It’s not a new fad, and it’s not even old — it’s ancient. And quite frankly I’m struggling with not feeling judgy about the rap that yoga gets sometimes.

No Gear Required

Yoga doesn’t require a mat, expensive clothes — or even any clothes really. It doesn’t have to be practiced in a studio, and really doesn’t even have to be practiced with movement. Yoga is not a weight loss plan. It’s not a club, or tribe. It’s not for able bodies only, not exclusive to anyone or anything.

So here goes the judgy part: yoga does not need to be practiced with weights, in the air, by flexible people, or good looking people. It doesn’t have to be fast-paced, or full of sweat, or require any tools. It doesn’t need a fancy name, and it’s not sex or gender specific. Yoga is not a fad.

There is nothing wrong with practicing yoga in any of the above ways. In fact, I love the sweating part. But too often yoga’s integrity is taken for granted. And I feel like standing up for it.

Tradition, in any regard, may change and evolve over time. That’s bound to happen, I get it. And there are millions of different people with different beliefs, values, and capabilities, I get that too. But what makes yoga so powerful is the fact that it is rooted in tradition. In certain techniques, and intention. And when we deviate too much from that, what happens to its tradition and its integrity?

Okay, we hear you, Stephanie, so why is this so important and why are you being judgy? I thought yoga teachers weren’t supposed to do that!

Finding Greater Self-Awareness

Well, because I too am just a participant in the process. And it’s important to me to let it be known that yoga is a powerful, intimate practice that is meant to bring greater awareness to oneself. And in turn, to bring greater awareness to that which surrounds you.

I am not here to judge what brought you to yoga. I didn’t even take my first real yoga class until my first yoga teacher training. But once you have been introduced to yoga, I ask that you do your best to respect its tradition.

Respect its core intention, which is to bring greater attention, connection and unity to oneself.

No abs required. No tight pants required. Just an open mind, a little vulnerability, and commitment. And the rest becomes history. It becomes your own tradition.