Why is Yoga so Popular?

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No doubt about it, every where you go, there is someone who practices, or has attained their Teacher Training for yoga (even if not using it).  Yoga seems to have become one of the world’s major commodities, yoga clothes, equipment, sessions, classes, training courses, retreats, workshops, holidays, studios, you name it!..  It’s easier in some places to do your TT than to study anything else which has such a powerful return..  I’m not saying I agree with the way all teachers come through, especially considering (when applied as intended, rather than as a fitness regime simply taking the name of Yoga..) the emotional, physical, energetic and psychological transformations that go on in class and session.  But, what is going on?..

For me, and many others, the journey into yoga has been profound, to say the least.  Through practicing yoga (considering of course the broad perspective of meditation, asana, pranayama and ways of discipline) I have not only saved myself from another potentially brutal surgery, addictions and an eating disorder but I’m continuing to unfold the rich tapestry that is life, and why it would seem, to me, we’re here having this set of experiences in the first place..

Previous to teaching yoga, my training was all in workings of the body, mind, computers and maths; science explored with hard evidence.  I would pick up the odd self-help book to help me to make a little more sense of the muddle of life (although a well paid job and lovely friends and home) which would just seemingly happen around me.  Through my ‘formal’ education, there was little to NO ‘soft skills’ , ‘life skills’ and not enough support with those huge questions such as, what is the meaning of life?  Or, how can bad things happen to innocent children?  What is the point of me being here?!  And, how do I process these feelings?..

Along comes yoga.  It was and still is tough, it got to my ego how weak I had become through sickness and lifestyle.  I was hooked on getting stronger.  But the more I took the time to listen to my teachers about the breath work, the meditation and intentions during physical practices, the more my curiosity and excitement grew for the broader subject of yoga.  Asking questions to my teachers, taking time out in India, reading more and more about the origins of yoga, and how others have interpreted that, I became aware of and interested in that part of myself which connected me to something bigger..  Coming from Catholic schooling if I ever heard the word God before, then I would turn my nose up and laugh..

The more I unfolded within myself, the more I noticed the needing to witness what’s going on around me, rather than getting caught up in it so much.  I see now, how much we are all connected, even though our personalities might be the furthest thing apart.  The more this connection strengthens between myself and all that is, the more I want to share this with others.  As surely, when all living beings recognise their own greatness – then the power struggle, greed and fear can stop, and I feel, ‘bad’ things will stop happening to innocent men, women and children through more willingness to share and love..

How many other ‘main stream’ jobs, classes, activities or lines of inquiry offer this?  How many other jobs push you to explore the deepest darkest parts of your psyche?  What else is there to help you unfold in a friendly, fun and loving atmosphere?  Unless you go into other therapies such as body work or psychology of sorts then there is no onus to develop ones self beyond the text book; even then, I’m not sure of how many disciplines of the mind have you exploring the soul and the body at the same time..  AND, yoga has become so accessible to study..

It doesn’t surprise me how so many people are hooked on yoga.  I’d say if you have discovered you like it, doing the teacher training is a great way you can do to form a better relationship with yourself, even if you don’t want to teach (or, even easier, a regular yoga and mediation practice with a dedicated teacher where there is space for you to ask questions and interact).  Hearing some reports, it may not sound like all training courses support students the same..  The main reason I advocate yoga so strongly is because I’m not sure how many other disciplines incorporate such depth of self-discovery?  Or, offer support through a change of perspective and the openness to challenge old beliefs..?  Martial arts are also a beautiful discipline but again, can be questionable as to it’s path also into spiritual growth..

Choose your guru or teachers wisely, find ones which speak to your heart in a very pure sense..  There is no greater feeling than that of self-liberation, self-empowerment and realising you are a part of something greater, together..

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