24 June 2009

Taking yoga too seriously

As I mentioned the other day, I read an article in The Sunday Times regarding yoga. The article, titled Celebrity devotees, designer yoga mats and jumped-up teachers — where will it all end? by Nirpal Dhaliwal, is – to say the least – scornful of the holier-than-thou attitude held by many yoga instructors and students alike; celebrity “devotees” and the use of yoga as a means of showing that one is well off or trying to keep up with the Jones's.

Personally, I try to avoid falling into these stereotypes, although I may be guilty of letting slip the occasional “namaste” or two. Yoga has certainly been of great benefit to me since I started practising it way back in 1994, but I think that, if care is not taken, there is definitely a danger of taking oneself too seriously. This, in turn, can lead to self-righteous and pretentious behaviour, which is just not what yoga is all about.

I will leave you with Nirpal Dhaliwal's 10 yoga no-nos. I could not help but laugh when I read them:

  • Most of them are about cows — and how many cows do you have?
  • Thou shalt not bow and say “namaste”. Even my mum doesn’t do that, you show-off twits.
  • Thou shalt not wear attire more appropriate for Make Me a Porn Star than Ashtanga for Dummies.
  • Thou shalt not wear vacant smiles as proof of your inner bliss when everyone can see you’re a miserable git outside of class.
  • Thou shalt not fawn over the teacher as though he or she were the second
    incarnation of Christ.
  • Treat them like the overegged aerobics instructors that they really are.
  • Thou shalt not loudly complain in class about your aches and pains as a form of bragging.
  • Thou shalt not thrust thy buttocks to impress the guy next to you.
  • Thou shalt not turn up earlier than everyone else just to admire thyself in the mirror.
  • Thou shalt not have Om tattoos. When was the last time you saw an Indian with a tattoo of Jesus?
  • Thou shalt not call yourself “yogis”. So what if you can do a headstand?

Nirpal Dhaliwal's 10 yoga no-nos. Celebrity devotees, designer yoga mats and jumped-up teachers — where will it all end? Sunday Times, May 31, 2009


  1. LOL. I love this. I was just thinking about some yoga peeps in my corner of the world that need to read this.

  2. Still makes me smile when I read it...do practice 2nd one tho. x


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