Sexy draws you in. It’s just marketing 101 right? It’s the reason why Yoga in the media is dominated by young, skinny and bendy women or über flexible, handsome Indian men. But sexy is intimidating. Sexy is scary for folks who feel the need to fit that image as Yoga teachers.
Yoga teachers shouldn’t care because Yoga doesn’t care. Yoga doesn’t care where you came from or what you did in your past that brought you to this point. Yoga doesn’t care how many cigarettes you smoked, if you eat meat or whether you’ve rocked up to class hungover. And here’s the real news: Yoga doesn’t care if you can touch your toes or if you cringe at saying OM. Once you come to the door of Yoga, she takes care of you and makes you feel easeful and peaceful.
Yoga has to be the most inclusive practice out there but it’s a spectrum. As your personality, so your Yoga. On one end of the spectrum, Yoga is dynamic and works your body and mind hard. The Yogis who are fit and flexible have sacrificed a lot. Rightfully so, they have inspired many people to try Yoga. Honestly, a stunning Yoga selfie is admirable. As much as the inner-critic wants to call them “show-offs” we cannot deny the truth: if we could do those poses, we’d want the world to see it too. Yoga teachers shouldn’t care who can and cannot stand on their heads (yourself included). What matters is whether your students learn to stand strong regardless of their abilities. They learn that from you!
On the other side of the spectrum, you have the type of Yoga with its roots fundamentally grounded in Hinduism or Buddhism. After all, the origins of Yoga are from India. Sanskrit was the first language used to communicate the teachings of Yoga. It has a strong connection between the sound, the meaning and the vibrations. If you open your mouth wide and make a sound, then slowly relax your jaw and close your mouth, the sound you get is A-U-M (now known as OM). It’s also sound that you hear when everything inside of you becomes silent. There are many other vibrational sounds like that. They are known as Mantras. If others cringe at the sound of OM, why should you care? You know that it’s the perfect practice for those who are sick, depressed, paralysed or in prison, and cannot do much else with their bodies. Some people absolutely love this practice much better than the postures. It’s still Yoga because the practice can lead one to Self-realisation.
Then you have Yoga therapy -- for the folks who have not been so kind to their own bodies or perhaps life has not been so kind to them. Yoga has a psychological and emotional component that helps them cope with disease and trauma. It gives them a renewed sense of faith -- sometimes it links back to religion and other times it means a new type of spirituality. Yoga teachers shouldn’t care if their students want to rejoice and thank the Lord! Hallelujiah & Om Shanti to that!
The point is, Yoga doesn’t care who you are or where you came from. Yoga doesn’t care if you are addicted to something or if you are overweight or if you are in a wheelchair. All the same, if you are a dedicated, Starbucks drinking, Lululemon-wearing vegan, Yoga will love and nurture you just the same as anyone else. It doesn’t make choices, nor does it make judgements.
So if you are a teacher, remember that if Yoga doesn’t care, why should you? If Yoga is ready to embrace and love all that you are, why shouldn’t you do the same for your students.
Yoga doesn’t care, and neither do I.