Dropping Yoga Dogma

Dropping Yoga Dogma

There is no right way to meditate.

There is no proper way to be a yogini.

I’m here to tell you that ancient yoga teachings are far too dogmatic and outdated. The teachings of ancient sages and swamis were first introduced over 5,000 years ago…

When you were a kid did you ever play the game “Telephone “? You all sat in a circle and passed a phrase from person to person, giggling at how much the sentence had changed since it left the first person and ended with the last.

When teachings are passed down over time, they are often left muddled up and taken out of context.

First of all, that is a LONG game of “Telephone”; second, our generation has gone through so many collective consciousness shifts over this period of time, it would behoove anyone to believe that we are the same civilization as we were 5,000 years ago.

So why do we continue to strive for these teachings? Why do we believe that we are not “true” yogis unless we are meeting the same end goal as the great sages in the 30th century BC?

In school, we were taught that every novel, every piece of literature has many meanings. To dissect what a person was truly trying to translate when dictating their thoughts is like a game of Clue.

As a society, we stress the importance of progression, yet when it comes to religion, beliefs, or sacred teachings we refuse to let them evolve. Religion and ritual are very much centered in the ego-mind. When we cling to rules and the “right way” we are living in fear.

The ancient teachings dictate that “true” yogis practice diligent dogma. I say a ‘true” yogi is one who commits to the expansion of Self, extends kindness and compassion to all, and has the courage to keep showing up in life every day. Yoga is not a complex set up rules, it is really quite simple.

Yoga is not about practicing asana every day, nor does it mean you are constantly striving to achieve Samadhi, or abide by each Sutra.

Practicing yoga is about honoring the light that is in you and in everyone else. It is learning to breathe fully. Yoga is practicing body awareness. You can be a yogi without stepping one foot on the mat; you can be a yogi without knowing one lick of the Bhagavad Gita. You do not have to chant the Gayatri Mantra repetitively or know all the Slokas by heart.

I confess that this past year I have been off my mat more frequently than on, but I know this is just a season in my journey as a yogi. My yoga practice is about tuning into my body, mind and soul, aligning with my authentic Self, and growing every day.

It is this realization that yoga is so very simple that has led me even further into my practice, instead of feeling inadequate or not good enough.

Practice a style of yoga that is conducive to the everyday yogi. In this day and age we are not perfect, we drink, curse, fear etc. We don’t spend all day at a monastery renouncing the material world. If our society and surroundings differ vastly to that of the great sages of the past shouldn’t our view of what a yogi “should do” shift too?

I am a sometimes moody yogi, who eats bacon and drinks wine, and loves to go shopping, but I’m no less of a yogi because of it.

Everyone’s journey looks different, honor yours and don’t compare it to anyone else’s. Focus on what being a yogi means to you and drop the dogma.

Madison Rosenberger
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