Since my last post on “Idolatry, Yoga and Life (Part 1)“, I felt there was much more to that topic that I didn’t address. Hence, I’m writing a second part to it.

Yoga Idolatry Life Big

When a new yoga student walks into a class and does his/her first practice, a certain kind of connection might emerge. Perhaps it was the teacher or practice itself, but this new student might be inspired to learn more about this thing called yoga. And with the huge variety of studios/teachers available, they might ‘shop’ around till they find the right teacher whom they feel connected with. This connection might manifest to the point of idolizing the teacher’s agile and graceful movements, knowledge of sanskrit words or teaching techniques. And this is the point when I’d start to question the concept of idolatry.

Teachers are generally thought to be more knowledgable and experienced in their field simply because of their ‘teacher’ title. Some yoga students fail to understand that these teachers are merely human beings who have bills to pay and groceries to buy outside of the yoga class. Previously, as a young yoga practitioner, it was easy to put my teachers on a pedestal and bow to them without realizing the detrimental effects it might have for both them and myself.

On the teachers’ part, they might be new to this idea of being idolized and wouldn’t know how to deal with it. If they’re not thoroughly grounded in their personal practice, it could manifest to the stage where they enjoy basking in the glory of being idolized and lose the integrity of the practice. On the flip side, this awareness of being idolized could propel them to ground themselves deeper into their practice and teach yoga from within. The latter is definitely the ideal situation. For the students, by idolizing the teachers, they are consciously or subconsciously creating an unnatural reality for themselves that doesn’t allow them to fully find their personal grounding or path in life, simply because they chose to walk the life of someone else. This can be corrected through self-awareness that’s developed overtime or by finding the right yoga teacher (the latter) who might be able to bring awareness of this phenomenon to the student.

How does this translate into life?

In a conversation with a friend earlier, I brought up the topic of college professors and movie stars. Similar to yoga teachers, college professors are bestowed with that title on the presumption that they’re well-knowledgable in their field/industry. However, how would one know that this particular professor truly understands his material from A—Z, or is he simply following the curriculum that’s laid out for him? Students can idolize him for his view or perspective but what if his knowledge is simply realized from the surface and he isn’t able to dig deeper into the context of certain topics regarding that subject? Will the students still follow his lead blindly? Movie stars are interesting individuals to idolize as well because they seem to have all the fame and wealth that many of us might not possess. Fans might aim to follow in the stars’ footsteps and live lifestyles that are unrealistic in their personal reality. I think idolizing movie stars might even reach to the point of anorexia for teenage girls should they wish to embody the same body features, etc.

With all these being said, it is easy to move from a place of idolatry to one filled with judgement and criticism. We could suddenly be made aware of our personal reality and begin to realize that the idolized person isn’t who we perceived them to be. When judgement clouds our vision, we are left in a place of unrest and dissatisfaction within ourselves. We might ask: where do we move on from here?

Well, I think the only way to move on (or avoid this completely) would be to free ourselves from idolatry, judgement and criticism. If we truly want to walk this path, we should listen to ourselves and live as authentically as possible. We could draw inspiration from teachers around us but strive to create our own reality based on personal instincts and knowledge.

And, everything starts from being aware. Aware of ourselves. Aware of our surroundings. Aware of the people around us. It’s only when we are aware of our reality can we start to take full control and ownership of it. And so, like I said previously, hell with idolatry. Let’s start creating our own reality.

Featured Photo Credits: Pinterest