The end of yoga

Published on December 19, 2014 by      Print
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By Davin Sauer

I’ve read a lot of articles in various yoga/spiritual magazines that end with phrases like, “suddenly I realized” or, “and then I just knew.” If you are meeting me here, you’ve probably read them too, with their tied-up realizations—all in 500 words.

I get that it’s probably necessary. Any grade school writing teacher will tell you there has to be a beginning, middle….and end. I’ve been trying to rectify writing this end with what is actually true, because for me the typical endings, the wrapped-up superlative statements where I figure something out, feel like a lie.

The beginning is usually cake.

Look up, there it is. So here’s some of the middle, and the reasons why “The End” has become problematic. I’m a yoga teacher who loses her shit weekly—a seemingly sweet Pisces with an angry, aggressive Aries moon. By my estimation it’s one of the worst astrological combos out there.  In my younger days I was thrown out of bars for fights fueled by jealousy; these days I continue to blow up boyfriends’ phones and throw things. I’m excellent with swear words, insults, and vulgarity. If I wasn’t so mean, I’d feel proud of my insulting genius. However my nastiness does make me cringe, and I still aspire to become a bit more chill.

So, I teach these college kids yoga, and my penchant for finding anything but peace makes me question if I’m in any position to be molding young minds.  In my class, I’ve eliminated chanting, gurus, and ohms. Oh, there’s the occasional mentioning of those things, but sometimes I can’t do it with a straight face, and sometimes I just want class to end so I can get my drink on (probably with some boyfriend I’ll later throw things at). I feel like a fraud when a very serious student with mala beads up to their elbow and a light, spiritual voice approaches me with a question or tale about their meditation experience. Because the truth is I am usually bored by this, don’t care, or simply don’t believe you.

The more practical students will come to me with inquiries about their particular malady or injury asking for a cure.

I am honest about what I don’t know, but what I really want to say is, I don’t F-ing know. I’m not your doctor/chiropractor/PT/personal healer. I know the poses and something about what they do. I can tell you how to safely get in and out of them. I can show you how to modify them to fit your needs. I know a little Sanskrit, and a little more about the history/philosophy of yoga. I’ve read a lot of books about meditation. I do more meditating than asana practice. Am I really required to give you anything more than this?

Although I sound like the Grinch who stole yoga, I do believe in this BS. And of course there is always the hope. I hope to find some peace. I hope to stay in touch with my softer side long enough to stifle the f-word confetti spilling out of my mouth, aimed at your self-worth. I aspire to be quiet. Or maybe to just not break your shit.

So, unfortunately I think this brings me to the end. Ah, the end. That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. No realization—or maybe the realization that there rarely is one. I mean isn’t this really how it is? Trust me, I think it is.

Davin Sauer

About Davin Sauer

Davin Sauer is a Pisces, yoga teacher, and physical therapy assistant who is always looking for a way out of the rat race. She has had about a million jobs and even more boyfriends. As hippy-dippy as she sounds, she can still conform like the best of em’, carrying her Coach purse (her mom bought it) and shopping at American Eagle. Davin thinks the Buddhists got it right, and if she could be more consistent with her meditation practice, she might find some answers. Currently, she has no answers, and has begun to write out of sheer boredom and loneliness.


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  1. Erifily says:

    Maybe its the pisces in me, but i definately can relate to this text…

    The swearing, the short fuse (thought my moon is in cancer) the lack of answers…

    But most of all that single phrase I keep repeating when I get asked “what do you think I should do about this pain?” “See a doctor!”.

    • Davin says:

      Haha. Glad someone can relate. I’m always down to meet a fellow pisces…I don’t know many;)

    • Kate Gerry says:

      Thanks Davin, for helping to keep it real. I often experience similar feelings and at the same time I really dig my yoga practice. :)

  2. Tim says:

    And this is why I love Recovering Yogi…

  3. Louis says:

    Why does there have to be an end or a middle or for that matter a beginning? You are what you are right now. That is the only thing that’s real. All the other stuff are ideals, myths. When you meditate, do you contemplate what should be or do you just sit with what is?

    • Davin says:

      Agreed Louis. That’s probably why I have so much trouble writing about this kind of topic. Just like life – meditation, yoga – they are ever evolving. It’s living, breathing stuff and I don’t think one can ever really sum up, or hold onto it. These things, even these articles, are just road markers, asking us to pay attention to what is in front of our face:) Thanks for your feedback.

  4. Nicole Mark says:

    Nice piece. I think every teacher that’s being honest with herself can relate. I have a teacher–a bona fide, for real, amazing fucking yoga teacher–who often says, “This is it.”

  5. Charlotte says:

    hi Davin, I love your honesty! I call this ‘owning your Shadow”. I have been in the yoga ‘world” for 22 years…i have taught in New York City , in Canada and I used to own a small yoga studio which I promptly closed after being lied to an manipulated by another neighbouring yoga studio owner. I relate to almost everything you wrote. Frankly I have been bullied by the yoga community on my small Canadian city and, now I view it like something out of Saturday Night live! The teachers here take, at most, a month long training and some are so arrogant that they act as if they are Realized and some even walk around town in a “robe” or barefoot like “Jesus”.
    You have got to be kidding me! Our newest Hot Yoga Studio has some good teachers but the latest teacher they hired literally said to me ” I took a WEEK WORKSHOP with a famous yoga teacher and now I am teaching at Moksha, with great pride. While she is a very nice person, she has no idea what she is doing, the sequence is off and she is not ready to be teaching after a week! WHAT? IF this were any other profession this would be unacceptable, but this person is a “studio groupie” and cleans the studio so of course she is “ready”.
    I have studied with this Master Teacher for years and have studied with all of the “great” teachers in New York City and the local studios here will not hire anyone with experience or intelligence because it will make the owners look “less than” . In NYC it is about excellence – at least on the physical plane. The studios here back stab, lie, steal, cheat and manipulate each other all to chase the almighty dollar. Some have cult-like followings and none of the students get it! There is a city wide “charity” event whereby all of the studios vie to be the “Opener” and they state that the mission is to raise money for cancer and a new diagnostic technology. The charity organizer has black listed me because I asked if we could possibly find a way to allow the disenfranchised women in our city come to the yoga event free of charge and also to afford the screening technology! GASP – how dare I ask for something reasonable and honest??? After 5 years of this incessant craziness I just gave up and I practice at home and teach at a gym. I do not add anything “spiritual” into my classes as it seems dishonest.
    The students mindlessly follow these teachers around like lemmings and do not observe any of the discordant and incongruent behaviour. I do believe that this is not transmitting anything of value other than how to party, look great in a back bend, and the latest lulus. These teachers read from the Bhagava Gita and other scriptures to punctuate “their” teachings. It all “sounds” so good.
    Davin you have questioned whether or not you should be teaching college kids but you are 100% more honest than half of the yoga teachers out there. If you share your reality they will learn that life is filled with contradiction and shadow. They will learn that continuing to practice and to attempt meditation is really the best we can do. You honest awareness that you are angry, sometimes disgruntled and confused IS the practice of yoga. We come to the mat to work on our shadow and to observe the many fluctuations of mind.
    Much better than being in an airbrushed hallmark card.
    I have asked these questions over and over. How can we evolve if our teachers are not honest? How can we evolve if we do not see the obvious? At the end of the day… I think you are doing the yoga world a favour – keep going and just share from your heart.

    The other thing that you mentioned is answering the endless questions: “I hurt my back, thumb, ankle…I have migraines.” The answer is: I do not know.
    The deeper truth is that these students are looking for a mother/father/healer and they are projecting all over their teacher as an an omnipotent demigod. The expectations are wildly unrealistic and often the arrogant yoga teachers take them on like psychotherapy patients without a license.

    I have been hoping for a site like this and hope that someone will respond. Yoga is still an amazing practice but I have to admit to being absolutely stunned at how nonsensical some of the teachers/owners behave.

    Any thoughts?

    • Davin says:

      Wow, Charlotte. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. And, of course, I can relate. I’m sorry to hear about some of your bad yoga experiences….honestly, I’m not much of a yoga joiner. Aside from being a bit of an introvert, I just don’t feel the need to be so enveloped in the yoga community. Community is great and important for sure, but I just kinda do what feels okay. Gotta have a balance – just like an asana practice itself I guess. Seriously – everybody needs to stop taking yoga so seriously!!! And I suppose that is what’s great about a site like this. It feels safe to be honest. And the safer people feel to do so, the better our world, our yoga can be:)

      I the first week of my first yoga teacher training (where I would cry myself to sleep at night and long for a coffee) trying to dry up my tent that had been drenched from a rainstorm, this one student (a wise, pretty experienced one) said something to me. I think she was trying to comfort me, and I’ll never forget her words. She said: “Yoga is for your life. It should not be your life” I don’t know. I just got it. We need to remember it’s a tool. Different tools work for different people. Take what you like, what works, and use it. Other than that? It shouldn’t be such a big freakin deal;)

      Anyhow, Happy New Year to you Charlotte. Hope you find peace – like the rest of us. And thanks again for your feedback!

  6. Davin says:

    p.s. Charlotte, you sound like an experienced teacher that has done some cool things…so I say, just do what you want, be honest, be safe and f*** the rest of ‘em!:)

  7. Lynn Louise Wonders says:

    Like you Davin, I know the regular practice of asana and meditation works on many levels. I will forever use yoga in my work in helping people – but not in the way our Western society paints it. I’m determined to educate people (well at least my clients and students) on the real meaning of the full practice of yoga because when we get right down to it it’s about working with our humanness with a balance of “let’s get real”, healthy discipline and personal accountability. It’s not about pretzel poses and lululemon outfits and fancy jargon. It’s a path and a practice that so few people who wear the label of “yogi” actually practice. For what it’s worth, this middle-aged counselor, life resdesign coach and yoga/meditation teacher applauds you for owning your real-ness. Thank you for not acting high and mighty. Thanks for being human on behalf of the rest of we humble humans who still love yoga but don’t want any part of the enlightened b.s. of the Western yoga movement.

    • Davin says:

      Thanks for your words Lynn:) And it does mean a lot. Nothing beats connecting with some like-minded individuals.

  8. Claudine says:

    Thanks for “keeping it real”
    I got into teaching by accident. Yes I did a teacher training course after practising yoga for nearly 7 years, but only because I wanted to know more about it.
    I felt like I shouldn’t have been there because everyone seemed so much more passionate about it, but did they practice what they preached?
    Did they hell. Pretentious, competitive, would throw you under the bus if they had to. Some of the teachers were no better, I expected to be surrounded by loving people, probably because people who taught me in the past were loving but we’re happy to tell you they have the occasional melt down and don’t behave like they can walk on water.
    I myself tell my students that I’m not God, a doctor, a guru etc….I’m a simple being that can show you what I’ve learnt over the years and I might be able to help you forget your problems for an hour or so because as well as teach I’ll try to bring a little humour to the mat.
    Not everything has to be so damn serious to feel good.
    I like your style and I bet whoever you teach likes your “realness”
    Not everyone wants to be preached to, chanted at and told how we should feel like a butterfly is on our shoulder, or some other nonsense, some of us just want to come to a class and know that our teacher is human.

  9. Barbara Ritthaler says:

    Hey Davin,
    That Aries moon is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you make it work for you and I think it’s just a matter of time. I am a Capricorn with an Aries moon and I also tend to be a little fiery, although I mellowed with age. It’s a matter of harnessing the fury and becoming assertive instead of aggressive. Yoga taught you how to elongate your muscles, you can learn how to stretch your patience as well. Do not give up!

    • Davin says:

      Agreed Barbara. Although the patience thing is definitely a work in progress – just like everything else I suppose. Thanks for the words!:)

  10. Kell says:

    OH My GOD! you are ME!!!! Aries/Pisces cusp, I taught yoga… I stopped, because I just didn’t care about the people I was teaching! I’ve always wanted to say I DON’T KNOW to someone asking me about an injury! In the end, for mine own sanity I quit teaching, also because it was making me lose what I loved about yoga in the first place….. I am only slowly starting to home practice again (where I began) this month. I may attend a class somewhere down the track, but for right now I am a practitioner of my own way. I can’t be around other people who practice, because quite frankly..they annoy the shit out of me.

  11. Rubin says:

    WOW! I think I’m in love with you!

  12. fifa4joy says:

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