Mind Body Spirit Festival and Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie

BY Parvati

Dear friends,
I leave early Monday morning for London, UK where I will be performing and teaching at the Mind Body Spirit Festival. Waiting for me in London will be the freshly printed copies of my new book Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie. I thought you might like to read another sneak preview:
In the yoga community, we have come to a place that is like spiritual adolescence. We know the basics and we are out in the world. Wal-Mart sells yoga mats and Costco sells Eckhart Tolle’s books. We can express lofty ideas and speak beautiful things. But in order to grow, we must go deeper. We know how to fool our parents, as many teenagers do. But we cannot fool nature. Eventually the teenager realizes that to be responsible means to understand the consequences of his actions, just as the junkie needs to discover the wanting at the root of their addiction in order to heal. If we are to address the pervasiveness of greed and wanting in our lives, we need to start talking about and becoming aware of our shadowy habits that support them, including the ones lurking in our yoga practice.
We need to mature as yogis and as people. We are not being truly honest with ourselves if we say we are yogis because we go to a stretch class once a week, but feel unable to find that center at any other time. We are not being the best we can be if we feel we are conscious because we watch Oprah or tweet the words of wisdom of the latest pop guru, but then become immediately impatient and yell at our spouse, friends, co-worker or children.

Yoga was surely not designed 5000 years ago by the ancient rishis (sages) to be the next fad after the 80’s aerobics of Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda. Yet it seems to have been co-opted as such in an attempt to fulfill our desire for perfection by consuming something “out there”. We need to embrace yoga in its totality, rather than just appropriating aspects of the practice that suit our ego. We must take pause and learn to move from stillness by going within and meeting this moment as it is. Until we do so, no matter what kind of bendy exercise we may do, our lives will continue to be driven by an unconscious desire to resist the now and keep our personal sorry stories alive. By letting go of the story and of the feeling that the world is somehow against us, we release the attachment to feeling separate from life. We let go of our perceived need to carry around the weight of our illusionary self. We begin to experience yoga, that is, union, or oneness with all that is.

We need to talk about the pitfalls on the yogic path and the shadows of spirituality, because they are our shadows. They will show us where we are stuck so that we may return to our true home. When we find the self-love and courage to do so, we move, in a more grounded, humble manner, into the fullness of life, and become the unaffected beings of light that we most naturally are.
Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie will be available for purchase at Mind Body Spirit Expo in London next weekend. It will be available in Canada soon after.