The world of Yoga has shifted in such an amazing way! My personal experience with the practice was over two decades ago and oh how the story has changed!
I started practicing in a little gym that offered a class called; Mind Body Flow. The description said something along the lines of; a blend of stretching and pilates on a pilates mat. In reality, the class was a Yoga class and the teacher was a yogini 100%. However, this was in the the deep south of Alabama, so she couldn’t call the class yoga without major political upheaval.
It seems crazy to think about it now, with how mainstream yoga has become, but there was a lot of stigma wrapped around yoga for a while. Many people thought that it was a cult, or that you had to be a Hindu or Buddhist to practice. Many people thought it was all just a bunch of hippies burning incense and chanting strange sounds! Unfortunately, there are still many people that have opinions that are simply not true, but we cannot deny the fact that now Yoga is everywhere!
Just this year, in a new study conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga alliance, 16 million more people practice Yoga today than only for years ago. “A whopping 37 of yogis have children under the age of 18 who have practiced yoga”. There is also a huge shift in the demographic of students from the age of 40-75 years old. The new influx of yoga therapy practices have begun to infiltrate the medical world as well.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to yoga and yoga related products these days. In many ways this is truly amazing, however there are moments when I feel that some of the essence of the true practice of yoga has been watered down and ego has replaced it. My hope is that at some point everyone takes the time to explore what yoga truly is. Yes, it is a place to learn to breath, to heal the physical body, to reduce stress, and to connect with your community. But the true heart of Yoga lies in the the ability to really connect with oneself. Our yoga practice is a mirror for us. What shows up on our mat, shows up in our lives. The practice, when done in a mindful and healing way is an opportunity to look at your life, and adjust what is not working well for you. May we all continue to explore the world of yoga from the inside out! And check out this months Yoga Journal magazine for a great article on just how much the practice of yoga has shifted in America!