Spotlight on yoga

I often hear people complain about the westernization of the ancient practice we know as yoga. The most common of these complaints include that it’s “been coopted for consumerism”, that it’s become about competitive body comparison and worst of all, that it’s “too often an avenue for gurus to take power over women.”

Some of this may be true, but in my opinion it is not any particular practice of yoga that created those phenomenon — they were built into the subconscious our culture and yoga has simply brought them to light.

To look at yoga through the lenses of comparison is to base one’s opinion of an entire system from that which it relates to and not the practice itself. The practice itself has inherent qualities which I find are of greater value than gossip about its practitioners.

To go a little deeper, yoga has the ability to reflect to us that which is already true. The time we spend in practice reveals to us our own mind-body- patterns and if we are proficient teaches us how to work with them.

Yoga teaches us who we are and how to come into communion with ourselves.

On a greater level it seems that the practice of yoga is reflecting to the west the climate of its unconditioned programming. The outdated and unkind belief systems that are running in the subconscious are being rooted out and the reputation of yoga is taking a hit.

Why? Because it can — because the wisdom of the tradition runs far deeper than we can understand and the technology of evolution within the practice is resilient enough to withstand all of our upsets.

Yoga is teaching us about who we are. Yoga is teaching us what we value and what we didn’t already know about ourselves as a unified being. We are now learning how to redefine that which we wish to create as individuals and as a group.

This is not to seem harsh, but all that we see and experience in the world is also a part of ourselves. There is nothing outside of us that is not already within us as we are made and molded from the same eternal source. As the shamans say — as above, so below. This goes in both directions.

If we wish to clean up the outside, we must first clean up the inside. No judgement required. These programs were handed to us from generations previous and now we have the chance to wipe the lens on the projector screen so to speak.

Personally I am grateful to the practice of yoga for lighting up the darkness for us all. She, the ever changing practice is willing to take on the hit to her reputation wherever necessary so that we can see that which we were previously denying.

So all this is to say that I am not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. For me, the practice of yoga is not about gurus or advanced techniques. The practice is about coming home to myself, creating space between stimulus and response and re-defining the way I relate to my body and my world.

It’s a process of eternal creation — understanding myself and all relation.

Let’s show up for that.

OM — Shanti

Grace Davies