I feel overwhelmed by yoga. Overwhelmed by the very practice that I started in order to cope with the ever-increasing, often conflicting, demands of life.
For me, this is a new thing. You see, yoga used to be straightforward. The kind of thing where you’d simply roll out your mat – and do your practice. Maybe followed by some breathing, chanting, meditating.
Going to a studio meant experiencing one (or more) of the above.
But now it’s different. Yoga instructors give foot and neck massages. They rub essential oils into your skin during savasana. They create (curate?) music playlists. They bring in elements of other Eastern traditions (Qigong, Tai Chi, to name a few) or draw on exercise routines that you’d normally encounter at the gym (isn’t chaturanga a push-up, after all?).
Then, of course, there’s goat yoga. SUP yoga. Underwater yoga. Yoga on a helipad. Naked yoga. Yoga with your dog. Or your cat. Aerial yoga. Acro Yoga. Hip Hop yoga. TRX yoga. Rage yoga. Yoga sculpt. Snowga.
The pressure’s on. Teachers nowadays need to create an entertainment package to attract students (and make them come back!). I feel there’s a new generation of teachers, but also of Teacher Training Courses. TTCs cost a lot of money, and to generate interest many try to be innovative. Who would want to do a standard, boring 200hr Yoga Alliance TTC if other options are out there, providing degrees that make graduates stand out?
And stand out they must, in a market that is becoming more crowded by the minute. A Yoga Alliance study recently stated that for every current yoga teacher, there are two teachers in training (and nearly 1/3 has been practicing for two years or less).
Many see this as a golden career opportunity, but competition is fierce. And I do wonder – are there more students like myself who simply feel overwhelmed? When I did my TTC back in 2010, in India, practising on a dirt floor, it all seemed simple. Yoga was straightforward. Not easy, but straightforward. We read the Bhagavad Gita, chanted and did our sun salutations.
What’s currently going on simply feels overwhelming to me. Am I the only one?