Why modern yoga should be more spiritual and less narcissistic – The Guardian

Oh my, people have been hurting themselves trying to look good on Instagram. Its not funny, is it? I mean, we dont laugh at people who fall off cliffs while taking selfies, do we? Anyway, a wave of hip and knee injuries among yoga instructors has led to concern. A leading physiotherapist, Benoy Mathew, has said he has seen a lot of injuries as a result of inexperienced teachers attempting the most complicated poses for the gram. God, its all so spiritual, isnt it? So much part of yogas 5,000-year-old tradition.

Who hasnt been to a yoga class where madly competitive people contort themselves at the front while some of us lie at the back snoring? What qualifies some people to be yoga teachers I shall never know, apart from a week on a beach in Kerala and undiagnosed hypermobility. Of course, yoga is great if taught properly and sensitively; the very opposite of endless pictures of lithe young things in specious, sunset poses. Look at me, is not part of any meditative practice I understand. It is simply mindful flashing.

The worst yoga teachers are surely the ones who demonstrate poses in front of stiff, horrified middle-aged people with little instruction except: Behold my toned abs. The second worst are the ones who speak a few words in Sanskrit and then offer nuggets of philosophy that are about as far from compassion as you can get.

My favourite was at a class I attended with a woman who had just had a knee operation and was unable to sit in certain positions. What I notice, said the teacher, is that people with knee problems often have way too much ego.

I caught the womans eye. Oh, the ancient wisdom of the terminally up themselves. That universe is boundless.

And breathe.

Suzanne Moore is a Guardian columnist

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Why modern yoga should be more spiritual and less narcissistic - The Guardian

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