Everyone has an opinion on yoga. This is not an entirely new realization, but it’s something that’s become even more obvious over the last few weeks as I’ve been telling new friends that I’m training to be a yoga teacher.
The responses are many and varied, but I’ve heard few along the lines of “Oh that’s nice, good for you” or “That’s interesting”. Nope, the responses I get are laden with judgment – of me as a student of yoga or of people who do yoga in general. Some have been shocked that I occasionally drink alcohol and eat meat, because no true yogi would ever do that, and thus dismiss me. Others are more interested in telling me that the styles of yoga that I practice aren’t real yoga (on which I could write a series of posts). Or that I practice at the wrong time of day, or facing in the wrong direction, modern lifestyles be damned. Some have said “Excuse me, its not called yoga teacher, its called a yogi“. Then there are those that are refuse to believe that I can be sore or tired after a session, “because you don’t do anything”. The other day I got into a bit of a tiff with someone who suggested the idea of yoga training was ridiculous, as there are no safety aspects and no special skills that need to be learned (obviously, he had never taken a class in his life). “I mean, you just tell people to lay down and breathe”.
There are also those people that just want to lecture you no matter what. Where do they get it from, this idea that they need to explain to me how to do this pose and that, five minutes after I tell them that I do yoga, without ever having practiced with me? These guys haven’t been to a class in years, and yet they need give you a piece of their mind. I’m starting to think that maybe I just look really, really stupid and in dire need of help?
But the most interesting observation is that 90% of these comments are from men, from all over the world. Either men who practice regularly or men who have never taken a yoga class in their life. Why men seemingly have such a desire for lecturing young women on the “real thruths of yoga”, I have no idea. I’d be curious to hear some suggestions though, because I am sure this is part of a larger phenomena. Any thoughts?