Don't think for a second that yoga instructors are some ethereal form of human. We are just regular people engaging in regular people behavior. The yoga industry is booming here in the Yoga Mecca we know and love as Los Angeles. Warning: Yoga instructor (Me) is about to get judgemental, but only for a few paragraphs.
A surplus of yoga instructors pervades our tinsel-town, many of which have no business teaching and molding bodies in the first place. If you add up all these variable you get something very "unyogic" : COMPETITION. Competition is good just like Darwin said because it eliminates the weak and the talentless from the strong and talented. We are not all created equal in all respects. Some people are better than others at certain things. A yoga instructor who relies only their yoga teacher-training education program and their passion for could be a good instructor. However, when a lifetime dedicated to training for a career in professional dance, athletics, sportsmedicine, etc... is coupled with a yoga teacher-training education program the end result is a first-class instructor! Any regular Joe can sign up for yoga teacher-training courses, pay the money, and take the classes. It's not rocket science. What is a science is having a solid understanding of how to apply movement principles into action, and who better to teach these principles than people who move FOR A LIVING! I call these people, myself included, Movement Specialists.
Friday, 30 March 2012
"Do as I say, not as I do." These are the famous last words from people who appear to be wiser than they actually are. Last week while practicing at Yoga Works I witnessed something that blew my mind. The class I was in was a popular level 2/3 vinyasa flow class taught by one of the most popular instructors; however my gripe wasn't with the instructor or the sequencing of postures. I was standing one row behind another prominent, yet younger, Yoga Works instructor and I noticed her continuously stopping her practice to turn around and scope out the class in a way that was well… let’s just say it, bitchy. I was shocked! I totally get it if you have an injury or need to modify certain poses to take care of your own body, but that wasn't what was happening here. Don't get me wrong, the instructor in question is a great instructor and has a rock solid yoga practice herself; however her entire aura was tainted with attitude and judgment. Additionally, the instructor in question was practicing next to a friend and kept chatting with her friend loud enough for the row behind to hear. Did I mention there was music in the class? Yea, that’s how distracting the energy was. This is yoga not social hour at Urth Cafe down the street. When we step into the yoga studio and especially onto our mat aren’t we supposed to focus our attention on arriving and staying present mentally, physically and spiritually? Yoga teaches us to release judgment and quell the ego but I guess some people fell asleep during that lesson, which is fine if you aren’t then teaching others to do the very thing you gloss over.
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
Life’s ironies happen at places like sample sales. Last Saturday I was at a sample sale for ALO, a trendy yoga apparel/active wear line. As I concluded my two and a half hour frenzied shopping stint I walked toward the check-out table and paused as I took a moment to look around the warehouse. Anxiety-ridden shoppers diligently directing their attention to picking out the best articles of yoga gear they could get their hands on. Picked over and thrashed merchandise, a common symptom of sample sales, didn’t deter these fashion frugal yogis one bit. I chucked (on the inside of course) at the absurdity of what I was witnessing. All these people, who supposedly practice yoga, were behaving as if this sale was the Last Supper of high-end yoga apparel. Okay, okay, I hear you! 70% below retail price is a total steal when you are talking about ALO gear; yet it’s hilarious to see shoppers, including myself, become so intent on finding the best deal possible on a sports bra! I’m fairly certain that the concept of Survival of the Fittest (at a sample sale) isn’t a credo taught at your local yoga studio. I wonder… were any other ALO shoppers aware of yoga’s core principals in the first place, and if so were they as amused as I was at the paradox happening around them?
Yamas, the first limb of Patanjali’s Eight-Limbed Yogic Path helped slightly to reconcile what I saw on Saturday at this sale. Yamas dictate how we interact with the physical world. More specifically, yamas pertain to attitudes and behaviors to abstain from becuase of an inherent understanding that these attitudes and behaviors do not serve us nor do they serve those around us. If you feel confident about how you look in your new booty hugger pants during yoga class, then there’s a good chance you will enjoy your yoga practice more and practice with greater consistency. However, it’s also possible to exercise aparigraha (non-greed) and take only what’s necessary amidst a manifold of disheveled piles of clothing (even if it’s ridiculously discounted). After all, what kind of yogi wants to admit to being a hoarder of brightly colored stretchy leggings?
Tuesday, 21 June 2011
It’s absurd how people can change moods so quickly in this city. I enter the yoga studio this morning already sensing an elevation in my mood. Is it the faint smell of incense and colorful plethora of eco-friendly yoga apparel that triggers a shift in mood? Or maybe it’s the hardwood floors, dim lighting and soft spoken voices? Whatever it is, I find a seat on a pillow cushion in the lobby and quietly observe the cheerful like-minded yogis gathering in anticipation of the previous class to conclude. I must’ve sat there for a good ten minutes, just watching, observing and feeling quite content. The juices in my brain swish around as if to coalesce into thoughts I entertain only momentarily. As though I were stringing together a pearl bracelet, my thoughts ebbed and flowed effortlessly into one another until this brilliant post arose: How can there be so many bitter assholes out there on the roads in Los Angeles proper at any given time and yet how can there be so many relaxed, friendly compassionate like-minded people under one roof at this one moment in time? The thought was so provoking that the elegant intricacy with which my thoughts were being strung together ceased immediately. Holy shit! Is this soft-faced older gentleman graciously smiling at me as he allows me to pass first into the yoga studio the same asshole I was honking at earlier on Main Street?! Oh man…guilt first, then embarrassment wash over me as I forcefully smile at this man and walk through the doors of the studio. Sometimes, it takes a moment to realize that those very pinheads who grind your gears out there on L.A.’s roads might end up flashing you a genuine smile within a temple of yoga near you.
Friday, 29 October 2010
I was in the middle of a hard-core sweaty vinyasa class a few months ago with one of the most popular instructors in Los Angeles when I noticed a funky smell emanating from the neighbor to my right. Awwwwwww, the guy next to me clearly let one rip. It must have been one of those silent but deadly (SBD) types. I thought to myself, “Ok, it happens sometimes.” A little more than halfway through the class I notice a similar smell that could only be a SBD ball of fumes infiltrating into my yoga mat air space from the same neighbor to the right. I thought to myself “Dude, come on, you’re a yogi! Practice some bramacharya!” I tried to move over to the very left region of my yoga mat and breathe to my left until the horrific smell passed….it ain’t easy to get a whiff of fresh air when there’s another 60 yogis practicing in there with you. As the instructor led the class through the cool down I felt my body melting in anticipation of savasana. As we were doing the final poses I once again detected that unmistakable scent from the yogi to my right. I was about to say something to the guy but decided against it. Needless to say, my savasana was contaminated with gaseous fumes resulting somebody’s 2pm lunch.
Friday, 24 September 2010