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JUST BECAUSE YOU PRACTICE YOGA DOESN'T MEAN YOU'RE NOT AN A**HOLE

The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. Nama means bow, as means I, and te means you.

Therefore, Namaste literally means, "I bow to you." I once took a yoga class where the instructor began to lecture about being Namaste in life at the end of our lesson. She went on to tell us that by living our life the way we feel during Savasana (body like a corpse, total relaxation) we would have more peace and commitment in our lives. As I lay there reflecting on her words I agreed she was right and was thankful for the ending she gave us to that deeply powerful class. Some of the students lingered a while to talk while rolling up their mats but eventually everyone trickled out of the studio. I'm sure the instructor thought everyone had left by this point, but I was using the restroom. When I came out and began to collect my belongings I heard very loud voices. I walked closer to the office and to my surprise I heard my teacher cursing and yelling to another woman about the business. I could not believe it and so I pushed open the door and told her to be Namaste. She looked at me with an extremely perplexed face because I knew she was not honoring her own words that she had preached to the class less than ten minutes ago. As I walked out of the studio I kept contemplating: Is this a script she just uses in every class? How is she able to deliver these words to a group of people and not follow her own beliefs? I was so entrenched in thought by the whole experience and it made me think very carefully of the yoga world and how America has so blindly followed into this trend since Madonna did her first downward dog.

As a Shaman, during my training I was always held to a certain level of spiritual belief that words and actions are married to you in spirit. I was speculating; does it hold true to yoga teachers? Does this practice which has reached us from ancient lineages that teaches us spiritual discipline about maintaining peace and reaching Moksha (liberation) been reduced to just health and wellness? Or is the spiritual way of humility and humbleness being honored now that it has reached the western world? In my many worldly travels I have met Yogis from India, and I have never come across them having disputes with anyone they have come in contact with. Even when they were upset by something it was handled in a respectful, peaceful way with clear communication. After that experience at the yoga studio I began to take notice of more of these hostile interactions showing up around yoga teachers here in the States.