People who study yoga (or who just take classes for the fitness aspect) generally want to be nice people; they feel better after taking class or practicing, they want others to know the benefits, and they realize how much there is too learn. But there is no pleasing some folks, or maybe they are practicing in a manner that is increasing their attachment to their physical bodies or their “right way” of practicing.

lotus openingWhat began as an innocent exchange on the comments section of a popular Ashtanga Yoga teacher’s YouTube video quickly turned sour as the original commenter began by denouncing the teacher’s documentation of her personal advanced level practice as a “bastardized version of traditional Yoga exercise” and quickly degenerated into base name calling and profanity. As he seemed to get more agitated with each post I decided to reply with a little Sanskrit which seemed to tone him down a little without deflating his ego one bit (and yet he said nothing useful on what he thought true Yoga is).

Using the exchange as a teaching tool in my morning class at a women’s health club I used my Sanskrit reply of “Tat tvam asi” as a launching pad for the concept of “Sat Chit Ananda” – we are that/Truth, Consciousness, Bliss – and the search for that calm center which watches our conscious mind wrestle with such agitations. The physical practice combined meditations on how the physical body moves and holds positions (via a SLOW sun salutation) as well as how it lets go (or not) of unnecessary held tensions which holds us back from effortless effort.

It’s amazing how much one can cram into a one hour class when you’re on a roll but watching myself teach somehow I had the feeling that I was no longer the one teaching the class. While feeling happy that the students were enjoying their practice I couldn’t really take credit for it; somehow the true teacher was this flaming asshole with a New Zealand email address who refused to hold an intelligent conversation about the nature of Yoga and meditation.

So wherever this jerk is I hope he continues to practice a little every day as his practice will subtly change him over time. May he feel safe and protected, may he feel happy, may he be healthy and strong, may he care for himself wisely.

Lokah samastaa sukhinoh bhavantu.

May all beings everywhere be happy.

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