Self admittedly, when I came onto the yoga scene first as a practitioner and then a teacher, I wanted to look and feel the part. Often times, a large chunk of my paycheck went to pay for things such as designer yoga gear and mala beads. Tattoo ideas such as the OM symbol, prayer hands or something in Sanskrit passed through my mind. The idea of attending Burning Man could be fun.
It was as if there was a checklist of things I had to mark off, one by one.
And then there was a shift. I had the confidence in who I was and what I stood for.
The cost of clothing, class passes, workshops, retreats, magazines, singing bowls, mala beads, tattoos, all in the name of yoga, is a multi-billion dollar business. There is no doubt I have helped to contribute to that number.
Last week I went into one of my favorite shops in town. It happens to be full of handpicked items the owner brings back from Nepal. He always takes the time to give me some sort of lesson while I am there and I am eager to learn what he has to share. On this day, he explained the symbolism of the Green Tara's posture and mudra (hand position) and what she stood for. And then he talked about the significance of 108, the mala beads, by drawing out diagrams. Having someone take the time to teach me a bit of history behind a 5,000 year old practice is impactful.
For me, the brand name of a clothing line is no longer important. I am just as comfortable wearing sweat pants and a tee-shirt while teaching. Beads I wear around my wrist or hanging from my neck are there to help remind me that meditation can be done anywhere, anytime. Singing bowls offer a beginning and an end to my practice. As for that tattoo.....it is something that has personal significance to me, which is all that matters.
Everyone is going to have their own path, their own way of living. Find what is important and meaningful to you.