In recent years, yoga has become very fashionable. It’s the little black dress of the health and wellbeing industry, with people around the world aspiring to bendy perfection.
Instagram is full of yoga ‘celebrities’ with a cult following, and yoga is seen by many as the best way to live a healthy, balanced life. So, what is a yoga lifestyle? And why do so many people want a slice of it?
First of all, I would like to add a little disclaimer. I love yoga, I have been a regular practitioner for several years and I fully endorse the benefits of it. However, I’ve been feeling a little uninspired by the level of conformity that seems to be creeping in.
Since when do we all have to dress the same, eat the same and live the same way? I thought yoga allowed us to enjoy the physical benefits of the postures while discovering more about ourselves and becoming tolerant of others. I didn’t think it involved competitiveness over who spent the most amount of money on a mat, leggings or environmentally friendly water bottle.
What is a yoga lifestyle?
I remember the first time I tried yoga while I was living in Sydney several years ago. I didn’t think about whether my leggings were branded or if my yoga outfit matched. And neither did most of the people who were practicing in the room alongside me. The focus was on personal development and the creation of community. That’s why I loved it.
These days though, I look around and I see women competing over who looks the best and who can outsmart the others with their knowledge of how to best live a yoga lifestyle. It makes me a little sad.
That brings me back to the question, what is a yoga lifestyle? Is it copying what we see on social media? Is it bragging about our consumption of the latest health food? Or is it more than that? I’m an advocate for the latter.
I believe there is no perfect yoga lifestyle, it’s different for all of us. Some people may want to wear Lululemon, others may want to wear something completely different, but as long as they are comfortable does it matter?
The same applies for people that are vegetarian, gluten free, social drinkers, tee total, caffeine addicts or cake lovers.
Everyone is different and people are drawn to yoga for various reasons. Some practice every day, others do yoga once a week, or just every now and again. What is important is the outcome. If people feel the benefits of their practice, then they are doing it right. And for me, that is a yoga lifestyle.
So, let’s embrace individuality and enjoy practicing yoga, however we choose to.
Image credit Flickr Creative Commons: Seniju
This article can also be found on Book Yoga Retreats