Dear Yogi Muse: Why Are So Many Unyogic People Doing Yoga?
Dear Yogi Muse:
I was wondering why there are so many unyogic people doing yoga? Can you shed light on this?
Dazed in Denver
The discussion began with a blog about people behaving unkindly in yoga, and then a whole lot of people behaved unkindly especially to the person who wrote the blog. And that would be me.
Then there was a yogi who enjoyed a beer on occasion and he too got the finger in Denver – pointed at him for being unyogic. I know this yogi and I love him like I love a dog who chews my shoes. Believe me, having a beer is the least annoying thing about this yogi.
And somewhere there is a musician who also got called out, but because I am tone deaf, all the happy people chanting sound the same to me.
Which brings us to the question:
Why are there so many unyogic people doing yoga?
In my opinion, it would be because they are human.
As a teacher, I have taught yoga to many unyogic people. Some were competitive with others in the room. Some thought they knew it all. Some just didn’t know the poses – yet. And at times, I admit I have been all of those people.
So to be more yogic, I will drink gluten-free vodka, sing OM a little louder and I might change my name to Shakti-the-bhakti.
However, I will not be pointing the finger at others,
Because compassion is a harder but truer path than judgment.
Here are some reasons why a few yogis do not think I should be practicing yoga:
- I am too old. I am over 50 so therefore, I should not be out in public in Luon. At least one major yoga clothing manufacturer has said so.
- I am a soccer mom. There is a great deal of backlash or public poo-pooing against people who have opted to raise their children in the hopes of making a better world one little yogi at a time. In fact, one review of my book said it was great, “even if it was by a soccer mom.” Right? Like whom the hell put food on your table years ago and drove you to yogi practice? Right?
- I live in the suburbs. I know it’s ridiculously un-hip, but I have good schools, a small yard and a Starbucks nearby. It’s the circle of life.
- I am authentic and outspoken. This is actually the real reason some consider me unyogic. Instead of pretending to be perfect and divinely empowered, I am simply human. I am a slightly older, outspoken vegan who eats chicken, and is mostly sober except for drinking vodka, soccer mom yogi who tells it like it is. I am not afraid to admit I'm not perfect and that I don't have all the answers. I'm am not afraid to speak in a real voice, and not the "yoga voice" of let's all love each other, all the frickin time. I am just who I am.
I hope by doing this it will assure the more unyogic yogis out there that they do not walk alone. I am here for all the humans practicing yoga. In my yoga room, sinners are welcome.
I would rather be unyogic, than self-righteous.
So for those who say that I'm not yogic, let me say Duh. Last I checked, I’m human, and there isn’t a thing I can do about it. But this is the thing about yoga; it’s a path not a destination. All we can ever do is better the next day.
Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She is the author of “Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga,” and “Theme Weaver: Connect the Power of Inspiration to Teaching Yoga.” She is a Columnist for Elephant Journal and Origin Magazine, and a contributor to Teachasana and My Yoga Online. She is an E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance and teaches Hatha Yoga in Denver, Co. You can take her classes on www.yogadownload.com.