Can I be honest with you? For the last few months, maybe even longer, I have fallen out of love with yoga. Actually, not yoga, but asana. I have been trying to work out why this is and I realised it’s because of my work within the cultural appropriation of yoga space. The space of reclaiming yoga and educating people on what it actually is. On the whole beautiful practice with its eight limbs and beyond. With its rich history and deep philosophy. It can feel draining. It can feel exhausting. It can feel lonely.
And I think for a while I felt that if I practice asanas then I am perpetrating the problem. Here I am telling people yoga is more than asana and then teaching asanas. Whilst my yoga classes are more authentic and incorporate a mixture of the 8 limbs, something felt off. I continued to teach yoga classes but not as much as before. I continued to practice asanas in my own practice but not as much as before and when I did practice I would watch someone else’s videos. But this would frustrate me because I couldn’t find any yoga teachers who I truly connected with. Anyone who’s values aligned with mine. Anyone who taught authentic yoga and included pranayama, pratyahara and dhyana in their classes (breathwork, withdrawal from the senses and concentration).
I realise now I was looking for myself. So I don't need to watch someone else to practice. I can create my own practice. I can fully tune into my body and give her what she needs as we flow, twist, bend, breathe, sit, lay. I am a qualified yoga teacher after all so why aren’t I using my own knowledge for myself. Why am I looking outside of myself for the answers when they are within?
And my second realisation; asana IS a part of yoga. It’s not the whole part but it is very much a part so it’s okay for me to practice asanas. To teach asanas. To explore asanas. I know they are a tool to get me out of my head and into my body, a tool to bring me into the present moment, a tool to connect me with my breath, a tool to explore my inner world, a tool to help my body become still and steady so I can sit in meditation for a prolonged period of time (the latter is the reason asanas exist as part of yogic philosophy).
With love & gratitude,