A Matter of Style
The other day after a soccer game, a friend told me he just started doing yoga, and that he never expected it to be so hard. I asked where he’s doing it, and as soon as he told me, I let out a little “oooh”, and my face formed a look that a 3 year-old would make if she just ate something she wasn’t sure about.
“You don’t like them?” he asked. “It’s not that, it’s just a really aggressive style of yoga, and it’s much easier to get hurt if you’re brand new.” My friend nodded, and I realized right there and then what I did. I had just, in technical terms, “smack talked” my friend’s newfound interest in yoga. “Actually, the intro classes are pretty good,” I quickly added, but the damage was already done.
Riding my bike home, I kept thinking about how I came off, as a total holier-than-thou snob, absolutely not yogic at all. No matter what my justification was, jumping straight to disapproval didn’t help. I wasn’t proud of it and wrote an apology email as soon as I could.
I have thought often and much about this very matter. I can see how the Wars of Religion may have gotten started, someone told someone else that *their* way of doing things is superior, and that they, too, should follow or suffer. Yoga styles, though not as extreme as religions, also have devout devotees and vocal opponents.
These days, when people ask me what style of yoga I do, I often say that I’m yoganostic. I don’t subscribe to any one particular dogma, but I do have one thing I stick with, the fundamental principles of anatomy and kinesiology. To me, this allows anyone from any level of experience or yoga tradition to build a personal yoga practice.