Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thank You, NY Times!

Yoga has taken some pretty hard hits in the press lately. Last month The New York Times published an article entitled How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body. Now today I opened my email to their newest hatchet job Yoga and Sex Scandals: No Surprise Here.

The yoga community has been rising up against these articles, ruffling their feathers, preparing to fight. But honestly, I think that is the wrong reaction. I am thrilled! Last year, my yoga RSS feeds hibernated for months at a time. 2012 has woken them up with story after story of this glorious practice.

I don't agree with the content of the above stories, but I love that they exist for a few reasons.

First, to the mainstream world, yoga has had this clouded mystical mystery surrounding it. Articles like above bring to light that yogi's are, in fact, human. They make mistakes. They, too, get drunk when given too much power, much like members of our political system. It makes yoga more accessible, that you can be flawed and still practice.

Second, yoga has been touted as a "cure all." The only articles you saw before were ones where miracles have happened. How yoga has swooped into someone's life and now they have the perfect life. They are off of their diabetes medication, they are able to walk again, they became one with the universe. But much like a 3am infomercial, when something is made to sound too good to be true, people often believe it is. Over and over yoga articles keep pushing the positives down everyone's throat, to the point they stop listening. But throwing in some humbleness, showing some cracks in the yoga armor? Well now it's a whole different story. People may start to feel less of the hard sell and more like they are getting real facts all around. Yoga may pique the interest of a whole new audience, those who started listening again ("Wait, yoga makes sex better? I need to try this for myself!").

Lastly, I think the fact The New York Times feels yoga can sell magazines is huge. Sort of like when a celebrity starts to grace the cover of tabloids it is a sign they have made it. The New York Times would not spend this much precious space if no one was interested in yoga. So to me, them publishing multiple stories in two months is a great sign that yoga is crossing over into the mainstream.

Personally, I have seen the many benefits of yoga and how amazing it can be. But if you're not open to it, it has zero benefits. Yoga is about balance, and these "negative" stories are just balancing the pot a bit so maybe more people will get inquisitive to give it a try themselves. And if that's the case, I say go for it!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Excerpt From The Invitation

Thought this was too beautiful not to share!

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon...
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming,
from the book The Invitation