Stop Yoga Shaming

You’ve got to be kidding me. This is a thing? I know this is what you are thinking and why you clicked on to read these words. And I’m here to tell you, it is. I see it every day in the most unlikely spaces on the web, making me shake my head and quickly click away to something more positive and life affirming.

When I first started practicing Bikram Yoga way over a decade ago, one of the things I loved most about the community was how inclusive they were. How often have I heard it said, or uttered myself, “All yoga is good yoga.” And I still truly believe that. And this comes from a community where other yoga communities will tell you why you should not practice the Original Hot Yoga because it’s too darn hot and our methodologies are too darn intense.

Whatever gets you on your mat and speaks to YOU, makes you slow down and listen to your breath and connect with your body is a good thing. I don’t care if it involves music, posture variations, props, standing on a paddle board, goats, or even beer. (Yes, there is now such a thing a beer yoga – and yes, if that speaks to you, go do it!)

Lately I’m noticing a trend where yogis spout out their beliefs about their yoga practice in such way that it makes you question your own thoughts on your yoga practice. Are they right and I’ve got it all wrong? Maybe. But as a yoga instructor, I simply want people to find a practice that they enjoy. I will never tell you that my practice is better than yours because there simply is no such thing. There is just practice – whatever it may be.

All of us are evolving and expanding our world view with each and every breath. Maybe you start with beer yoga and then through that experience find out about other yoga classes in your area and decide to give them a try. Were you wrong to start with beer yoga? No. It was your jumping off point, and honestly, probably a great story.

About a year ago, I remember reading a thread on Instagram about how listening to music while you practice takes away from truly connecting with your breath. Flash forward to this summer and I’m standing in the class of the yogi that made that statement with music pouring out of the speakers. They had changed their thoughts on the practice and decided music added something to what they were teaching. It was fun to see that they too can change their mind. But what of the people that read that post and took it as rule because they were their students/followers?

Lately, some of the statements I’ve been reading on social media are less than inspiring:

“I don’t feel a need to post progress photos.” (What about the yogis that like to? What about the yogis or future yogis that might find those photos inspiring?)

“Do you even know where this quote comes from?” (Maybe the quote simply spoke to that person in that moment and they wanted to share it?)

“We don’t offer trendy classes, just great yoga.” (Who says the trendy class isn’t great yoga?)

I am not in any way trying to counter shame those that are making these statements, just trying to shine a light. There are so many great things happening in the yoga industry today. Promote what you love instead of what you hate. When you share what you love about your practice, whatever it may be, you give others a chance to fall in love with it, too. By making others feel small about what they might be practicing at the time is the opposite of teaching yoga. It limits the possibilities of what can happen for any one of us within the confines of our practice.

Remember to always to keep it simple when it comes to your yoga practice: the most important thing is for you get on your mat, breathe, and give yourself a chance to catch up with YOU.


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One thought on “Stop Yoga Shaming

  1. I completely relate to this and have frequently felt upset about the kind of snobbery that can exist in a community that is supposed to be focused on individual growth, support and success. In fact the commercialisation of yoga in general upsets me. Just happened upon this post and am now a new follower 🙂

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