There’s a reason why yin yoga doesn’t appeal to everyone. There’s a reason why many yogis try it, don’t really like it, and return to the familiarity of their yang movement practices. Part of this reason is due to the fact that everything we try for the first time takes us out of our comfort zone. But I’ve long suspected that it’s mostly down to the fact that yin yoga loves to keep us there.
So my month off social media has come to an end. 30 days without Instagram and Facebook. 30 days of attempting to limit WhatsApp and email checking to once daily. 30 days of generally trying to stay away from my phone as much as possible (truly successful only when left in the car!) ‘Zentember’ actually proved far easier than I expected, and I now find myself more concerned about how to navigate my return to a world I have come to be very sceptical about.
The full reality of the situation and, in my humble opinion, the biggest problem with Yoga Alliance is that through its dumbing down of alleged ‘ standards’ in the yoga world and its one-dimensional and altogether illogically prescriptive definition of what constitutes a minimum entry requirement, it is actually excluding a whole range of people who have much to contribute and could actually improve the organisation’s ‘standards’ which have been dismally dropping in the last 15 years.
It is important to teach yin yoga because it is ultimately a practice that helps us to feel in an increasingly disconnected and disembodied world, and it is perhaps the only yoga practice that is truly for every body. As long as the teacher has sufficient knowledge of functional anatomy he or she can guide is or her student into the pose so that the target area may be felt by all students. In this regard it is clear that yin yoga is a truly inclusive practice; one that promotes tolerance and respect, one that helps us to become more mindful and present, more able to receive, more able to operate in compassion, more able to let go.
In this knowledge-obsessed world we live in where wisdom is all too rare, I reckon we need to acknowledge where Descartes fell short. God knows I sang from the Cartesian hymnsheet (“I think, therefore I am”) for long enough, but if we do not temper our appreciation of ‘thinking’ with an awareness of when ‘thinking’ is entirely insufficient – and sometimes detrimental, then we are doing both ourselves and our students a great disservice.
By all means, have your mental positions on things, have your political viewpoints, your opinions, your preferences. Take part in all the discussions and debates. Make your point, but don't let it harden you. Try not to let your ‘points’ become your identity. For the more we strengthen the ego and its beloved mental positions, the more disconnected we feel from our true selves.
The biggest thing that is apparent to me on rereading is that fear, for me, is simply an experience that is part of my growth. And I really have no interest in living a life which doesn't include space for both. To tie it all up I guess that's the essence of what I meant when I said that I would 'choose to experience fear time and time again'.
And you know, just maybe, that's what this 'greatest life' really is at the end of the day. It's the sum of the experiences which give you the courage to follow the right path for you. It's the life where at its end you have way fewer regrets than great stories. And most of all, it's the life in which Jonny Ox's words resonated, and you refuse to let the tamed ones tell you how to live.
From the very get-go this whole personal website thing was a total fiasco. I was doing it, and then I wasn't doing it, and then I was doing it again. I found many excuses: an idea wasn't quite expressed as it should be, a photo wasn't really suitable, my bio was initially 15 pages long (I was trying to give the full picture)… Suffice to say it challenged me in many, many ways. And so of course, I dived right in. Head first. Struggling. Apparently floundering. Drowning, in fact. Meeting my own resistance.