Can you really be a recovering yogi?
By Allison Haugh
As I perused the pages of the Recovering Yogi website for the first time, my main thought was: can you really be a recovering yogi? This was my next thought: I am a so-called yoga teacher (not recovered) still enjoying the journey… is that going to change?
I have realistic expectations. One thing I’m sure of: whatever I will get out my yoga journey will depend on me and only me. Sure, the yoga world is filled with corruption and ego-driven maniacs out to make a buck, disguising their lust for money and fame as a spiritual quest. But do you know of an occupation or interest that isn’t like this in some way? Is there a human being alive who doesn’t have an ego?
Just have a look at our so-called community and it’s everywhere. An insidious human problem, this ego stuff. No religious or spiritual leader has all the answers or solutions. If they did, we’d all be living in harmony and hugging one another with permanent smiles of bliss on our faces.
But you wouldn’t have to be a “recovering yogi” if you weren’t trying to solve your problems by looking out there, trying to find some “guru” or idea to follow that just might solve your problems. There is absolutely no one out there that’s going to solve your problems, my problems, or the world’s problems. No psychotherapist can do it; no priest, minister, rabbi, psychiatrist or, God forbid, yoga teacher can do it.
All those people can make you feel better for a while, but then what? You see, the problem is they’re human beings too, equally as flawed as you and me. Everybody has their own ideas about what is true, and we are so immersed in these ideas that we argue and even go to war over them. We believe them, because someone told us to or it sounded good at the time or it was the way we were raised or our culture expects this of us. But life is all about you and what you want to take from your experiences — not mine or someone else’s. I’m no spiritual guide. I sometimes know what works for me, but when I don’t, I come crashing back to reality.
One common yoga word — viveka — means “discernment.” The definition urges us to be discerning by finding out our own answers.
All of these thoughts fly through my head while I read Recovering Yogi, and meanwhile I spend my fourth year in a row contemplating the Anusara yoga teacher-training question and whether I should go down that path or not. A quote from the Anusara.com website: “In this philosophy we take the premise that everything in this world is an embodiment of Supreme Consciousness, which at its essence pulsates with goodness and the highest bliss.”
I think about Recovering Yogi and what it stands for. Can I really buy into the idea that everything is blissful and just hidden from our view? Because sometimes I am out there thinking: Really? Can this be true? Isn’t that just another idea to latch onto, how can we really know this?
This much I know: trying to live life according to any one philosophy or belief is going to cause anyone a lot of angst. The result is: you lose yourself in it. Who are you at the end of the day?
I tremble at the thought of the flowery words that I hear frequently at Anusara workshops. “Blossom your buttocks up to the sky.” Wow, how do you even try to do that without falling over laughing? Will I have to start talking like that if I become an Anusara yoga teacher? (My own Anusara teacher doesn’t, for the record.)
You can’t bash one religion, one occupation, one way of life, or one path. Absolutely everything has good and bad in it.
An even deeper yoga question is: Does good and bad even exist?
Maybe it’s just life, changing every minute. Who knows, maybe tomorrow I will finally sign up for the Anusara Yoga teacher training course and happily flower my buttocks up to the sky… or maybe I’ll be a recovering yogi. Whatever that means.
About Allison Haugh
Allison Haugh is a former jewelry designer/maker, artist, and design teacher who is currently living in Northern Indiana with her husband, son and three rescued dogs: a blonde, a brunette and a red-head. The dogs, that is. For the last five years she has been a yoga teacher and mom to her 11-year-old son. She was born in Scotland, attended the Edinburgh College of Art, and has lived in the United States for 19 years. Visit Allison’s web site.