So, the Yoga Journal has a "talent search" which consists of sending your picture in a yoga pose and writing a paragraph about your self. Over 2000 people respond. Most of them with less then 5 years of yoga practice experience. A lot of them in postures they can't fit into but trying anyhow. People have to vote by clicking on 1 - 5 stars to show their vote. No telling of how many folks have voted for each person just by looking at each one, but we will be told who wins by the Yoga Journal staff at the end of the round.
This starts me thinking along these lines....
Folks flock to see the celebrity yoga teachers out there and the Yoga Journal apparently manufactures them - the prettiest face on a picture will get to be featured and as soon as that happens, this pretty face is now also a celebrity folks will flock to. No wonder i don't go to YJ conferences anymore. I am not into pretty faces who don't know much about yoga, teaching me what i can learn on my own from books and teachers who have earned the title.
You know how when you want to sell or rent your house, you have to make it "vanilla" so that essentially has no character. The idea is that since you don't know what a buyer may want, you don't want to turn someone away just because they don't like your color pallet. Well, yoga journal models are "vanilla." White background, color coordinated, perfectly representing the woman/man ratio of 70/30 and the white/ethnic ratio (which means mostly white, middle aged females) clean cut, smiling faces, no wrinkles and nice toe nails...
Last time i checked, all the yoga sages were on the scruffy side. Mad hair. Dark skin. Old (most of them). Skinny. Basically on the wild side of life and on the fringes of society. Probably stinky too, but since i never met one that i can remember, won't say anything about that. Those are the folks that left us the greatest teachings, the wisest of scriptures and coolest of practices. All we are going to leave is a hole in the Amazon forest where the trees to print the Yoga Journal's glossy advertising for things we do not need, came from.
Not that we should all aspire to cruffiness or stinkiness, but i find it hard to believe that there are no accomplished yoga figures out there that have more character than the Easter bunny. I mean, yoga is about building, or more accurately, unleashing your character in it's full potential. There's nothing "vanilla" about yoga and there can't be any because this practice gets deep down inside where the shadows lurk and churns your world upside down, if you let it (and you should). Is Ramana Maharshi vanilla? Is Gandhi vanilla? Is Yogananada vanilla? Is Krishnamurti vanilla? How about Aurobindo?
I think i sound like a broken record, but folks have to earn their teaching credentials, not just take a teacher training, or look good on a picture. I look good on a picture too but until you hear my voice, you have to idea who i am or if i am your cup of tea at all. Gymnasts look great on pictures in yoga posture, mainly because their bodies have been beaten into submission from an early age and not without the price of injuries, but they do look awesome in yoga postures. That's not the same as having a clue about yoga.
So, if you also got the "vote for your favorite" from the Yoga Journal, think about what you are really voting for. Next, think about what yoga is for you. Then think of who your teacher is/are. If you are after working out - the gym is very effective and less costly, not that there's anything wrong with working out, because you do that too while practicing yoga. If there's more to your practice than a work out, make sure your teacher is more then a pretty face, entertaining figure or sweat talking son of a preacher-man.
Just a suggestion....
Call me if you want to know how things really are :))