Thursday, July 12, 2012

Take the Wine out of Yoga

Om Namah Sivaya Beloved Aspirants,

Happy day to you! A new concept in the yoga community has recently made its way into my consciousness... actually leaving me a little perplexed as to how it came to fruition. For nearly two decades I have witnessed the ancient Yoga traditions slowly lose their richness due to our western culture and lifestyle. I'm not commenting on whether this is a good or bad thing, these days I'm remaining more neutral about such occurrences, remembering to embrace it all; especially since it's all the Divine Shakti anyways.  :)

However, this new yoga craze is deeply calling me to stand up and voice my opinion. Studios across America are adding wine to their event calendars.

My first reaction was "Really?" (with a big eye-roll), but then I decided that I could approach this in a more balanced way... by presenting facts from the Yoga perspective regarding alcohol, allowing each yogin to decide for herself / himself.

After sitting in contemplation about this concept, here are some of the reasons I invite you to reconsider having wine in yoga studios:

1. Alcohol itself is a depressant, this we have known for decades regardless of the recent studies stating that wine has potential health benefits. Many things have potential benefits that may not be good for the psyche. Consuming meat is one of those examples. This is one of the reasons yogis choose to eat a plant-based diet; to honor the practice of ahimsa, or non-violence on the physical, mental and emotional levels of the psyche.

2. Yoga increases and elevates consciousness. Wine veils and masks consciousness. This we know when we've had too much wine and can't remember the night before or when we think we are clear or have a grand idea when in fact it is quite the opposite.

3. Alcohol, from a Yoga perspective, is considered tamasic. Tamoguna, another name for tamas, is  the veiling power that lies within nature. A few of its qualities are: ignorance (can't see Divine Spirit within), darkness, inertia, intoxication, destructiveness, carelessness, negativity, heaviness, etc.

4. Yoga studios are known to uplift and heal people. Alcohol is known to bring people down.

Now, am I saying that you should avoid alcohol under all conditions?  No.
I believe the choice is yours and should be made without any inner or outer judgements.

However, I am saying this...

We have an abundance of opportunities to access alcohol; home consumption, restaurants, movies, bars, social gatherings, etc. So, why do we have to bring it into our sacred Yoga spaces? We all know one of the main benefits of our Yoga practice is an increase of Sattva guna, or purity. If this is the case, why do double work? Why increase sattva by practicing yogasana then immediately cultivate tamas by partaking in a wine-down, or happy hour gathering at the studio?

Don't we have enough distractions in our lives that veil our consciousness? Isn't it hard enough to not only "wake up" but to remain awake moment after moment?

This is my plea and prayer.

"I pray we keep our Yoga studios sattvic and sacred, continuing to cultivate a safe place for us to retreat from the rajas and tamas of life. May we welcome the beauty of sobriety and greet its powerful shakti with an open heart and open mind. May we maintain a higher vibration in our yoga spaces, helping to illumine our own Divine Nature. And may we choose to leave the wine out of our Yoga studios, allowing the sacred space to reflect the self-discipline necessary to consciously evolve and annihilate the Ego, illuminating the Divine Self."

Om and Pranams,