I had a very interesting experience today. As a teacher, I often get asked how I got into yoga. For me, yoga was a coping mechanism – I joined a gym and chased precious endorphins by attending every class I had time for. Yoga was only one of them, there were also Les Mills programmes, boxercise, dancing, swimming, HIIT core sessions… I probably attended over ten classes each week, coupled with at least 5k running distance. Exercise was a form of escapism, an that’s all yoga was to me – exercise.
As I got to a better place with my mental health, it got less intense and I started exploring other sides of yoga, moving away from instructor-led classes and experimenting with my own flows. At one point I was encouraged to become a teacher, so I could share what I’ve learned, and so I went travelling, I trained to be a yoga teacher, and I got to experience a few different environments, different students, with different requirements.
This week, I was asked to cover a yoga class at the very gym where I first discovered the practice, and it felt great. I see a lot of yoga snobbery, often among teachers, who judge those who only embrace the physical side of the practice, and by extension spaces that weren’t purposefully created for yoga. Today I was reminded that, as cheesy as it sounds, everyone has their own path when it comes to yoga practice, and one should never judge the medium through which we learn, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone.