From Rant to Redemption: How the Yogini on the Beach Saved Me.

A few weeks ago I posted “Half-naked, Vegan Yogini on the Beach Saves Rabbits in China

This post was a rant based on a homework assignment from an online writing coach. The writing prompts read:

“What upsets you? What do you find frustrating? What really ticks you off?”

From the safety of my sofa, I took a stab at social media. My Facebook newsfeed was an easy target. It could not defend itself. With a controversial, even racy title, my WordPress stats went up. A few friends joined my rant.

But after, something didn’t sit quite right.

InspirationIf I am upset, frustrated or even ticked off at my Facebook newsfeed, then why am I even looking at it? Behind my seemingly masochistic social media addiction, I found three longings:

1. Inspiration – A healthy personality finds inspiration in individuals who demonstrate skill. However in yoga there is a continuous debate concerning photography and videos of teachers in “advanced” poses. Do yoga teachers in challenging arm balances or deep back bends inspire yoga students? Or, are potential students discouraged from joining a class?

Hold that thought – now ask yourself:

  • Do pictures of Ronaldo discourage adult, chubby men from playing soccer on the weekends?
  • Does the latest Oscar winning performance of Matthew McConaughey prevent a child from joining the school theater?

If you answered no, then why should the wispy yogini dropping into a back bend on the beach stop me from doing yoga?

Let’s get a bit of confidence yoga peeps! What if we all refused to watch the Olympics saying that they are all just show offs? Why do we innerly reject individuals who are mastering poses that we are secretly working towards?

2. Community – a few years ago a friend said to me, “Look how many people on Facebook post pictures where they look like movie stars. Who do they think they are?” Now that is a trick question. Should we think we are less than a movie star? Is looking glam and cool reserved for the appointed few?

If I am FRIENDS with someone on Facebook, do I sneer at her beautiful picture, asking why she didn’t post something less attractive?

When I post a picture of me, I get the most likes. That is community – someone out there, perhaps someone who misses me, who likes me, whom I haven’t seen in 20 years, is happy to see a picture of me. The friend who thinks I should have put an uglier picture of me can unfriend me right now please.

3. Change – I have a hard time when I see all the seemingly senseless violence in the world. Yet unfortunately a “can-do” approach seems to go as far as we can spit up against government and corporate corruption and mass violence against man, beast and the Mother Earth. From this place of powerlessness, my online yoga community cries with me, reflecting back that I am not alone, that others also want change.

One face of yoga teaching encourages us to enter a state of inner listening, to step back from action and allow. But another face of yoga offers us to learn from the world around us through inspiration and community.

This week, I inspired my students to do a handstand. With a sense of community, they encouraged each others success. They walked out more confident.

If we allow inspiration and community to mix, we may find the change in the world we are looking for.

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