TRUE OR FALSE
Yoga is a way of life not a downward dog or handstand. TRUE
You have to be vegan to be a Western yoga teacher FALSE
You have to be vegan to be a Eastern yoga teacher TRUE
Yoga doesn't judge you TRUE
(but Acharya Shree Yogeesh might have a few words to say, see below)
Watching this video really put some things into perspective for me. So much so, that my whole mindset about being what the Western world calls a "yoga teacher" has changed.
Acharya Shree Yogeesh talks about the 8 limbs of yoga and how the first one NON-VIOLENCE is the first step to becoming a yogi. Truthfully, I barely even scratch the surface of this (Ahimsa)! l I try to be non-harming in as many ways as possible but I am the first to admit that I occasionally eat meat (I just cannot resist my mum's lasagne), I wear leather shoes/jacket/bags, I drive a 4x4 (YIKES), I enjoy a porn star martini, I am on my phone way too much and I tell myself and everyone else that yoga doesn't judge. Athough that's true it also means I am not a yogi by the Eastern standards of yoga, where the yogic lifestyle was born. I am a yogi-in-practice. I may be highly trained in "vinyasa flow yoga" but technically I teach people postures of yoga and hopefully inspire them in other ways. I enjoy the results of the postures of yoga in my body, mind and being. I fully love the way I feel after the physical (asana) and breathing (pranayama) practice and love to share that with the world. But I do agree with Acharya Shree Yogeesh. Unless we are actively practicing all of the 8 limbs, are we an exact representation of someone living a yogic life?
Simple answer for me, no!
So to summarize, in Western society, I am a professional yoga teacher with 6.5 years experience whose classes are themed by the fringe.elements and particularly focused on functional anatomy, movement and breath. In Eastern society, I would be a posture teacher who touches on yogic philosophy but is NOT a yogi or yoga teacher! I think that's pretty fair. As a result I've changed my Instagram (so it must be a big deal haha) to read "body worker" as a pose to yoga teacher because actually I have come to the conclusion that although I am not an authentic yogi I am not ashamed of this. I know a lot about the history of yoga, I know the poses, I am obsessed with safe practice and alignment and my students walk away happier and healthier than when they arrived.
Now, that is a profession that I can live with, love doing and receive plenty of joy from!
ps I'm excited to share the fringe.yoga Earth song that we filmed at Exhale festival last year and we cannot wait to go again and share the fringe.experience this year. I will be uploading more elements music inspired by fringe.yoga, so watch this space yogis-in-practice ha!!