water bottles, Yoga mats and notebooks.
Namaste means quite simply: “The Divine in me honours and blesses the Divine in you” Its profound and beautiful. As Yoga Teachers we say it at the beginning and at the end of our class. It connects us with our students. And we say it with our hands together in “Anjali mudra” which means an offering. It’s not religious, its spiritual. More than just a physical practise.
After spending 3 years studying to become a Yoga teacher with the British Wheel of Yoga and studying every ancient Yoga text, I used to frown on the quick fix, “become a yoga teacher in a week courses”, I was such a Yoga snob. I now feel differently.
Whatever gets you on the mat. That’s what counts. If it takes a Goat or a Puppy or even a G & T to get you practising Yoga, that’s your Yoga Journey.
We all have a different Yoga Journey. Yoga is just movement and breath and using your mind to link with the breath. It moving in meditation. It connects your mind with your breath and your body, Yoga postures and sequences just make it interesting. Every yoga posture has a physical benefit, usually strength or flexibility or both, a spiritual benefit and an emotional benefit. It is more than just a physical practise.
And I love all the stereotypes and jokes about yoga teachers, some are true and some are just hilarious. Personally I have never hugged a tree or adjusted a Yoga student with my groin but who know what the future will bring.