To the Editor,
I am writing about the article "Putting the Yoga back in Yoga: An Open Letter to the North American Yoga Community" by Laiki Huxorli [Edge Life, May 2008]. I am really surprised you published this article, except that it is always fine to publish differing opinions. And opinion it is. This article was so judgmental I was almost embarrassed to be associated in the same category as this person – yoga teacher.
An Open Letter? More like scathing letter! I know many yogis who are doing seva (service to others). I know many yoga students who have come to a more traditional and spiritual yoga practice by starting out with "power yoga" or health club yoga. I had the rare privilege of teaching large "fitness yoga" classes where I had the opportunity to introduce hundreds of beginners to yoga. No one got hurt in my classes, many came to thank me for teaching them how to "work out" safely, and for an "exercise" that gave them a calmer mind, as well as relief from their back pain!
The article’s tone may turn some people off of yoga. We aren’t all a judgmental lot, us yoga teachers. I, for one, am so grateful that I am able to earn a living teaching yoga in this country. I am grateful for the commercial popularity and marketing that the yoga industry has done. I have seen firsthand the power of the asanas, the breathing, the attention to the present moment to transform the health and well-being of many people. This is nothing but good for our planet.
As a yogi, my goal is to introduce and help many to do yoga. When we are mindful of our bodies, we begin to notice our own environment, our impact on the earth, and on others, we begin to create more peaceful and sustainable lives.
Laiki’s final paragraph does include some wisdom, particularly that yoga is simple, and that you don’t need anything fancy to do it. Start with where you are, how you sit, how you breath, be mindful of what you are saying to others. You don’t have to adhere to any strict dogma. It can be simply a physical practice, but you will start to notice more and more how tense you are, and relax.
If everyone did that, what would the world be like then? – Karen Soroko, Eden Prairie, MN, 952.451.8045