I loved yoga. I was down the studio as much as possible and off on yoga retreats and workshops with my buddies whenever I could. I had an amazing time and I look back on that period of my life with huge affection.
But then something changed.
Suddenly my yoga practice started to cause me huge anxiety. There were factions between the groups of yoga friends. There was competition for yoga teaching jobs. There was gossip in the studio. Someone was sleeping with the instructor. One girl had an affair with another girl’s husband. Ugh. It became a mess.
The universe gave me a great blessing and physically removed me from this toxic situation when we moved overseas.
But it didn’t end there.
I had e-mails and phone calls and endless gossip updates. And then there were the social media posts. Try as I might, I was still well and truly immersed in the drama. In this big and wonderful web of a yoga community, I felt bogged down and I admit that I was just as much to blame for the situation I found myself in as everyone else. How did it end up like this?
When I first started my yoga practice, I would go to the yoga studio and enjoy a nice quiet class where I didn’t know anyone in the room except the teacher. I started to miss those early days of my practice when I felt like I was anonymous.
When we moved abroad, I had the chance to experience what it was like to start all over again as the girl in the class that didn’t know anyone. But I still wasn’t happy. I wanted the community that I had before but as I became involved in a new one I discovered that the same issues were happening in the new studio. It seems like all yoga communities in all three countries that I have lived in are going through the same thing.
My initial reaction was to withdraw into myself and practice at home. I was mad at yoga and irritated by my new classmates. I decided that I wanted no part of the modern ‘yoga’ industry. Quite frankly, I felt like there was zero ‘yoga’ going on – even in India where politics was rife in the studio.
I was starting to understand why so many great yogis decide to retreat into a cave in the mountains far from the madding crowd!
It is actually easier to meditate in a cave than it is in the yoga studio but this is where our practice comes into play. I have come to the conclusion that there will always be drama, even in the yoga studio – no, especially in the yoga studio. The key issue here is how you choose to react to it.
You will be pleased to know that I have recently started going back into the yoga studio. I am older and wiser now, especially since I became a Mother! I choose my teachers and my studio carefully. My free time is precious so I don’t hang out at the juice bar after class getting drawn into the drama. And I try my best not to read everything that I see on social media!
Most importantly, I choose how to react.
And that, drum roll please, is when you know you have learned something in all these years of studying yoga!