Yoga Your Way is Ok

Updated: Aug 16, 2021

Practicing yoga for close to thirty years and teaching for almost fifteen, there is one thing I hear over and over again in the yoga world that never ceases to make me a little sad… “That’s not real yoga,” I hear someone say. Usually by someone who just finished their yoga teacher training, or someone who has been practicing a while and thinks very highly of their particular practice, saying it to someone who may be new to the practice or who is doing a practice different from theirs. More often than not, it’s said in reference to the modern postural practice so prevalent in the world today, insinuating that the postural practice isn’t “real” yoga, but something else (usually meditation, mantra, etc) is “real” yoga.

Practicing yoga for close to thirty years and teaching for almost fifteen, there is one thing I hear over and over again in the yoga world that never ceases to make me a little sad… “That’s not real yoga,” I hear someone say. Usually by someone who just finished their yoga teacher training, or someone who has been practicing a while and thinks very highly of their particular practice, saying it to someone who may be new to the practice or who is doing a practice different from theirs. More often than not, it’s said in reference to the modern postural practice so prevalent in the world today, insinuating that the postural practice isn’t “real” yoga, but something else (usually meditation, mantra, etc) is “real” yoga.

The modern rendition of yoga is serving the needs of the modern person. A modern person who is likely significantly more sedentary than any of their ancestors. A modern person who likely has more varied information streaming through their daily thought process (through the internet, a constant stream of marketing and ads, etc) than their ancestors could even imagine.


Yes, one could argue that yoga rooted solely in the material is lacking what almost all yoga had before it: an aim towards something else, but even that aim has varied throughout time and place. For some, that aim has been a transcendent experience, other’s: magical powers or a relationship to God, or the realization of oneness with God, for others, integration of that realization into every day life, and for some a deliberate escape from life. And while you might find any of those aims missing from a workout based yoga studio in New York City, it STILL doesn’t mean it’s not yoga.

Some might argue that yoga that is only material isn’t yoga because it’s missing the spiritual. Yet certain traditions believe that the so called material is simply an expression of the divine itself and thereby is inherently “spiritual”. In that case, there is no separation between spiritual and material.

if someone wants to argue that a particular way of practicing yoga is more effective for them in achieve the results they are hoping for, you won’t find much argument from me. But what works for one person, and how that person chooses to aim their practice, should only really matter to them.


You see, yoga’s value lies in its service to the people it’s serving. The practice is


here for you whether you like to sit deeply in meditation, or chant for hours with your mala in solitude or in a group singing kirtan.

The practice is here for you if you like a slow meditative movement practice, or whether you like a vigorous physical pra


ctice that challenges every aspect of your body. Want to practice with goats? Or kittens? Knock yourself out! And guess what? It’s ALL yoga, despite what some yoga snob might say.


I hope your practice helps you connect with something larger than yourself. I hope your practice calms your mind and makes you feel better. I hope your practice helps you appreciate all this moment has to offer. If it doesn’t, that’s ok. I won’t judge you, but I’ll probably invite you to practice with me.




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