Photo : Spinalonga Island
When I started practicing yoga in 1998, I did not have any expectation, had no clue about Patanjali, never heard about Pattabhi jois and/or Krishnmacharya. I was a newbie, I just wanted to stretch and feel good.
If at that time someone who have told me “one day you will be living in India for 5 years”, I would have laughed badly before heading back to the party.
Furthermore, I did not have any desire of becoming a Yoga teacher, never dream about it, and had no clue of what was exactly “yoga”.
My very first yoga class was Bikram Yoga, I was living in Montreal and it was cold.
That is the only one reason I went to a Bikram Yoga class. I just moved to Montreal, I knew winters will be hard, but I did not know “how much” hard it will be….. Did not even know that it could minus something for so long, in the same place of the world.
Even though I had “fun” the first 3 years, the first winter I experimented in Montreal took me by surprise. Between 5 to 6 months of awful weather, even though everyone was telling me “at least it is sunny”, I did not care, I wanted to be warmer!
At that time I was a swimmer, 7 days per week for 1 to 2 hours I was swimming.
Each time after a session, I was doing a sauna, and one day I was wondering where, in this cold city, I would be able to practice under hot temperature and enjoying it?
That is when I found about Bikram Yoga.
That is the only reason I went down to the Walker avenue, pushing the studio door. The promise of sweat, heat and stretching.
First class, I did not understand anything about the breathing, still now I do not understand what kind of breathing it was.
Anyway I just did what I was supposed to do, mimicking everyone with my hands below my throat, opening the elbows as the head goes up and closing them as the head was moving backward, producing the sound “Aaaaaaah” full mouth opened…..
Then the teacher start yelling (screaming, ordering, commanding) asanas. I found it pretty cool, because I was sweating, and not hard at all. I was very flexible and the heat was creating more flexibility which I really enjoyed.
At the end of the course some students asked me how long I have bee practicing Bikram? I told them, it was my first class. They did not believe me, but that was true.
Bikram became my regular practice for 6 years. Until I moved back to Paris and met Gérard Arnaud who was teaching Vinyasa Yoga.
Nowadays, social networks, youtube, television, “social influencer” (new trendy job), have created a “new” Yoga.
The Yoga that can do anything you want, anything you wish, anyone you want to become.
So here you, with yoga you can loose weight, be happy, fight the stress, improve vision, have a better skin, become goat, like beer, be more beautiful, more spiritual than spirituality itself, help to improve your food habit, bring the divine and the feminine in you, balance your chakras, in some case you can even open your chakras, change your aura, or see auras from others, be awake, a promise of Samadhi each time you practice 108 Sun Salutations, a beautiful summer, heal everything that you have, get rid off cellulite, shape your arms and your ass, shape your face and remove wrinkles, provide you a successful sex life, you can and should be able to practice it under the water and on the water, and so on…. so many things. So many promises. A new Eldorado!
That is wonderful, Yoga is everywhere!
Consequence of it, we are feeding yoga with expectations.
People are no more interested in practicing asana, pranayama and meditation, no they want direct Samadhi.
They want to be fit and awesome, do some handstands on the beach and post it on Instagram with a philosophical sentence, explaining how much yogi they are.
But when we start understanding that Yoga is all but not this, then we tend to loose the interest of it.
So we change the name “Yoga and something pretty cool”.
Also sometime it is easy to idealise yoga practitioner, so when your Yoga teacher is showing some anxious side of him or herself, people don’t understand, you are a yogi or not?
During “fight” on Social network, how many times we can see that sentence “oh this comment is not good, that is not yogi“……
Because we are a “Yogi” (this term does not exist), we start wearing a mask, a smile on the face, white teeth out.
Teachers start classes like “Goooooooood, happy and beautiful souls, today let’s work on the heart opening and open our chakra, just feel the breath coming in, coming out, yes that is right, just move with the wind and let if flow, let if flow“.
That is not what I am looking for.
I just want to be inspire, by simple things.
There is no need of practicing 70 asanas daily to reach Samadhi.
We practiced 70 asanas because we want it, without any expectations. Benefits will come one day… or not.
The same way, we should never start practicing Pranayama with Kumbakha, first of all we should start learning how to breath.
Yoga is not a medicine, not a remedy, not a disease.
If you like running and feel good after one hour, then you have find your blissful time, that is your Samadhi.
Yoga does not heal depression.
If painting is calming you down and helping you to get rid off your troubles, that is your Samadhi.
Yoga does not help flexibility, that is not the goal, practice danse, Pilates, Feldenkrais if you want to become more flexible.
Yoga is not the answer for loosing weight, however what you are eating might have a huge impact on your body.
Yoga does not create better lover, speaking with your partner will be more beneficial.
Yoga is not the answer for everything, stop idealising yoga.
Practice Yoga because you want it, without any expectations.
There is nothing more difficult than seating in Siddhasana for 10 minutes, without thinking.
Stop to put Yoga everywhere as THE solution for any problem, issues.
Practitioners are not better than people who are not practicing.
If all yoga practitioners in the world were awake, then the impact will be phenomenal.
Regarding the politics, well-being, wisdom, Mother Nature will be respected, animal will not die for us to be eat, pollution would have been solved. Banks and pharmaceutical company will stop to take us as granted as much as milky cow.
After all, the cow is a sacred animal in the world of “Yoga”.