My Yoga is the Right Yoga: and Other Outrageous Shit We Let Ourselves Believe 

Shashi Chaturvedula yoga pose

I care very little about the “right yoga” and the “wrong yoga.” I only care about Sane Yoga. And by Sane Yoga, I mean a yoga that nourishes you and sustains you deeply. A practice that affords you both Fire and Grace, Power and Pleasure, Clear vision and attention without immediately establishing its value based on your momentary preferences. 

Ed Podvoll reminds us in his seminal work, Brilliant Sanity, that we each have an “island of sanity” within us that is whole and completely clear seeing. No matter how extreme our mind and emotions circuit and wave, we have a space within that is deeper than right and wrong, purer than culturally defined notions of what’s deemed appropriate, and deeply cognizant of our soul’s needs and journey. 

When I say Sane Yoga, I mean practices that bring you to your island of sanity. Or, as my teacher would say, make you feel that “deep okayness.”

Sometimes the yoga that is “best” for us at a time in our lives, is not the yoga our minds tell us we prefer. Tastes change and need to grow through the life cycle. We are not fixed, but moving, dynamic, and hopefully curious creatures of the earth and cosmos. 

Therefore, we must go deeper. We must look below the surface market that is telling us and convincing us of what is right and wrong. The deepest intellect doesn’t speak in right and wrong. 

We have consolidated the power of the practice, the power of our knowing, the power of our critical thinking, and the power of the yoga marketplace to decide what we need into the limited few percent of the industry. 

Let’s stop doing that. 

You know. But you have to figure it out.

I care very little about the difference in styles. As if the differences between our approaches are an inherent problem. That seems pointless to me. Like two friends playing hide and seek around a huge oak, wanting to find each other, but never doing so because they are always on opposite sides of the same ring. 

I’m not convinced my yoga is better than your yoga because I am not in your body or your life or your circumstances or family constellation. I do not know where you come from or what makes you tick. I do not know what your body “needs”.

I can see with the lenses I’ve developed and honed. But they are my particular eyes. 

I can share what I know– both the theory and the personal experience of the theory. But the best judge of any theory is you. Theories aren’t facts. They need evidence to be facts. 

At the risk of telling you what to do and what you need, I’ll contradict myself and say, 

We need to put in the work to figure out what the facts are about ourselves. What works and doesn’t work for each of us right now? Consider the theory and find out for ourselves in our own bodies. What kind of practices and approaches actually make us feel better? Not just at the surface, but deep inside. 

And we need to do it without fear of judgment, being ostracized, or of failure. We cannot learn without making mistakes. And yoga is risky business within which to make mistakes. Because it is our bodies and our minds and our hearts at stake. It is our being at stake. But my friends, we are using our bodies as experiments every time we go out into the world. Every time we make love. Every time we set a boundary. Every time we have a baby. There is no being without this body. 

Let’s make the experiment conscious and conscientious.

This body is your testing ground. It is your land. Your sovereign space. It is your island of sanity on a decaying planet. 

The conversation is not about which yoga is right. 

The conversation is: What Practices Make Me Feel Sane?