Our culture encourages certain ways of being, whether through short-term trends or long-term traditions and generally accepted values.
Being thin is a generally accepted value in our culture. All of our advertisements feature thin people, our movie stars are thin, we all strive to be thin. So it is easy for us to want to be thin, strong and healthy because our culture appreciates and admires thin, strong, healthy people. Many people begin in yoga because of the physical fitness it offers. We feel the desire (cultural or otherwise) to be thin and beautiful, so we exercise.
Eating in moderation is more difficult because our culture encourages binge eating, high-sugar and high-fat foods and alcohol consumption, all of which are bad for the body and mind. But it is cool to eat poorly and self-destructively. I have heard yoga teachers who encourage alcohol consumption, overeating and even being overweight. Vegetarians and vegans are still outliers, though less than they were in years past. Restaurants often have a token vegetarian option amidst an entire menu of meat-centered choices.
I find these two cultural values to be in conflict with each other. We want to be healthy, but we also feel the desire to binge eat and drink. They create internal confusion as we are encouraged to be thin and drink beer or wine, drink soda and eat hamburgers and ice cream.
This journal honors my ongoing experience with the practice, study and teaching of yoga.
1) Sridaiva Yoga: Good Intention But Imbalanced
2) Understanding Chair Posture
2) Why I Don't Use Sanskrit or Say Namaste
3) The Meaningless Drudgery of Physical Yoga
5) Beyond Bikram: Why This Is a Great Time For Ghosh Yoga