What’s with all the toxic opinions?
Opinions have recently come under fire as yogis are discovering that many people have them and this is apparently a bad thing.
You see in yoga, it is not “yogic” to have an opinion because that could be interpreted as a “judgment,” and we should not judge each other. That is called “Ahimsa,” from the Yamas of the Yoga Sutras. Non-judging is non-harming, that is how we yogis roll.
But a person who has no opinions, in my opinion, may be lacking a brain. Seriously. At best, I would probably try to get away from that person so I would not die of boredom at a cocktail party (if people without opinions even go to cocktail parties). At worst, they are willing to stand by while evil is committed (see below).
You see, in my opinion (which I just learned is “IMO”), either you can think for yourself, or you cannot, and if you cannot, you probably hate my opinions as well as everyone else’s. Interestingly, while IMO is short for “in my opinion,” there is no “IYO,” because nobody really cares what you think anyway.
This brings me to why on earth I am writing about yoga and opinions. In case you have been under a rock for the past three months, Anusara Yoga has been shaken by a scandal regarding its founder who did a lot of things that, IMO, were pretty ridiculous.
So now the yoga teachers are arguing about whom is right in this mess. One teacher complained that she is sick of hearing opinions and only wants to hear facts, or as she called it, “stories.” There is even a website being constructed where we can post the stories of what happened in Anusara, and offer no comments afterward. I like this so much I am going to suggest it to Elephant Journal.
If you have no opinion whatsoever on the loss of the world’s fastest growing school of yoga that has left thousands of teachers devastated and scrambling for income, then perhaps you may have no opinion on these other things as well:
- The Holocaust: Did it happen?
- Michael Vick and Animal Cruelty: They are just dumb dogs, right?
- President Bill Clinton: Did he inhale?
- Is eating meat ethical? (Come on, if you’re a yogi you have a BIG opinion this.)
David Swenson, Ashtanga teacher and generally great person, says that “Ahimsa” is a lot harder than it might appear. In an effort to save a spider, you might end up killing an insect. If we try so hard to withhold from having an opinion, we might mindlessly stand by while evil is committed. Albert Einstein said, “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”
I’m just saying, in my opinion, it may turn out that the people who say they are sick of toxic opinions are actually people with very strong opinions. In fact, they may have an opinion on this column, and last I checked, Elephant Journal allows them to be printed at the end of the column. But, frankly I am not that interested in your opinion on my right to have an opinion. Remember, there is no IYO because nobody cares what you think unless you agree with them. The only opinion that is not considered toxic is probably our own.
Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She’s an award-winning journalist, a former corporate executive and a survivor of 50+ years of life. She’s the author of the memoir “Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga,” and a Columnist for Elephant Journal and Origin Magazine. She is an E-200/500 RYT with Yoga Alliance and teaches Aligned Vinyasa in Denver, Co. Even though she is uber-fabulous, she is NOT an Ambassador for Lululemon, and has been promised she will never be one. You can take her with you on your computer or I-thing by downloading her classes from www.yogadownload.com.