To Each Their Own Path
This post is a follow-up to the one I wrote last week, Why I Choose Tradition. In that post, I talked about why I am drawn to traditional Ashtanga yoga over any other style that exists in our modern day and age.
But I also want to acknowledge that whatever type of yoga someone else is into, that's ok, too. A funny but wise phrase my husband often says comes to mind: we don't need to be identical twins. Gosh, how boring would the world be if we were ALL into the same thing? What could we possibly learn from one another if that were the case? So while I may only be interested in practicing Ashtanga yoga, I think it is great that others resonate and find a home within other styles. Though I sometimes secretly wish everyone would try Ashtanga yoga to get a taste of its power, who am I to say what is right for another?
Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that this kind of acceptance isn’t always the case in the yoga world. Some yogis think that their way is the only right way. But I think that attitude is not conducive to becoming a self-aware human. To believe you know absolutely what is right for someone else is to insert your will into another’s existence (where it does not belong), and to cling to the illusion of control. It is not possible for us to control one another; each human has the right to forge the path he/she sees fit. And if we are to create an inner condition favorable for personal growth, it's important to remain humble and acknowledge we don’t have all the answers.
I must admit there was a time in my life when I DID think I had all the answers. That was during my early years as a Bikram yoga teacher. I thought Bikram yoga was superior to all other styles—that it was the REAL yoga. That’s because I knew very little about the yoga world as a whole. One day, I attended the Yoga Journal conference and my mind was blown. I learned there were many valid styles of yoga, with knowledgeable experts from whom I could learn a lot. Incidentally, that’s also where I took my first couple of classes from Kino MacGregor, who influenced me to start down the path of Ashtanga yoga :)
So I hope this is an encouragement for us yogis to remain humble as we strive to "live our dharma " and go about our individual journeys. We stand to gain the most when we can admit we don't know it all, and we probably never will. And unless someone asks our opinion about yoga, we can assume they are quite happy with their chosen path for the time being.
Love n' Namaste