So it has been a while. 2 Years (give or take) since I last taught a live Yoga asana class and about that long since I have taken one too. COVID was the initial reason but that morphed and changed into a recognition of feelings of deep sadness, disconnections, and disbelief over what I saw finally happening in my community.
Faced with real issues of global health and wellness needs, my community failed in so many ways. In truth, it had stared before COVID with revelations that our industry was unregulated and unsupervised leading to people getting hurt. Financially, emotionally, and physically hurt. The foundations of our world were built upon sand by charismatic actors who were so completely wedded to their egos and bank accounts, all while promoting a path that was supposed to dissolve ego and bring oneness and peace. Who am I speaking of? John Friend, Pattabhi Jois, Bikram, Iyengar, Jivamukti founders, Anna Forrest, and so many more. Just do a quick Google search and you will see. There are some authentic teachers left but they’re usually just minding their own business and not interested in selling anything, holding court to large crowds, or proselytizing bull shit. Unfortunately, the con-artists and attention hounds outnumber the authentic ones.
I needed to take a big step back. I wanted to practice but didn't find a teacher in my area I connect with and zoom classes were just not my thing. So I stopped. My mat sat unused, props got dusty, my body lost muscle and mobility, and that spark that carried me through past depressions and PTSD was nowhere to be found.
I kept looking though. I branched out and found to new to me communities online. I watched and listed to those people who were taking a fresh look at things and saw how stuck and stale so many others were. I unliked, unfollowed, blocked, threw out, and cleaned house of anyone I saw who remotely peddled privilege, pseudoscience, conspiracy, anti-vax, pastel Q, miracle cures, or misquoted the Buddha (a personal pet peeve of mine) without hesitation. There were a lot of people removed from my circle. I resisted this housecleaning at first thinking that perhaps "agreeing to disagree" would be better but then thought NO.
This isn't a trivial matter of opinions. This is about people misunderstanding the basics of how science works and pushing bad ideas from a place of privilege. Taking advantage of people who are vulnerable and seeking help. I can't be a part of this.
So while my circle has gotten smaller my outlook has improved. This month I've gotten back on my mat and started to move again. It feels good. I like that I have no other agenda than to feel good. I like that I'm in a place where I can offer to teach a community class at a sliding scale to help build community vs. building my following or bank account (because this is the privilege I am living right now).
So now my teaching, when I offer it, is going to be different. No more OM, no more repeating UN-scientific claims, no sanskrit, no hands on adjustments to people I do not know and haven't taught for some time, no more teaching of spirituality (which is different than ethics), no headstands, no cleanses or essential oils, no supplement selling. I'm just going to be focusing on healthy, slow, breath centered movements, supported with props, with lots of verbal ques, and appropriate for the people in front of me and the time of year/day. I'll still play good music and laugh a lot. If that sounds good to you, I hope to catch you in class someday.