Oh my, people have been hurting themselves trying to look good on Instagram. It’s not funny, is it? I mean, we don’t laugh at people who fall off cliffs while taking selfies, do we? Anyway, a wave of hip and knee injuries among yoga instructors has led to concern. A leading physiotherapist, Benoy Mathew, has said he has seen a lot of injuries as a result of inexperienced teachers attempting the most complicated poses for the ’gram. God, it’s all so spiritual, isn’t it? So much part of yoga’s 5,000-year-old tradition.
Who hasn’t been to a yoga class where madly competitive people contort themselves at the front while some of us lie at the back snoring? What qualifies some people to be yoga teachers I shall never know, apart from a week on a beach in Kerala and undiagnosed hypermobility. Of course, yoga is great if taught properly and sensitively; the very opposite of endless pictures of lithe young things in specious, sunset poses. “Look at me,” is not part of any meditative practice I understand. It is simply mindful flashing.
The worst yoga teachers are surely the ones who demonstrate poses in front of stiff, horrified middle-aged people with little instruction except: “Behold my toned abs.” The second worst are the ones who speak a few words in Sanskrit and then offer nuggets of philosophy that are about as far from compassion as you can get.
My favourite was at a class I attended with a woman who had just had a knee operation and was unable to sit in certain positions. “What I notice,” said the teacher, “is that people with knee problems often have way too much ego.”
I caught the woman’s eye. Oh, the ancient wisdom of the terminally up themselves. That universe is boundless.
• Suzanne Moore is a Guardian columnist
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