Today I saw a post on FaceBook by “Uplift/Connect” an article by Brian DeGregory entitled “Is the essence of yoga being lost in the self-obsessed Instagram age?” In the section about “Please stop Yoga Selfies” he writes….”I don’t think this helps bring this beautiful and ancient practice to those who need it most. In fact, I think it sends intimidating messages to those who might feel their bodies are not flexible or that they don’t have the perfect “yoga body” (like the way social media images portray). It’s a big call, but I will even go as far as comparing the aspect of posting such images with the fashion companies who only use size 0 models. It’s just not what yoga is supposed to be about.”…Yoga is for spiritual development, not for show.”
Thank you Brian DeGregory for having the understanding about real authentic Yoga and the courage to publish your views. Many in the west are so unconnected and do not know the ancient Indian lineage or that it is one of the best gifts one culture has given to All of mankind. As well, most are not learning authentic practices for if they would know it, they surely would be inherently bound to respect it. I teach yoga in a variety of settings one is a New York State public college, my courses are for college credit in a liberal arts degree setting. My young and energetic students are confused when they begin the semester arriving in what looks like beach apparel or sexy fitness outfits. I know its not their fault as those who have commercialized Yoga to become “Americanized” have set this tone. Oftentimes students drop my course as they cannot bare to wear modest clothing as they prefer their sexy garb. (Don’t worry, these slots are filled in days by the other eager students on waitlists!) What I try to get across is that this is a highly intimate and revolutionary process they are journeying on and it should not be denigrated by peering voyoueristic eyes of their classmates or passerbys. The process is highly internal using the body as an external tool to balance the many energetic patterns within the physicality, the mental and emotional realms so they can find momentary stillness and harmony. I have the privilege to witness this amazing process and am in awe every time and am most humbled by it! So, of course I am shocked when I see my FaceBook Friends who are students and fellow yoga practitioners posting Yoga Asana Selfies! This just pollutes and devalues their power by sharing these images. I would so much rather they posted in text how their yoga sadhana has helped them cope with their hectic schedules, to complete their degrees with high grades, reduced their need for asthma meds, or other meds for depression, anxiety, or prevented surgery for scoliosis or back pains, or prevented them for causing bodily harm to their boss and avoided being arrested when asked to work another shift after having worked the entire weekend missing their child’s T-ball game for not even a cent more in wages! Many are limited in their yoga journey by poorly trained yoga teachers who earn “certificates” in a couple of 16 hour workshops, or Teachers who feel their Egocentric experience supersedes that of The AdiYogi – Shiva, and Shri Patanjali, (do you think they even know who these Greats were?) I have been fortunate to have studied in many sacred and esteemed schools and ashrams in India. I was afforded these experiences by my private students and one super /yoga practitioner/ patron and my family. This may be out of reach economically for yoga teachers across the board but The Isha Foundation has an Ashram/Campus in Tennessee in the USA. At Isha, one is afforded a truly authentic classical Indian yoga immersion. Please do check out their website: http://www.ishafoundation.org and join their mailing lists and like their Facebook pages to get daily inspirational offerings, event announcements, newsletters than have wonderful informative articles about authentic yoga. I remain indebted to all my teachers, Gurus and especially to Sadhguru and The Isha Foundation for creating such an accessible many layered platform to spread the yogic knowledge globally.
The images above show above: The AdiYogi (Shiva) being consecrated in India by Sadhguru and the Isha Volunteers. Shiva is the Founding Father of All Yoga. The next images are here to try to show a tiny glimmer of what may happen when we balance our energies in a conscious manner along with and becoming apart and no longer separate from nature.
Watch the ‘Yoga for Change’ Film at: http://www.upliftconnect.com/yoga-for-change-video.com once on their site look for article, “Practicing Real Yoga in the Age of Selfies” you will find the video at end of the article….please share and thanks to Uplift/Connect for sharing these important views. Namaskaram