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