Thoughts From a Yoga Practitioner (who doesn't fit the scene)

By  Vanessa Webb | 


Upon seeing a yoga class from a view at the door, my eyes wide, my mouth gaping, a foreign world of thought tumbled forward:  

Look at all those people! How do all those people fit in one room arms in the air, front knee bent? What is that teacher offering them that they want to crowd into a room like that? How does this happen? What is the teacher thinking when he sees all of this…does he feel inspired by the turnout?  Can he see everyone who he’s talking to? Is it just a business for him? How did all these people find out about the class? What made ALL of them feel it was a good idea to go to THIS class? Do they know why they went and what they’re there for?  Is the teacher part of the industry…or is the teacher really that authentic? And teaching to that many students, who’ve all come crowding in, wouldn’t our world be a little better than it is?  Or maybe it’s not the teacher, but what these students are willing and ready to receive from the teacher? Are they ready to receive authentic teaching, or did they crowd into this room because everyone else did? Do they know this answer? Are they connected to their heart, or are they only going through the motions?  Are they aware of their capacity to grow? Are they aware of this concept, or are they just taking in the instruction from the teacher (physically, philosophically)…so that they have more to say…more yoga to talk about?



So many questions, and are they valid?  I rarely have a positive experience in these rooms full of people. I usually feel like running out of them, I can’t roll up my mat soon enough.  But I do know when I’m in a space which is welcoming and inclusive, even if we’re still practicing and growing our comfort zones. I do know this. Inclusive spaces can be crowded too, but somehow, in a different way.  I don’t know about these other crowded spaces, they feel foreign to me. What do these people do with themselves when they’re not crowded into this space? Do they consider their practice further, or was it an hour they got done in their day, and have now moved on to something else? Like, what are they doing now that they’re not in that crowded room listening to the teacher’s instructions? What are they interested in when they’re not in this room?  With so many millions of people “practicing yoga”, wouldn’t our world be heading in a better direction than it seems to be? 



The truthfulness of our practice is Satya…and I wonder about this a lot, especially when we do things because of popularity. Truthfulness is not only about not lying, it is the ability to self-reflect.  We define our perceptions by what we say and do, so understanding why and how we do what we do, is critical to Satya.  Following through with being accountable for what we say and do is a marked sign of our development. Are we willing to mature in our practice of Satya?  To become more knowledgeable about truthfulness, and wise with it, creates an intimacy with our practice.  Being intimate with our practice is both uncomfortable and liberating, because it’s honest.  This is why Satya is so scary for many people…we don’t want its discomfort, we don’t want its inconvenience, and we don’t know how to do it. When we do, we become removed from the crowd. But can we just do it anyway?  Being accountable means we’ve thought through what we’ll say before we say it, or take action after having thought about the possible consequences, and whether these consequences stand up to what we talk about. Are we willing to clear up misunderstandings and consider others? Our society today fosters no accountability, nor do most crowded yoga studios, so we’re not required to develop this skill nor our practice. I’m not saying this about all crowded classes…I just wonder about the chronically crowded classes.

photo credit: wanderlust