Be True To Who You Are

At the Yoga Conference this weekend, I saw a yoga teacher who rubbed me the wrong way at lululemon’s New Year yoga with Eoin Finn. When Eoin asked the roomful of yogis to set an intention for 2013, this particular teacher spoke up and said that he’d like to help more people understand yoga better, etc. The intention was great but it meant nothing to me because of his earlier actions before the class began.

Yoga mats were lined up neatly around the room for this particular yoga session. My friends and I settled in, catching up with each other after the festive holidays. Alas! One of us realized that this particular yoga teacher was stepping (full-on) on her yoga mat. For the sake of her hygiene, she kindly asked him to step off her mat — totally legitimate in my opinion. His next few actions threw me off course when he gave her the eye (yes, the ‘I’m irritated with you’ eye) and didn’t offer any form of apology. It wasn’t a great way to start a new year, that’s for sure.

Yoga mats spread out for Lululemon's 2013 NY practice in Toronto's Four Seasons.

Yoga mats spread out for Lululemon’s 2013 NY practice in Toronto’s Four Seasons.

And so, because his actions and intention didn’t match up, I left the yoga class feeling disappointed. The lack of integrity in this yoga teacher’s character made me question the integrity of this yoga world. Yoga students, yoga teachers, yoga conferences, yoga products, yoga everything. What are the values, missions and purposes behind everything? After embedding myself into the digital marketing world, I’m starting to question about the marketing ethics behind this sacred practice. What is yoga?!

That week, I approached my yoga teacher and told him of this incident. And because he never fails to surprise me with his responses, I was…surprised once again. He said (and I’m paraphrasing): “I don’t see why you should be surprised and disappointed at this yoga teacher’s actions. His intention is to help people understand yoga better, and he is working towards it. He hasn’t mastered it but he is creating a path for himself. And that’s what intentions are all about.” Woah.

Yes, I thoroughly agree with my yoga teacher but because of this notion of integrity, it isn’t allowing me to see the true light of this particular yoga teacher. At this week’s conference, I tried my best to put aside my prejudice and questioned myself about my own integrity. It’s known that the quirks you notice in others are the same quirks you’d like to straighten out within yourself. Some things that we criticize about others are things that are apparent in ourselves.

I’m not an angel, and will never claim to be one. I have quirks, and perhaps I’m not entirely honest about my true self that led me to notice and be annoyed at this particular yoga teacher’s character. And like every teacher of mine have said: You can’t change other people, but you can only change yourself.

And because I want to be true to myself, this is my intention for the rest of the year: To focus on changing myself and not changing others.