Dear Sarcastic Yogi,
Isn’t sarcasm against the tenets of yoga? Aren’t yogis supposed to be sincere and compassionate at all moments?
A Really Sincere Enquirer
Dear Sincere Enquirer,
One things yogis love to do is talk about what yogis should be like. I believe this happens because we love the idea of a perfect yogi. One who is calm and collected, compassionate and loving, and is being fawned by a massive fern shoot by their adoring tribe of disciples. This ideal representation of a yogi gives us something to aspire to and aim for. Aspiration and goals for your practice are important to have. Unfortunately, this line of thinking reduces what it means to be a yoga practitioner into something that is not only useless but also unachievable.
Its impossible to define what it means to be practicing yoga because it differs depending on who you talk to or what philosophical text or interpretation you’re drawing from. I can say this much though, there are situations where being angry, or not telling the truth is a wise thing to do. A yogi knows that there is not always one way to act because the world calls upon us to act differently each and every moment. If you are present and see each moment as clear as possible then discern right action from that place of wisdom (called life experience), your yoga practice will work for you since you’ll be steeped in an intuitive and connected frame of mind.
If yogis spent the time they ponder about what a yoga practitioner should be doing and instead focused on being deliberative and conscious decision makers in their life, their practice will last longer and be more fruitful.
Sean Haleen (AKA the Sarcastic Yogi) is a full time yoga teacher in San Francisco (catch him at Yoga Tree Castro, Stanyan, Valencia or Hayes). He in on the teaching faculty at Yoga Tree’s 200HR and 500HR teacher training program and has extensive studies in Anusara and Iyengar Yoga. Are you a student, teacher, or observer of yoga and have a question or conundrum? Write to Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org