Are You a ‘Yoga Hypocrite’?

3 min read

This is a confessional, but it’s also a plea to practice Yoga with compassion, not judgment, and flexibility, not rigidity.

Let me explain.

I don’t feel that I am living up to what I preach.

I yell. I drink (too much) wine. I’m impatient. I yell at the children too much. While I don’t feel bad about being a vegetarian (even though I don’t eat much meat), I feel judged. I am too hard on myself.

I am so flippin’ exhausted a lot of times because I cram too much crap into my life. I don’t meditate as often as I should, and I don’t practice Yoga nearly as much as I ‘should.’

I am a yoga instructor who doesn’t currently feel very zen or yogic. I’m a fraud, a hypocrite. Did I say I judged myself too harshly?!

You may recognize yourself as a yogi who tries to be “perfect” but cannot extend compassion towards herself, which is the basis of being compassionate toward others. Yoga teachers who speak the Sanskrit language but don’t always do the downward dog.

Yoga hypocrisy: Key tips to counter it

When I feel like a hypocrite about Yoga, I remind myself of some things you may also find useful:

Yoga practice is not the same as yoga perfection.

The goal of life is to live, not to be perfect. Perfectionism is the path to hell. Give up trying to be perfect.

There are many paths to Yoga.

All of us follow the eight limbs in different ways and at different levels. Yoga brings us together (in mind, body, and spirit), but it does not mean we have to all be the same.

We don’t all have to be the same (there isn’t a yogic “ideal”). What a relief.

Respecting each other’s decisions is important.

I’m on a quest to learn more about Ayurveda, the sister science of Yoga. I also respect vegetarianism. I’ve increased my vegetarian diet over the years and choose organic and ethically-raised animal products.

Although I understand that this isn’t the choice of most yogis, I still try to feel comfortable with my choice.

Peace is not always possible in the modern world.

Most of us are in need of Yoga. Being a busy mother of two children in school has made me even more dynamic. I have to fit my yoga classes around my job and parenting.

One wise (coffee cup) saying reminds us that peace isn’t the absence of stress or busyness but the stillness in the middle of it. Sometimes, a glass of wine can really help.

Always show gratitude.

I try to be thankful for the time I have to meditate and do Yoga. Even though teaching makes me more busy, I am grateful to have the opportunity. When I am stressed, I’m thankful for the peace and patience I can find.

Our strengths and weaknesses are both important to us.

Richard Bach said, “We teach what we need to learn most.” My flaws and my journey to become better will help me best teach my students Yoga and my children. I can also give the best advice to my friends and family.

It’s not hypocritical to not have all the answers or to not live up to some ideal. I’m simply human.

Compassion always finds a solution.

Compassion is the most important yoga practice, in my opinion. Compassion is the most powerful form of love. We can eliminate the word hypocrite if we focus on compassion for ourselves and others.

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