The other day I was browsing YouTube, when I came across a clip of a yogi that I believe is pretty well known. I had never heard of her before, but with over 37,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel and over 118,000 followers on Instagram, she must be kind of a big deal.
In the clip, she is answering a fan question about why there are so many fat yogis. That question always bugs me, because it implies that something is wrong with certain body shapes. It implies that all exercise- and yoga enthusiasts should be lean, trim and toned, and it just ain't so.
But what really got to me was how judgemental said yogi ended up being in answering the question.
She mentioned that she is vegetarian and chooses a dairy-free diet. That's totally fine, to each their own.
But then she moved on to bashing another world-renowned yoga teacher for still having dairy in her diet.
It's so wrong, I have to address this issue here.
First and foremost, criticizing another person publicly for their own choices that don't hurt anyone is mean-spirited and unnecessary. Why not live and let live?
Secondly, I really dislike when people put themselves up on a pedestal, being convinced that what they are doing is the only right way to live one's life. If you aren't like them, you are automatically wrong. Whatever happened to compassion and acceptance?
Thirdly, as far as I understand, living a yogi lifestyle is all about peace and harmony. It's not about pointing fingers at someone and telling them they are doing life wrong.
There isn't only one way to live life. There also isn't only one way to practice yoga, and calling yourself a yogi.
In my opinion, you can love the practice, try to be as kind and compassionate as possible, and still like meat and ice cream.
I believe that practicing yoga doesn't prevent you from going out partying if you want to, eating junk food once in a while, and enjoying a glass of wine or a Moscow Mule.
You can be a yogi and still like make-up, clothes, and getting your nails done.
Or not, if it's just not your thing.
You can choose to give all your worldly belongings away and live in a tent in the desert, if that floats your boat.
Or you can live in a 5-million dollar mansion with your own personal guru living in the pool house, if that's more your style.
What I'm saying is, I sincerely hope that there isn't a "right" and a "wrong" way to be a yogi.
I'm still new to the practice, and I love it for all it has given me so far:
Falling in love with my body, for the first time in my life.
Giving me a peace of mind I didn't have before.
Giving me back muscles I never had before.
Increasing my flexibility, balance and strength.
Teaching me that we are so much stronger than we think.
I know that nobody is perfect, and everybody is entitled to their opinion.
But please, please don't use your popularity to make others feel bad.
Please don't judge people's worth by their body shape, and the dedication to a fit lifestyle by their weight.
I believe that we are all made differently, and that some of us can be skinny with an unhealthy diet, and others can be bigger with a healthy one. What's wrong with that?
If you love the practice and also love ice cream, that's okay.
If you are strong, and at peace, and happy, and you want to go for a pint after your yoga class, that's okay.
If you love vegetables, and salads, and only drink green tea and water, that's okay.
I feel that being accepting of others should be one of the most important lessons for all of us. Not just for yogis, but for us as human beings.
*climbs off her soapbox*
Love, peace and happiness,