Way back in my infertility/adoption waiting days I attempted to get into yoga. There was a great studio near my house where all the teachers embraced the spiritual as well as the physical practice, and while it made me uncomfortable (all that spiritual stuff), I somehow knew it was something I needed. So, I went there regularly, sometimes mixing it up with Core Power which was, to me, purely about the physical aspects, almost like going to a gym.
It lasted a couple years, Baby X came along and I started learning about cultural appropriation. I balked, stopped going to yoga and did other things instead.
Over the past several months, I’ve gotten back into the practice, and not just the physical practice. As I continue on my spiritual awakening, broadening my horizons, being open to new ideas, I’ve come to realize that there is a difference between straight up cultural appropriation and approaching the practice with respect. I’ve found two yoga teachers who approach the practice with respect and lean into teaching those of us in our class about the spiritual side, setting intentions, learning to love ourselves so we can love and serve others.
I know we are skipping over the religion aspect in that yoga is directly related to Hinduism, and I don’t know how to reconcile that. I don’t like religion. I don’t believe there’s a God. I have finally come around to the idea that I’m firmly atheist. Atheist with a broadening belief that the Universe itself is comprised of energy (it is…scientifically speaking) that connects and draws us together.
So, if I don’t practice or believe in the religion which originated yoga, do I have any right to be one of the millions of middle-aged white women practicing it?
I think so? I think it’s ok for me to embrace the spiritual side of yoga and meditation, learning about myself in order to be able to show up in the world and be a positive influence and a leader. I’m not sure I’ll ever not cringe at walking into a space and seeing representations of religions not practiced there. I’m even a little cringe-y at the statues in yoga studios because yoga is more of a spiritual not religious practice and the statues generally belong in temples where the religion is practiced.
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p.s. I signed up for psi seminar in February. Holy crap. 😬