The New York Times published an article over the weekend, titled “Yoga Rebel“, highlighting Tara Stiles – the NYC model turned yogi, known for her book, “Slim, Calm, Sexy,” promising to get you a slim yoga body in just 15 minutes a day and her online instructional videos with titles like “Yoga for a Hangover” and “Couch Yoga.” The article reveals Tara’s celebration of the physical aspect of the practice – because you’ll never hear her chant, talk about intentions or chakras or read ancient Hindu texts. And consequently, it also describes the criticism Tara faces in the yoga community. Because as you might suspect, many yogis are getting their downward dogs in a twist over what they feel is a lack of respect for the practice.
Well…can’t we all just get along? Along my way, I’ve heard many definitions of yoga. Some will tell you it is a spiritual journey, some will say it is a path to transformation, or they’ll say it is meditation, or stress relief, or a way to pursue balance. But to others, it is purely exercise, a way to sweat, get the heart rate up, burn calories, stretch it out. But should this really matter? It’s still yoga, and whether we practice for spirituality, stress-relief or for a more beautiful body, it makes us all happier. And the benefits of happiness and better balanced people spread far and wide every day.
And for those on a more spiritual path, doesn’t yoga teach us to quiet our ego and to let go of judgement? So, isn’t it time we make peace and see the light within the yoga rebel?