My Beef With Yoga Studios

I’m getting back up on my soapbox.


Here’s my beef with yoga studios: Almost every yoga studio in the city markets themselves as the “only true version” of yoga or the “only authentic practice”. Some studios and teachers critique people who create their own version of yoga as being somehow “false”. They send newsletters about the illegitimacy of other names and studios. They incorporate their authenticity into their tagline.

The idea that their is only one true way to practice yoga and the competition to be the one historically authentic practice in the yoga world breaks my heart.

Every single training has a history. Although the older traditions have deeper roots, they hold no superiority over newer styles. I don’t love every style of yoga (goddamn Broga) and I know that not everyone loves the style that suits me. Our focus point as teachers is to make a student leave feeling calm, centered, and a little more mindful–not relieved they drank the cool kids kool-aid.

I ask studio owners, what about Aparigraha–non-possessiveness?

Traditions being held in high regard and practices reigning supreme are only serving your own self-worth, your own ego.

To say one version of yoga is more legitimate because of its history mixes too closely with the sanctimoniousness of religious history. Do you really want to throw around the Sutras the way some Christians do the Bible?

I’m lucky that I have a great teacher. In our training he would say, “I want you to take this and make it your own.” We were assigned to take and critique yoga classes–what do we like, what doesn’t work? In yoga we’re a community; we riff off one another.

Because that’s the tradition.

Student copies master who copied master who copied master. We digest what we learn; we absorb what works for us and excrete the rest. Because that’s how we work–from a biological to an economical level. Every minute of everyday is a learning experience.

Seth Godin wrote in an article

“It’s not my land. It’s ours. And no one is hunting… If anything, we’re farming, and all the cross-pollination going on helps everyone.”

Read his article. Srsly.

Some of the best teaching advice I’ve received was from my friend Sue who said, “Listen, babe, you’re not going to re-invent the wheel.”

And I’m never going to. And their is so much freedom in knowing that. Any sequence I create has probably been done over a hundred times already.

I want the yoga community to share. To be open. Why can’t studios collaborate with one another? Why can’t we make waves, or webs, or some fireworks explosion of inspired goodness?

We’re not going to re-invent the wheel. But we can work together to move it in the right direction.


Mic Drop.


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