The thing that irks me about [some] yoga practitioners is their self-righteousness. As if they are better than others because they chant om, practice asanas, drink from a Sigg bottle, and wear organic cotton.
Not only is there a certain insider-outsider smugness, but there’s also the odd belief that “yoga is for everybody.” As if it’s the only Way to Enlightenment. The truth is that yoga is ultimately not an activity but a state of mind. The asanas and other practices are just vehicles to get us to that state.
In The Heart of Yoga, Mr Desikachar states that the way to assess your progress as a yogi (and, I would say, as a person) is by your interactions with other people. That is the real test. So what if you can do backflips and wrap your feet around your neck, if you are angry, petty, or otherwise a jerk outside the studio?
Today I read this New York Times Modern Love column by Laura A. Munson and was blown away by this woman’s maturity and emotional objectivity. I almost wrote “detachment” but, in American society, this word has a negative connotation. It’s really a neutral word, maybe even positive if it means the opposite of attachment. Here, in the face of a husband’s “I don’t love you” statement, she keeps her cool and sees that it’s all about him, not about her. Talk about not taking things personally!
Anyway, can you imagine the majority of yoga proponents (“I love yoga!” “Yoga changed my life!”) being so composed in such circumstances?
Yoga is really a state of being. And it can be reached through more than one path.