I’m not quite sure what’s happened to yoga right now but its freaking me out! I just finished reading an article on how TY KU Sake is introducing its new brand of wonderful to the yoga world. That’s right folks apparently yogis need sake! It’s better for you than wine and lord knows we need to have fun and relax after a yoga class because let’s face it, yoga is stressful! And isn’t it swell that Yoga Journal and Wanderlust plus yoga studios throughout the continental U.S.A are not only promoting but 100% behind this new form of recreation. Yesterday the following ad was circulated around facebook and the yoga community went crazy. Needless to say 12 hours later Yoga Journal pulled the ad. But you can still see it here!
What the F…ck! I realise the sale of booze makes money but really yoga and alcohol? Shame on you Yoga Journal! I can remember buying my first copy and pouring over the pages. In fact, those pages became dog-eared while I read about how to manage a shoulder injury or learned a new twisting sequence. I didn’t mind the ads for Gaiam yoga mats. Heck I even aspired to advertise in there myself one day, when I had the bucks. But my excitement about this magazine has seriously gone to the dogs. I can only pray that Yoga Journal Australia maintains its sense of decorum and endorses real yoga. Not this hyped up commercialised thing that’s out there today that doesn’t even resemble the yoga I know and love.
So far in the articles and open letters I’ve read in response to the campaign, the authors acknowledge they too like a bit of wine with their yoga. Hey doesn’t everyone?
Well … no… actually…I don’t.
Call me an oddball but I cannot see the point in doing a yoga practice which is designed to detoxify the body by purifying the nadis and then drinking the occasional glass of wine when I feel like it. The whole idea is to free the body of the limitations of the body. Then free the breath of the limitations of the breath and ultimately free the mind of the limitations of the mind. This is Maha Yoga. The great yoga and the ultimate tantric practice. But wait isn’t tantra all about meat, drugs, wine, and… sex?
Years ago when I was struggling with my health I assumed that I was having some sort of kundalini explosion. My teacher encouraged me to get grounded by having some wine while eating a steak. My ex- being a bit of a bacchanalian got really excited and booked us a table at 8-Mile Creek, the only steakhouse in NYC to serve Kangaroo. I remember hunkering down and doing my best not to show too much enthusiasm. I felt like such a hypocrite. I found out later that the cause of my so called kundalini problems was actually Type 1 diabetes (but that’s another story) and that drinking wine was actually not the solution.
It’s taken me years to rebuild my system and it’s only happened due to my dedication to my practice. Before anything the practice comes first. A yoga practice including kriya breathing and meditation is designed to nourish, rejuvenate and relax the nervous system. It’s way more efficient then anything we put in the body. Think of it as a cleanse from the inside out. If your life as a yogi is stressing you out, then for god’s sake give it up! Yoga is not for everyone and certainly not for the faint hearted. If you really want to know what the Siddhas did with this body, then take your practice seriously. Find a real teacher and give up your habits. When you discover the true and lasting meaning of yoga, habits naturally fall away. We only hang onto habits because we think they give us something. I.e. drink wine, relax, get happy! Since when did a bottle of wine scream out, “Hey drink me I’ll make you happy and get rid of your stress!”
What floors me is how the media, especially social media is setting a standard for what’s acceptable in yoga, while ignoring the very real people that practice because for them, yoga is a life saver. The ones in small towns, the ones struggling with their health, the ones actually dealing with drug and alcohol addiction. Why don’t we celebrate and encourage these people in the media? Why does every billboard show us someone beautiful, young and healthy doing yoga? C’mon guys where are the real yoga people!
If this rant is bringing up some issues, GOOD!
When I step onto my mat in the morning I give up everything, my thoughts, my ideas, beliefs, in a way it feels like confession…as I fall at the feet of the whole of creation. I begin again.