Things that don’t go together…yoga and politics.

'Today we're going to learn how to take our foot out of our mouth.'

In my mind there’s a list of a few things that just don’t go together in this world, and you only try to combine them once before you vow to never do so again. Number one on this list is toothpaste and orange juice (no explanation necessary) and number two is politics and yoga (explanation may be necessary, hence the rest of this post…)

I started out my college career studying political science… this was after having spent four years, three all city trophies, four state, and one national qualification, and thousands upon thousands of hours researching nothing but politics when I was on the debate team in high school. So unlike the average college kid featured on Watter’s World on Fox News, I would be able to answer all of his questions about politics… and generally with an opinion attached. I like politics. Remember the old adage, “there are three things you never talk about, religion, money, and politics”?  Well… I talk to every “do you have a minute to hear about our lord and savior Jesus Christ” who comes to my door (and generally have a few interesting questions for them), I talk about money and the concept of how much my time and knowledge are worth everyday as I attempt to make a decent part time job out of teaching yoga, and I certainly talk about politics with anyone and everyone that wants to. So I guess you could say I’m kind of a rebel….

But with all that being said I’ve learned that there is a time and place to talk about all controversial issues. For example, why we eat what we eat and the debate between meat eaters and non meat eaters is my favorite subject. Another thing people tend to avoid talking about…. Maybe we should just make that list longer (taking a page out of Linus’s book) there are five things you should never talk about: religion, money, politics, the great pumpkin or dietary choices. But to me this just buries the issues that need to be talked about the most. However, I would never leave a rant about how people evolved to eat meat and have been doing so for over 2 million years on a vegan yogi’s Instagram… I leave those rants for this blog and I NEVER insult those that believe differently than me. So what I’m trying to say is theres a time and place for everything. And recently I’ve concluded that yoga pages are not the place for politics. How did I come to this conclusion? Here’s the story…

I was met with a lot of hate on Instagram recently. It all happened when I commented on a famous yogi’s post after she said something derogatory towards Trump supporters in a video she posted. I generally keep politics off the internet (because my internet pages are all about yoga and I don’t believe anyone ever visits my site so they can decide how to vote in November) , and would never consider myself a Trump supporter, but I felt something needed to be said. Don’t we all come here for yoga and to be inspired in our daily practice? Not to talk about politics and certainly not to be insulted if we think differently than someone else. So, essentially, I said just that in the comments section on her post along with something akin to, “people’s political beliefs, just because they differ from yours, should not be thrown in their faces like an insult.”

For simply suggesting she should keep the negativity and political talk off Instagram I was called a judgmental bitch, a terrible human being, a hypocrite, told to open my small mind, and get over myself… And these are the people saying they refuse to vote for Trump because he is too hateful. Also, if you click on these yogi’s Instagram pages you’ll find something like “light and love” or “only positive vibes here” or “peace to all living things” in their bios or posts. So hold up now… you mean to tell me you’re a yogi who believes in all these wonderful things… until someone says something you don’t like. Sounds legit.

To be honest, the hate and meanness exuded by my fellow yogis was far greater than anything I have ever seen or experienced from a Trump supporter…. I truly believe that it is a sad day for yoga when we as fellow practitioners turn something as beautiful as our shared practice into negativity and insults. These are the kinds of people who cause other’s outside of the yoga community to think that all yogis are “fake” or “hypocrites”. They conjure up an image of a yogi in the studio preaching peace and non violence as well as daily cleanses and veganism… but as soon as she’s out of the studio she’ll be glued to her phone posting mean comments on others’ pages while she digs in to a bacon cheeseburger.

I see two issues here, the hypocrisy of my fellow yogis and the hatred for others because they don’t believe the same way as you do. So here’s a friendly reminder….Everyone is permitted to believe exactly what they want and vote exactly how they want and frankly if I wanted to talk about politics I attend an awesome University full of people with kind hearts and open minds… I would never turn to social media to decide how to vote and I would certainly never go as far as to tell others that how they believe is wrong ( I would hope that no one turns to social media to decide how to vote actually….) There are plenty of better and more respectful platforms to discuss politics, and more kind and legitimate ways of doing so.  I also received comments saying things like “this is her page and she can post whatever she wants” okay… so why would she choose to post something hateful? And if she is “the largest yoga account on the internet” as she regularly reminds everyone, shouldn’t she think before she posts?  Maybe trying to make her posts inspiriting, or… at the very least not hateful? But …

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With that being said, I wish all of the those hateful yogis out there on the Internet the very very best and I hope they return to their mats and find the love in their hearts that hopefully brought them there in the first place. I also hope they find a way to discuss something as important as politics in a kind and respectful way and on an appropriate platform.

Finally….I love you all no matter what you believe in, how you practice, who you hang out with, what you eat, what you wear, what you post, AND most importantly, I love you no matter who you vote for. ❤️?