by Sammy Garrett, Zuna Yoga 200 hour yoga teacher training graduate
What do you do when someone questions your beliefs about your yoga? How do you deal with such criticism? How do you own your practice?
Own Your Practice
I recently attended a week-long training in Australia, where an experienced yoga teacher criticized my practice, coming at me like a lightning bolt with her steadfast opinions. Not only was she strongly verbal, she was also very brash and rough with adjustments, so much so that I was concerned about injury. She bullied students to the point that they cried. She kicked blocks out from underneath people and shouted at them. It was uncomfortable, it was overbearing, and it was downright rude.
You may imagine all yogis to be visions of health and kindness. But the truth is that the yoga community also has plenty of individuals who can be difficult to deal with. We have all come up against those who push our buttons in all the wrong ways. People tend to think their practice is better than yours or that their path is the way and yours is not. With all the noise, it is incredibly challenging to own your practice.
So, how do we handle it?
Be true to yourself.
Listen to your inner being and honor that voice of ‘knowing’ that lies inside of you. We all have it, and now is the time to own it! This is so incredibly important, now more so than ever. As we encounter all types of teachers on our journey, we must remain confident and strong like a warrior, in our own practice and our personal understanding.
This does not mean to disregard opportunities for growth. This means to develop and learn with conscious understanding and awareness. And when someone disregards that awareness, have patience. Don’t respond with the same manner of ignorance. Remain calm and attentive. Sometimes we have the most to learn from those who challenge us the most deeply.
Inspiration Came, Judgement Vanished
So, what does it mean when someone has their own practice?
My mantra has always been to take what resonates within me and leave the rest. Just like art, certain aspects of yoga will speak differently to each person.
Part of the brilliance is that there is something for everyone, and when we act from an unclouded place of intuition, we will gravitate towards that which best serves us.
We are here to learn more about ourselves, to find our inner guru - not to preach or condemn others. Sometime or another, in today’s day and age we will stumble upon egotistical, dare I say ‘brain washing’ leaders who act otherwise. The more we practice and learn to access our inner wisdom, the more confidently we can know what is best for us. Respect that place of inner truth, be open, be inquisitive and most of all be conscious.
The number one take home from my Zuna Yoga teacher training is to do your own research.
It's common sense, isn’t it? With globalization and the power of the World Wide Web, we have more information than ever before at our fingertips. Every man and his dog claims to know what’s best for us. Be smart, be savvy, be your own experiment.
Everett Newell, creator of Zuna Yoga always says, "Don’t take my word for it, see for yourself." And that’s exactly what I have been doing ever since March when I left the 200 hour yoga teacher training in Gili Meno.
There is no better teacher than the world itself. Learnings and lessons from the 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training are beginning to unfold and take on deeper meaning as I progress on the path of life. This is completely individual. What meaning I make will be different to that of my Zuna classmates and differ again to other yoga teacher training graduates. Owning your own practice in yoga will look different to everyone.
This unique understanding or knowing is not something which can be passed on or force fed, it is yours, and you own it.
You are the Guru. Own your practice.
Refer to this link to read about a comprehensive understanding of yoga based on scientific research https://www.vox.com/2015/7/22/9012075/yoga-health-benefits-exercise-science