I think that there is a popular perception of yoga practitioners as, well, flakes. Granola eating, vegetarians, always talking about chakras and natural fibers and what’s for sale at Whole Foods. Basically a walking clichés right out of Dharma & Greg reruns.
To some extent it’s true, we are like that, but spend some time at a yoga center and see who is there. Tourists looking for a new experience drop in, and sometimes they can be flaky and have crazy expectations about yoga. People who stick to it, though, are definitely not flakes. They tend to be driven, “A” type personalities.
I used to say of runners that we are all running to something or away from something, and that it is usually the latter. The same can hold true for a yoga center. There seems to be something that holds people to long term practices. I look around a class sometimes and see people who are so driven to manage their lives that they look to yoga for some kind of grounding, but find themselves driven instead by the need to establish the perfect practice.
At the center where I go what they learn instead is that there is no perfect practice. Also, there is no spoon. Whoa.
And then there are the teachers. Today I finished my first weekend of a twelve month yoga teacher training program, and I can say with confidence that there are no yoga flakes. We may talk about an energetic connection between bodies, and about chakras and mudras, things that make the average persons eyes roll. I can tell you, though, that as I look around the class the one thing that I see us all struggling with is the idea that we have to slow down and maybe, just maybe, not be perfect. Yoga flakes indeed.