A Yoga Community Divided

A Yoga Community Divided


Well, most say it means “to yoke” or “come together”.


I have to say there is not a lot of coming together with yoga.

First, you’ve got to fall apart. Then, you put yourself back together.

I believe yoga is a path of undoing first, yes, but I also believe it goes even deeper than that. It’s a conscious act of trying not to repeat your mistakes. Then, and only then, can you truly put yourself back together.

When I write, it is through direct experience. I write what is happening around me or what inspires or challenges me. This article is about a long-time challenge that has been prevalent for the many years of doing what I do for a living.

The Yoga Community is a tough community.

You find your yoga bunnies who dress up the part with fancy clothes and tight designer wear. They think they are DOING yoga by simply making the shape of the pose. Usually this is set to some pop music, so really they are participating in a glorified exercise practice with a minimally-guided experience into asana, breath and spirituality.

You’ve got your pop-yogis, who are only interested in the fad of yoga. “Ooohhhh, look at my butt” or “OMG I was sooooo sweaty, that was an amazing workout!”

You’ve got your business yogis, who talk about yoga mostly in class, but on the street they have 3 faces; one for the studio, one for home, and one for their social life – all contradictory to one another. Let’s face it ladies and gents, gossip is gossip. In the space of Satya-truthfulness, it does not have its place in the yogic lifestyle.

You’ve got your Facebook yogis, who love to post everything about their lives along with big-worded inspirational quotes, so people will like them. Excuse me… people will click “like” and then forget what they posted 2 seconds later. You draw your own conclusion to that.

Now, you’ve got your studio yogis, who help their lives by taking a class or two a week to reduce stress and keep their physical body healthier. These are the yogis I see the most. They don’t know much about yoga beyond the studio or an asana practice – YET – but they know yoga is healing and helpful. They have the right attitude to delve deeper if they want to, or just stay where they are.

Then you have the inquisitive yogis, the ones who want to learn, read the books, take a retreat, and look a little deeper. They want to be a better person, more mindful and educated, and take risks to become happier and healthier.

It is a loud community.

So many people saying their piece and WANTING SO BAD to be heard. Be humble my friends. Respect your teachers, they are all around you. Not just the person who you take class with, but your students, friends, kids, people who challenge you emotionally or ethically. They are all your teachers, even your supposed heart chakra nemeses.

And boy oh boy, is this mostly female populated industry catty. Wow. It is funny how no one directly comes to you to shape their opinions anymore. Everyone just says, “I heard from so and so that _______” (you fill in the blank), and before you know it you’ve got a full blown war on your hands. And you didn’t even say a word otherwise.

It’s funny, we say GROW UP – but what I really want to say is loosen up or recall yourself as a younger, more easy-going person. Like as a child, when you just went up to people no matter their shape, size, nationality, sex, attractiveness and so forth, and made friends. You had your bullies growing up, and I am sorry to say from direct experience on both ends, you have them in the yoga community, too.

Hopefully you don’t see it. Hopefully you get to go to a class and enjoy a peaceful serene environment and truly love your teacher for what they offer you. I am praying for peace on all levels everyday, for myself, my friends, family, students, city, state… the world.

I respect boundaries, but words are knives. They are lasting. If only you were being celestially recorded and could hear yourself on playback throughout the day. How much of what you say would be truly sincere, non-harming and compassionate communication?

Try this: “OMG she/he is such a (insert bad word)“, and see how it impacts your energy level. Maybe you try instead, “Wow, I am hurt by this (insert information you are feeling)” or “I am sorry you are hurting, is what you say the truth or just what you are feeling?

Sometimes we are just emotional, and we suck others into that. But WE have to make the educated decision on how we react and move on from it. WE have to decide how we want to communicate and present ourselves to the world. But I think, and this is MY thought only, you do what you like to do. That so much is in what we don’t say, in the spaces and long pauses, or when we don’t say much and then when we finally do, that the meaning is conveyed.

Not everyone is going to like you. Not everyone will be your friend. People take things personally all the time… LET THEM. You are only 100% accountable for YOURSELF and your behavior. The truth will show itself eventually, anyway.

Here are some things I do to draw my heart & mind into a better place in my community:

  • Create meaningful gatherings.
  • Respect individual boundaries, including my own and others’.
  • Nurture friendships & relationships.
  • Feel less connected to “mainstream” and more connected to “real stream”: Earth, sun, moon and ocean.
  • Release false idols like celebrity icons, media, what is in or out, and so forth…
  • Most of all, be a human being, and less human doing.

What are some ways you can cultivate heartfelt peace in your community?

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2 thoughts on “A Yoga Community Divided

  1. Fayne

    Hi Jennifer,
    This post brings me close to what’s happening in my life…trying to live a more compassionate lifestyle. Being a more human “being” attracts attention that doesnt necessarily make that road easier to travel. I do pretty well, until I don’t then I’ve condition myself to think “Holy Buddha what is this lesson before me?” This takes me out of my egoic mind set to a more loving place of trying to hear what the other person is communicating. I try to tell myself their story, for example… “Life is so grand. I’ve got to live it fully right now” as the guy stands up on his motor cycle driving 90 mph on the expressway. Holy Buddha.
    All this comes about from a beginners class that you taught at Shore where you taught use to clear our wondering minds by thinking, pizza.


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