Cat Yoga, Goat Yoga, Nude Yoga, Beer Yoga. The list is endless. It seems that as yoga evolves it only appears to be moving further from the 'truth' of what it really is.
Or is it?
If we look through a different lens could it be that chicken yoga is all part of the evolutionary process of yoga?
If we shift the focus away from yoga for a second and consider the evolution of food. To keep it simple let's focus on the last 100 years, our Mum's Mum's generation. Think homemade everything. Preserving, pickling, home grown veggies, local grocers and local farms. Then came the big boom of convenience stores, ready meals, huge supermarkets and mass farming. Thankfully we are back en-route to the old days where we are committed to shopping locally, supporting local farmers, growing our own and of course, fermentation. Would it be fair to say that without the expansion and growth of the industry we wouldn't be on our way back to 'support local'?
We are humans. It's in our make-up to want to go bigger and further. We have an innate desire to push the boundaries of where we think we can go. If we didn't, we would be extinct.
It feels Yoga has kind of done the same. From the original context of yoga : 'spiritual development practices to train the body and mind to self observe and become aware of their own nature' to hanging out in a room, naked stretching with a herd of goats it seems we have completely disconnected from the source.
But have we?
Just like the big supermarket food analogy, like every part of the evolutionary process we have to expand out to contract back. We bring back with us the lessons we learnt by expanding and implement them to improve and refine what we already know. This is how we grow, change and evolve.
I really believe the future of yoga will see a return to the more traditional styles, methods and practices (and hell yeah if it does). But hopefully we will return to tradition with the knowledge and understanding that to make these practices accessible to everyone we need to bridge a gap. Think traditional with a modern day application. Or at the very least learning how to adapt the more traditional practices into our busy, Western lifestyles.
Right and wrong yoga is not a thing. And just like we don't tell people what to eat nor should we really be telling people what to practice. We educate on the benefits and leave it to the student to choose.
Yoga is like food, there are more nourishing and life giving choices you can make but amongst the seriousness of it all, goat yoga has it's place, just like pizza. It's fun. Good to do once or twice but probably not something you would choose to do daily.
The style of yoga you practice or teach does not define who you are. What is worth some consideration is the intent with which you are doing it.