Dear Willow: Is Yoga Just a Trend or Is It Worth Doing?
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I know yoga is 5,000 years old, but it is relatively new to the United States and Western world. Is yoga a passing fad or is it worth actually participating in?
Yes! Yoga by historical definition is around 5,000 years old. It has had an incredible influence in popular culture the last ten years and on the underground scene for four score or more. Yes, it is worth your time investigating. Now, I have a question for you: Why would it matter if someone just had a seed spark of inspiration a second ago or an idea for 5,000 years? Does the factor of history validate the idea?
All great activities start with an individual idea. Great ideas and philosophies naturally spread around affecting and enriching people’s lives. As ideas grow and become more mainstream, they inevitably evolve or change through time. People take an idea and develop it to meet their needs or interpret it to fit their belief systems.
Yoga is the same. There will be groups who hold true to the historical development and lineages from which yoga was created and there will be groups who create a system branching off from traditional or classical yoga.
Another thought. Sometimes it can be rewarding to go with the flow of the trends. Brilliant people are everywhere and innovators create unique ways for us to experience life and the world around us. Give everything a try. Do something unique to you every day. Challenge your areas where you feel ‘in a groove.’ Rethink current beliefs to know if they still apply to you now as they did when you adopted them. Sometimes good ideas a decade ago are no longer relevant to modern beliefs. They can keep you weighted or tethered to the past, making it hard to evolve or go forward in life.
I spend hours each week analyzing personal paradigms or opinions. Many times I say to myself “Does this even apply now? No, okay, time to change that. Now!” And the process can be as simple as that. Change your mind and the way you see people or events will change, too.
When I came out of a twelve-year relationship I literally had to build my self from the foundation up. Seemingly insignificant choices were overwhelming, so I kept them simple and rebuilt my identity by starting with the question, “My favorite color used to be red, is it still now?” My answer was, “Yes,” and I moved from there to music, foods, and more thought-provoking questions. “What attributes or qualities are the most important in a friendship?” I spent months asking myself questions. Because, ultimately, I am my own authority on what is right for me.
You might ask yourself if yoga is right for you. But only after experiencing it firsthand. And if there is a glimmer of pleasure, go in that direction until you build a wonderful experience combining a yoga guide who is right for you, the right poses, the right way of being led in a class, the right music, etc. Find out what options are out there, and then investigate for yourself. You be the judge. Yes, you can judge. We all must judge for ourselves, but first initiate stacking evidence in favor of continuing the experience or not.
Truth of the matter is, yoga is an ancient tool used to help the self heal in myriad ways. Eight specific modes of healing can be experienced through the long-term exploration of yoga. I have seen miraculous recovery from injury, people with traumas change their life where the past events no longer had a vice grip over their fearful heart, breakthroughs, triumph over “I can’t” mantras, and people doing handstand who swore they never would. Mainly, I’ve witnessed thousands of people grow their confidence and connection to seeing beauty in themselves.
You have many areas to gain by experiencing yoga. Whether a fad or forever, go for it! Enjoy the journey.