Charmed Chatter

The musings of a Personal Trainer/Foodie, en route to adding Yoga Teacher to the mix!

I have a yoga beef! (I know that the two words "yoga" and "beef" will probably never be used in the same sentence ever again - but here somehow it just fit.) Lately, I've been reading a few blogs, where the authors have made reference to "popular yoga", "mainstream yoga", "power yoga" and the like - alluding that this yoga is not "real" yoga. Then, I've also seen mention of yoga that is not performed or learned in a proper "yoga studio" not being "real" yoga.

I take issue with this. HUGE ISSUE! In fact, as I read along I had to literally stop and pranayama my heart-rate back to it's usual slow pulse.

Who is to say what "real yoga" is?! There are so many different types of yoga, so many different pieces to what I see as an amazing and intricate puzzle, and like I see everything in life, each piece and each variation is a beautiful part of the whole. It's as if to say a daisy is less of a flower than a rose, because to one person its fragrance isn't as appealing.

This is REAL yoga!
I think that people come to yoga for many different reasons, and in our western world that reason may be more frequently than not, that people are driven by the need to have a workout. That said, the benefits of having a great yoga-style workout, and the possibilities that can arise from anyone taking that first step to beginning a yoga practice, are immeasurable. I myself started my own yoga practice with the goal in mind to increase my flexibility after injuries. And now, like a baby learning to walk after learning to crawl, I've begun to explore all the other nuances, types, and philosophies of yoga. All because I went to a "mainstream yoga class". Today, I believe that I could attend the fitness-club power yoga class, and still apply all the other factors that I have learned to that class.

I think that no matter what kind of yoga you do, no matter where you do it - whether in an ashram or in your living room - you are going to reap the benefits of getting in physical activity which are benefits to your heart, your muscles, your mood. When your mood is better and your body is healthier, you will be a happier person that will go into the world and add more than you would have otherwise. And really, is this not yoga embodied? The union of YOUR body and mind?! Yoga to uplift your spirit, yoga to bring you closer to your inner self, yoga to be a "practice", yoga to be YOURS?!

I believe "real yoga" happens on the inside. I hope that everyone everywhere takes the time to find a place that offers something that they will do on a regular basis - something they like and will stick with. In my opinion it has nothing to do with the studio you attend, or whether the workout is meditative or cardiovascular. Every time you honor yourself by doing something good for your body, good for the world, good for your spirit, or good for your fellow man, you are doing yoga. Real yoga.

Live, love, laugh, do yoga.