My last post left the audience gasping as I told of a silent meditation I had entered into having asked the question, ‘What enemy is it that I must slay?’
For the full post you can visit here:
In any case it ended like this,
As I sat quietly, breathing deeply and evenly, my mind began to feel spacious and I started to drift off.
I was relaxed and open.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, one word pierced the gentle ambience of my still and peaceful mind, sending shockwaves through my body.
My eyes crashed open with incredible force and my lower jaw began free falling towards the concrete floor beneath me.
How could that be I thought. I was shocked and shaken. How could something I love so dearly be the target of my sword?
But then I thought about it. The yoga I love and the yoga I live by is not the yoga I witness today through social media and the relentless marketing campaigns of ‘yogalebrities’.
I realised a practice I believe capable of bestowing simplicity and integrity upon a world which has lost its way has been swept up and exploited in the very marketplace I felt it needed to dismantle.
But that is our world today. Anything that is beautiful and sacred and provides us with a little bit of heaven on earth is going to be exploited and violated – be it geographical, material or philosophical.
Let’s not pretend this isn’t true – no matter how well meaning our intentions.
In fact, I am reminded of a few fortunate moments I was able to spend with an experienced surfer outside an extremely popular surf destination in Australia known as Byron Bay.
His words, ‘When someone describes a place or thing as paradise it is the beginning of the end. It is paradise lost’.
He spoke these words to me 18 years ago and I have never forgotten them. Even now it feels like yesterday.
And yoga has not been spared this assault. Well, not in my opinion anyway.
So I have quite a dilemma. You see, I am a yoga teacher. Well, whatever that means these days I am not even sure.
Can a yoga teacher be a yoga teacher if the way they are living or their actions are contradictory to the philosophy itself?
These days I guess so! It would seem so anyway.
I guess how you perceive yoga and how you approach it comes down to how you define yoga. For me it is the pursuit of the truth of who we are. A path to bringing more ‘Godness’ into my behaviour. For others it is a fitness class.
If you ‘do’ yoga once or twice per week you’re doing the fitness class. And this will make you feel good, awesome even, and is a very legitimate approach to fitness and wellbeing. Like most exercise options it will have great benefits for your overall health. You will also get to hang out with all the cool kids.
However, the yoga I practice has no beginning and it has no end.
Perhaps the following quote taken from an upcoming meditations book of mine might help –
‘Yoga, as a fitness class, cuts away fat and builds muscle. Yoga as the pursuit of truth cuts away ego and builds integrity.’ ~ Tim Guthrie
For me the fact we have ‘yogalebrities’ and ‘yoga rock stars’ is a strong indication of how effective yoga has been in eliminating ego from the world.
In fact, I reckon yoga in the developed world – if I can refer to it that way – has currently taken on the feel of a crowded shopping mall. It tries to look pretty, puts business before tradition and truth, and most of the people there have forgotten what the real purpose is behind their visit.
Now, it’s fair to say yoga’s popularity is off the scales. And everyone has the right to choose what their relationship is with ‘yoga’, that is should they want one at all, but I believe that the yoga the world needs so desperately is not the yoga we see on social media today.
I am adamant about this.
So I guess rather than fight ‘against’ an approach to yoga I do not feel aligned to or resonate with at all I have decided to fight ‘for’ an approach to yoga I believe in and love, one that I believe can bring out the best in me and the best in the world.
That is why I created Phusion Living Yoga – an extension of conditional expressionism or the action of merging the philosophies of yoga with human action outside the studio.
Let me close with another quote from my upcoming book –
There is no right or wrong, but the biggest challenge facing those who attend yoga classes is deciding whether your aim is to simply look and feel good or fully understand the truth of who you are. One is a fitness class and the other is yoga. ~ Tim Guthrie
Over to you.
I guess the only thing we all really need to worry about is that we try hard to practice what we preach. Or quit preaching and do whatever the hell we want. I think that’s called selfishness though.
You can follow Rusty Guthrie on twitter – @RealasRusty – hope you can join him. He’s just getting started.