10 Things You Will Never Need In Order To Practice Yoga

10. Zen Alarm Clocks
Have you ever woken up to the piercing shrill that is the Zen alarm clock? It’s insane. I don’t care what mathematical equation they use to assassinate your slumber. Just get that internal clock going and you’ll be fine. Or, find a nice “gong app” for your iPhone. These “zen clock” things sound more like miniature banshees shrieking inside your ear. This is not conducive to yogic discipline.

9. Novelty Yoga Mats
No offense, but an extra six inches here and there, or a giant rubber circle taking up three times the amount of space you should, ain’t gonna help you get to know yourself anymore than you already don’t. My suggestion? Worry less about the width of your mat, and more about how you convinced yourself that yoga has nothing to do with Indian culture.

8. “East Meets West” Music
Not sure how to put this lightly, but…. With the exception of maybe Cheb i Sabbah (who’s got bad ass Algerian roots and was spinning soul records in the 60s!), music that attempts to “merge” the affects of “East” and “West” is reductive, cliché, and more or less lame as frickin’ hell! A note to all y’all on the East/West path: East does not mean sitars, and West does not mean “beats.” We can do a lot better than this. For starters, why not ditch the whole “East Meets West” schtick, and just listen to some Gamal Goma, for goodness sake? The man drills badder than the whole lot o’ ya (especially when he throws down ’round min 1:35 in the following clip).

7. Clothing With Squiggly Sacred Mantras On It
Let’s get real, Hindus are frickin’ masters at using the sacred imagery of their own culture to sell stuff. And yet, no one beats the American who takes the sacred images of other cultures and drains them of every last follicle of mystery and pregnant meaning by putting it on a T-shirt and trying to convince everyone that “Hey. No one owns Ganesh. God is free for all!” Ugh, Yoga community. Please stop talking. Listening to you rationalize your cultural imperialism is like watching twenty-year-olds seriously attempt interpretive dance.

6. “Signature Asanas”
Ashtangis have a butt-load of yoga asanas. Sivananda students have about twelve. Buddhists have one. Vinyasa teachers have…well…who knows? They just can’t stop inventing new ones! The fact that new-school yoginis are still trying to convince the world that “Hey! Look at me! I’m important too! I exist. Look at me! Look. At. Me!” by creating new and more useless dance moves with Sanskrit names says more about said “yoginis” than it does about translating an ancient yogic discipline from India into American terms. Settle down, y’all.

5. Paramahamsa Nithyananda
You know what’s awesome? This dude was caught on video making out with a lil’ chippy in a hotel room watching TV like a frat boy. Protesters went nuts on his sorry ass and he ended up fleeing. And yet, Yoga Journal still runs ads for the “#1 Spiritual Teacher on YouTube.com,” proving once again what YJ’s main mission is: pesos accumulation. And, some people think we need to make stuff up. Why bother?! It’s all right there in front of you. Fun!

4. Anything “Green”
I know I’m gonna get shit for this one, but here’s the deal: Just because your penis does somersaults every time you buy dish detergent that used to come in a plastic bottle, but now it comes in a brown cardboard bottle, doesn’t mean you are doing anything that even remotely suggests yogic behavior. The fact is, we shouldn’t even be using dish detergent to begin with. Not being an Earth raper should be your prerogative whether you do yoga or not. Also, become familiar with this term, “greenwashing,” and please don’t be fooled by this one, “Conscious Capitalism.”

3. A Trip To Costa Rica, Tulum, &/or Bali
Don’t get me wrong. These are all amazing places. However, most yogi saints I’ve come across were not swinging in hammocks from “sustainably built compost toilets” when I rooted them out of their little stay-away-from-me hovels. Rather, they were hanging out in places that would give your mother a literal heart attack right then and there were she to rock up unannounced. That said, by all means go. Enjoy Costa Rica! But let’s not kid ourselves. We know why you’re going. Sexy tico boys hablan muy poco inglés.

2. Anything Involving A Didgeridoo Or Two Turntables And A Microphone
Look. You like music. I like music. You like yoga. I like yoga. But, for God’s sake, man. Take it easy on the flow jams! Remember: every time you play music in your class you make it that much harder for me to discern the quality of my pranayama. It’s that simple. Also, every time you play The Rolling Stones in your class a baby kitten looses one of its cute lil’ paws.

1. Television Shows That Have Anything To Do With Yoga
This one speaks for itself.

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21 comments

  1. Linda-Sama

    nodding head furiously…..

  2. amphibi1yogini

    All of them. Except #1. What about yoga TV if it’s on the internet? The sites that will occasionally reference scriptures and the 8 limbs and/or the noble eightfold pathj, not the contortionists’ virtual clubhouses out of California … I do have my own practice and cannot afford classes or privates. But the practice – the physical part, anyway – got stale …

  3. Yoga Dude

    Is that the Yogic version of “Jazz Hands”?

  4. Greenpoint

    that JF mat video is one of the more disturbing things I’ve watched in a while…right up there with yama/leslie thingie…

  5. nanyoga2347

    Love this!

  6. “ain’t gonna help you get to know yourself anymore than you already don’t” is one of the funniest things I’ve read in a while. Match it with a picture of a guy holding a peacock feather, and I just peed my pants a little. So, I guess it’s back to mulabandha (or moolabandha, depending on whose kula you’re in) practice for me!

  7. Linda: And we are nodding back at ya…

    amphibi1: Point taken. I think we’re talking about different kinds of yoga TV, but I get where you’re coming from. Noted.

    Yoga Dude: I suppose it’s better than gyan mudra-ing all over the place…

    Greenpoint: I know. That JF video was hard to stomach when it came out. Someone wrote somewhere that it was like watching a horrible iPhone commercial from when they first came out. Only, a little too late.

    nanyoga: Many thanks.

    Mary Elizabeth: So glad you picked up on that little word switch. And, yes, please strengthen your pelvic floor. You’re spilling everywhere!

  8. That JF sticky mat commercial is shameful, absurd, deceitful, obscene, and should be used to produce extreme Pratipaksha Bhavanam… for example: I would tie JF down and pry his eyelids open while continually dropping saline solution onto the exposed balls so they don’t dry out, while making him watch his own commercial over and over again a la “A Clockwork Orange”. Gag me with a spoon.

  9. William

    Through your link in item 6 above, I have discovered Village Zendo. I cannot thank you enough for that. Gasho.

  10. amphibi1yogini

    And your picture in 6 above, inspires my pilates (mostly self-) practice …

  11. Bobcat

    Excellent article! I am guilty of #6. But I don’t signify my momentary creative expression. That’s like saying Lila is really real (not just real). You only need to put a signature on your art (even fake ones) if you want to sell it.

  12. OK, so all your points are pretty obvious. Those of us seriously interested in Yoga are aware that we don’t need LuluLemon. But “green is good!” Not hurting the planet/non-violence is the very first injunction of the Yoga Sutras (niyamas, in chapter II). Conduct becoming is one of the keys to a yogic life. You have to start somewhere, even if it’s a small step. That’s the way yoga is taught. Start where you are and go from there. Or A to B and back again.

    Have fun y’all and then do some serious yoga.

    Alison West
    Yoga Union

    • Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Alison. Like we said in the “green” entry, walking lightly on the planet is necessary whether you do yoga or not. However, identifying with a commercial trend, no matter the color, is simply not that important when it comes to practice. That is the gist of what we are saying.

      Thanks again, and many thanks for checking us out.

  13. Greenpoint

    if anyone thinks Chevy gives a flying rat’s a** about the environment then I have the a bridge for sale…

  14. Ryan

    You just gained a new reader.

  15. Liana

    ahaha! ROMYML (Rolling On My Yoga Mat Laughing)

  16. Linda-Sama

    #5 — he DID end up spending some months in jali. but he’s out now and from what my friends in Chennai tell me, he’s charging a lakh or two for “Instant Enlightenment!”

  17. Linda-Sama

    I mean JAIL!

  18. Garuda

    This video reminds me of Purusha

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