Do you have a favorite pair (or brand even) of yoga pants? Or do you reject any trendy, material aspect of yoga gear because it’s not about “true yoga”, the way it should be?
Well. What is “true yoga”?
Consider for a moment that yoga asana (translation: physical postures) was originally intended as a means to get the body ready to sit in meditation. It was never (then) about the physical movement.
Fast forward to current times. We have at least one state lawmaker deeming that tight yoga pants are to be considered “indecent clothing”. We have have one article after another slamming women for going out in the world in yoga gear. Safe to say that the topic of yoga gear, or yoga fashion, or straight up leggings—whatever you want to call it—is a contentious one.
There’s the argument that these pants are too tight or revealing to wear in public. There is the argument that wearing brand name or overly eye-catching / colorful leggings during class takes away from the spirituality of the practice. And then there’s the argument that I’ll put forth here: DOES IT EVEN MATTER?
If we slam one woman for being too shallow for “dressing up” for yoga, are we not ourselves falling into that shallow stance of judging? If we look down on someone because their practice mustn’t be as “spiritual” as ours because they post pictures online, or because they have bright mats and always look beautiful, does this labeling and looking down really make US any more spiritual?
The “shoulds” and “should nots” of yoga is a much larger issue. Many people believe in one core tradition that needs to be practiced one way, despite the rise of multiple schools of yoga, and new techniques and innovative styles being created, and, in general, a much bigger and diverse world of yoga being practiced all over the globe.
What we all need to remember is: People practice yoga for all different reasons. Yoga means different things for everyone. Just as we all have our own version of how we view and interact with the world, we all have a different view of what yoga means.
Not all people are there for a deep spiritual journey. (Many are.) Not all people are in class to sweat and get a workout. (Many are.) Not all people like to wear bright, colorful, fashionable leggings. (Many do.) If we judge, label and criticize others for what they do, we are using energy that could be better spent in our own yoga practice, on and off the mat.
Consider this: If yoga for you means non-judgmental awareness, or mindfulness, or acceptance, or loving kindness, or unity, or even just an internal, personal practice of movement, then caring about what anyone else is doing (and judging, no less) is counterintuitive to the core of the loving soul of yoga.
Could we not still be just as spiritual in a pair of brightly patterned pants than in a pair of plain black leggings? Could we not still be loving towards people who practice for a completely different reason to us? Could we not bring that yoga we practice on the mat into our every day life and interaction with the world?
A few more yoga resources to support you:
- Five essential oils to empower your yoga practice.
- What to eat before yoga class.
- The significance of mala beads.
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