Yoga WorldOh look, another topic icon!  Over the weekend, Larisa Rozentals from Wellsphere asked me to think about allowing them to feature Everyday Yoga Blog on their site.  Judging by the WellMix 360 logo at the left, it looks like I am allowing them to feature my blog—for now that is.  Why the caveat?  If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, then you know that I don’t like the Yoga commercialism mix.  From what I have seen, Wellsphere is a free community site that focuses on living healthier and so long as that remains the focus then I’ll continue to participate.

Yoga MoneyYoga and money, that’s a very touchy subject in my book  Everywhere I turn I see yoga industry or an advertisement that equates Yoga and wellbeing with whatever product is being sold.  Even worse than the frenetic selling of yoga is how the practice of Yoga has been turned into the franchise of yoga.  The practice of Yoga is concerned with the body, mind and spirit of each student.  Commercial yoga, however, is competing with step aerobics and ellipticals to be the best thing to hit the gym scene since free weights.  True commercial yoga has brought the physical health benefits of yoga to millions but it has also increased the number of yoga related injuries.  Some of those injuries are related to over achieving students, asking your back to give that fictional 110% is demanding a back injury.  Good instructors, instructors that take the time needed to help individual students, largely prevent this.  Commercial yoga has no time for such instructors, time is money and money is what commercial yoga is truly about.

How do you know if you have a commercial yoga instructor?  Your first clue might be where you are practicing:  Are you at the local gym, rec center or a private studio?  Gyms tend more toward the commercial approach, studios lean more toward the individual approach and rec centers generally lie somewhere in between; however, like a book you cannot judge a class simply by where it is being taught!  The single most important and telling factor is the instructor.  Does the instructor take time to consult with individual students during the class or just stick to the set routine and call it good?  Does the instructor encourage discussion during the practice or is it all just the instructor talking?  (Just realized I need to work on that one myself.)  Are you important to the instructor or are you just another face in the nameless swarm?  What should you do if you realize that you have a commercial instructor?  If the class fits your needs and wants, then stick with it.  Personally, I would be out the door and looking for a new instructor in a heartbeat.

OMRemember, Yoga is about uniting one’s body, mind and spirit.  If all you ever do in class is hop from pose to pose to pose then it isn’t Yoga, it’s just exercise.