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  • helizabethcaney8

What we don't talk about when we talk about yoga

Updated: Jun 5

The amount of times I've tried to bloody write this is ridiculous so I'm just going to do it.

As many of you know I have been moving away from instructing yoga and the wellness industry as a whole.

Over the last few years I’ve found myself becoming increasing conflicted at having a role within the wellness industry given the popularity and evolution of practices that fall under the 'wellness' umbrella, that have become the epitome of what I don’t want to be considered adding to or promoting.

I’ve been teaching for over a decade now and that in itself is something I question, it’s taken a lot of time and reflection to get me to the point where I feel like I need to say something as a way of opening up conversations, as I have many conversations with students and other teachers about the subjects I’m going to write about but can’t find many people actually talking openly about them.

As I said this is purely a way for me to open up conversations and I sincerely hope many of you can connect with these things, I’m not trying to condone anyone or pass any blame (although I do believe the big yoga corporations have a lot to answer for and teacher training's on the lack of education on the historic injustice within yoga). When I wrote about the 'yoga teaching boom' I received a few messages from teachers saying they felt triggered by it, and for this I am sorry but maybe you can address that in your own way - this is my way.

God knows we are all guilty of some form of cultural appropriation,  judgement, transference, spiritual romanticism, conforming to the stereotypical 'yoga teacher' portrayal, giving unsolicited advice, using obtuse quotes, and taking ourselves too bloody seriously. 

But why are we not calling out this alongside the bias, elitism, inaccessibility, spiritual bypassing, guru culture, lack of regulation, pseudo community and the more ingrained stuff like who is and more importantly who isn't allowed to be liberated according to the Vedas and other ancient texts, the hierarchical format of its teachings that were only resided for a certain part of the community and how casteism manifests in yoga spaces to this day.

I'm just hoping I can gather people together to have the conversations that aren’t being had. And maybe they are just conversations I’m having with myself (which I realise is something in its own right) but I’m doing it and in doing so am trying to help others out there like me who are so entirely lost in this tangle of being a ‘yoga instructor’ deep within the wellness industry, and find solace and a community where we can openly question and maybe find ways of finding answers and ways we can adopt to try and tackle some of the issues that have arisen from cultural appropriation (shrouded as appreciation) and the more innate issues within yoga as a whole, the questions that have come up for me since digging deeper and expanding my knowledge of the real roots, paradigms and structures that yoga was built upon.

Yoga isn't the problem but it's the symptom of the problem.

I have received many requests from other instructors to take over my classes since cutting back, however please note I will continue to teach and do something I love and ultimately think is spreading a sense of good, however I will no longer ruminate on the aspects that I find ethically wrong and will dedicate my public platform voice and promise that I will speak about these things to not only help me make sense of it but most importantly hopefully inspire just one other person that is feeling similar to find a way of making our teaching spaces and teaching itself more truthful to all.

Thanks for baring with me,

Hannah x

p.s. Title completely inspired/ripped off by the one and only Haruki Murakami.

p.p.s. I realise many will wonder why I am putting the energy into this seemingly insignificant subject whilst there is a GENOCIDE currently happening but to be honest the way in which the wellness industry as a whole seems to be reacting (or not reacting should I say) is one of the main reasons I want to start talking about everything.

Here are a few non profits and brilliant organisations you can donate to :

MSF (Doctors without boarders):


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