A Little Yoga Story and a Review of the Documentary “Who Owns Yoga?”

As a yoga practitioner and a yoga teacher, my yoga journey has been long, at times confusing, but the journey has been absolutely Magical. I started practicing yoga when I was pregnant with my son, 16 years ago. Then I studied yoga in college. I was so moved by the practice that I did my 15 page senior research project and presentation on yoga. My Academic Adviser, a Yogi, a well-known psychologist, and Harvard Graduate Dr. Richard Castillo, was very supportive of my project. I learned so much. The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly of Modern Yoga (More on my project another time).
Since then, I have had two intense yoga teacher trainings. I have taught yoga for many years (sometimes as many as 15 classes a week), and practiced yoga with some of the best and most well-known yoga teachers out there. Teaching yoga in South Florida was really an amazing experience. I have been blessed with many yogi and yogini friends. 

In my early years of practice,I was impressionable and desperate for answers. I became good friends with one of my yoga teachers.The more I got to know her, the more human she became. She didn’t have all the answers. She didn’t always operate from a higher wisdom. She was just like me! She fell right off the pretty pedestal I had put her on. I was pissed. I was confused. “ Who is going to give me the answers???” A little voice said “Use your yoga practice and look inside dear one.”
The Lessons we Learn: Acceptance-Tell that inner yoga purist to Shut up!
I have had times when I felt judgemental of fellow yogis who put the greatest emphasis on the physical practice. But why? Who cares? It is what works for them. I have stuck my nose up at gym yoga, instagram, lululemon, yoga ads, etc.. but now, my thinking has transformed. Life has shown me that there is nothing more annoying than the ‘know it all yoga purist’. I had the most magical experience teaching gym yoga, and I see how photographs really inspire people. I understand that while there are ugly sides to the commercialism of yoga , the good side is that Yoga has been brought to the masses.

 We all look for ways to heal..
More people are practicing asana. And for many, as it was for me, practicing asana, is the gateway , the beginning to something much deeper. Asana alone gets us in touch with our bodies, our breath, our cellular wisdom. Transformation.  With that transformation, many of us begin to realize that what we eat has a direct impact on our health and well-being. We begin to make more conscious choices. We start to live a more mindful, connected life.

The Documentary
This morning, I stumbled upon the documentary “Who Owns Yoga?” A 50 minute documentary that explores the many aspects of modern yoga, and the many differing opinions. Presented by Bhanu Bhatnagar of Al Jazeera, I consider this a MUST SEE! It is not particularly deep, but it is important, enjoyable, funny, and certainly an eye-opening documentary.  I didn’t know about ‘Rave Yoga’. And I also got a giggle when I saw the clip of “Voga.  I had no idea. Looks pretty silly, but nonetheless fun. 🙂
Who Owns Yoga? We own yoga! On or off the mat, Yoga is a personal journey and we take it where we need to go. We are in a constant state of transformation.
Here is the link to the Documentary. Enjoy.
Love in all ways ~Tiff


One thought on “A Little Yoga Story and a Review of the Documentary “Who Owns Yoga?”

  1. I think we’ve gone beyond the modernization of yoga, and are in a whole other league with social media et al… You make an excellent point, that it is our our own personal journey…that’s what yoga is. So however we choose to express that (via instagram or wearing lululemon) is how we are expressing our truth. The fact that so many are practicing now is a good thing! The fact that the language of yoga is so widespread means we are communicating more authentically. Thanks for sharing the link…will have to check out that documentary.

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