Here’s the dirt on yoga, there are lots of things that you don’t need. Quit attaching yourself to ideals about yoga that are just fluff and that don’t actually get to the root of the practice. The fancy leggings and mala bracelets are so trending right now that we appear to miss the point of what yoga is all about. Even the perky “yogi” attitude can sometimes come off as fake. Sparkly yoga fluff is the graceful surroundings of the yoga world, but this does not define exactly what all yogis are here for. Here are 10 fluffy add-ons that you don’t really need in your yoga or in your life.
1. Ditch the diva attitude
There’s a diva in all of us which nobody can deny. Whether a fly landed on your arm in savasana, the teacher's voice crained in your ears, or that girl in the back just wouldn’t stop chatting during class, there's really no need to get upset over these disturbances. Whatever your opinions are about "what a yoga class should be like", they need to be dropped. Yoga is about having fun, stop taking it so seriously and making it seem like something needs to be there to create an experience. Anything that bothers you during your practice is a learning experience to relax in times of distaste and discomfort.
2. The need to be flexible or strong
The only type of flexibility you need in yoga, is flexibility of the mind to be open to transforming your body into its optimal health. The idea that you need to be physically flexible or strong to practice yoga is just an excuse not to go. Attend a class, listen to the teacher, and learn to let go of judgements to why or why not you are there. Take the time to learn the postures and eventually you will see the benefits of the practice in which flexibility and strength are included. Though yogis seem quite flexible it is not necessarily within their bodies. Remember we always have room for improvement, that is why yoga is a practice and a lifestyle.
3. Having to look good
The whole point of yoga is not to perform the poses correctly, it is to relax and hold the posture in best alignment and form. Even if you’re at the beginner stages of having absolutely no idea what you’re doing, you don’t look as stupid as you think you do, so drop the idea that you have to look good. Stop trying to fix your hair and makeup before you get to class, you do not need your toes painted or even the newest yogi attire. A good shower, a cheap mat and clothing to move in is all you really need for you to engage in asana, all the rest is yoga fluff.
4. Be ready and have energy to practice
Yoga and meditation give you energy. If you were forced to stay awake to tend to an emergency, you’re able to practice yoga. Getting the blood flowing is probably exactly what you need to boost your energy. Get up and practice, it is good for you.
5. To have or not to have an ego
Yes, as yogis we have egos too. Our thoughts might be of spinal alignment and balance between the toes. Our fears, that we will not be present throughout the entire class, or feel a deep release in one of our poses. Goodness knows what will happen if we don’t have a breakthrough during one of our retreats. Drop the yoga fluff about releasing the ego since it is psychologically impossible to completely remove it. Therefore, find balance in discovering the awareness of the ego and use it to your advantage. None of this yoga fluff. The ego exists, get over it.
6. Yoga Accessories; Bring it back to the basics
There’s a lot of products on the market that are there to give you a more comfortable practice. Things such as Yogitoes, Yoga Paws, mat wash or eye pillows aren’t really needed for your practice. You don’t even really need a mat to practice. The basics of a block, mat and a strap are useful but these accessories are to make yoga more comfortable for you - when maybe you need to get more comfortable with your yoga. The yogi Sadhu Naga Babas of India practice anywhere on the ground wearing a small loincloth called a Langouti which in my opinion is all you truly need for your yoga practice, IF that.
7. Push Yourself
The best concept within the yoga practice that seems to draw a crowd is the concept of forgiveness. You don’t need to push yourself in yoga. The class can be done entirely in savasana. Everyone loves yoga because it gives you naps in between your workouts. This is the time for you to do something good for yourself, even if that means to not push yourself at all.
8. “I can’t”
Where there is a will there’s a way. Don’t be stubborn in your ideals about your body or your mind. Come from a space of “anything is possible” so that you can enjoy your practice for what it truly means to you. Getting down or limiting yourself with the words "I can't" before you even try a pose is such fluffery - even if you still think you can’t, there are modifications and adjustments that are beneficial to you so that you can learn how to get there eventually.
9. Accept Adjustments
The yoga community is a touch-appreciative community which is used as a tool for healing the human soul. We live in a society that honours a larger personal space and yoga challenges that personal space as we practice bending over in our skimpies with strangers all around us. To that degree, it takes time to get used to the openness of yoga. With this knowledge still, don't be too polite in setting your boundaries over what you want and do not want from your teacher. Hugs, massages, adjustments and prolonged eye gazing is what connects this community but also, if you don’t feel comfortable with any of it, speak up!
10. Be Quiet
Just like I noted in Yoga Fluff #1, yoga can be confused to be something we need to take very seriously. But in truth, yoga classes are like humans, we are diverse creatures and it is about discovering what yoga you enjoy. Sometimes a large sigh feels really amazing when releasing an intense pose. Crying and getting mad in yoga is why we practice. It is a space to honour our individuality and our own experience. Make noise, be loud and enjoy your yoga, feel free - and find the classes that encourage what you’re looking for - just don’t be afraid to make some noise and get into it!