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I love yoga but am not a fan of the industry

Updated: Feb 25, 2021

I love yoga but I am not a fan of the industry. What’s uncomfortable is that I completely conform to the stereotype of what yoga is in the west today. A stretchy, white able-bodied female.

There’s conflict in the yoga world. Arguments between the right/wrong ways to teach and practice yoga. Especially online. However, a yoga practice is deeply personal and looks like a million different things to different people on different days. Over time, Instagram yoga has taken the nuance out of this somewhat and made it all about the asana. It’s made ‘advanced’ poses or those done without many garments of clothing on paired with Ram Dass quotes the norm. Instagram yoga might have you believe that unless you can touch your toes and pike up into a handstand, then yoga isn't for you.


And as much as I show attempts at holding a handstand on here, I must emphasise that that’s such a small part of my practice. Yoga is not just asana. There’s eight limbs to yoga. The physical part of the practice is just one sliver of what yoga is.


Yoga is something to be lived. Yoga's literal translation is the calming of the fluctuations of the mind in order to find unity within (yogaś citta vritti nirodhah). Yoga guides us with a framework of how to manage personal and social issues. It’s a step-by-step guide for individual, local and global connectedness, a science of personal liberation and social justice. Yoga is so much than what Instagram might have you believe.


Teaching yoga and the nature of having to use Instagram as a tool to do so (merci pandemic) is a tricky space to be in. And honestly, not one I'm enjoying navigating. What I do love is teaching. Come to one of my classes and you will always hear me talk about yoga beyond the physical. Practice with me and know that I know the importance of the anatomical differences in every body. Hear me offer alllll the modifications. You will never find me encouraging pushing bodies to limits or to keep trying to do a pose that requires hyper-mobility. I ask students to reflect, to adapt and to listen to their bodies. Always. On that day, that specific practice and pose (whether I actually get heard is another issue entirely 😂).


Yoga is for every body. This reminder is for me too. You don’t have to fit a certain aesthetic. Repeat after me: you don’t have to be flexible! Or balance on one finger. You can wear toothpaste stained jumpers and socks to practice (I’m really sorry to my friend Michi for taking the piss when he first practiced with me in socks). Yoga can be done on a mat, with a chair, blocks, straps and pillows, or it can be done without ever having practiced in a ‘class’ or gone to a studio at all.


Yoga doesn’t have to be for you, but know that it’s there if you want to try. I’m going to be better at making that more obvious.

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