I have come to this topic before, but hey, I have once again come across a quote that stirred up the little restless troll inside of me. And as a new season is opening, I’ll just catch the chance to inform all the new people of what is my approach to the whole idea of yoga, besides postures, breathing and other minor technical stuff.

The quote is from Mattew Kelly’s self-help best-seller The Rhythm of Life, and it goes like this:

“The people we surround ourselves with either raise or lower our standards. They either help us become the-best-version-of-ourselves or encourage to become lesser versions of ourselves. We become like our friends. No man becomes great on his own. No woman becomes great on her own. The people around them help to make them great.

We all need people in our lives who raise our standards, remind us of our essential purpose, and challenge us to become the-best-version-of-ourselves.”

I have to admit I haven’t read The Rhythm of Life. Nor I want to. This paragraph says enough. One single word says enough: standard.

This word scares me. The popularity of the conceptual field that revolves around this word scares me. Especially as it’s so widespread in my work environment.

The whole mindset expressed in this paragraph is the typical psychological trap in which most people who aim to improve their lives through yoga fall.

Somewhere above this paragraph, the book said that if you hang out with people who drink sodas and eat burgers, you’re bound to do the same. So you’d better chose your friends among people who live a healthy lifestyle.

Good God, if you select your friends among people who don’t drink sodas, or any other suchlike criteria, you’re bound to become a sad frustrated loner.

Your high standards are the doom of your happiness, and for a simple reason: if you base your approach to life and relationships on the idea of a standard, you’re bound to be endlessly disappointed. The high standard people you think you’re surrounding yourself of, will sooner or later fail to meet this or that standard. This is what’s happening to a great number of people I know who are ‘seriously’ into yoga. Outside, their lives are magnificent and divinely successful. But behind the pretty Instagram postcard picture, there’s perpetual dissatisfaction, disconnection, despair.

I’ll say it in one simple way: the best-version-of-yourself is the one who has grown past all standards. The best me and the best you, appear when we forget all that bullshit, stop judging, stop expecting to improve or for anything to improve. The people who adopt the philosophy of The Rhythm of Life are control freaks with anorexic daughters, and there’s no kidding here. And this makes for 90% of the current yogic mentality (my stats).

My mission is to eradicate this mentality and empower people with some truly lively and vital food for their souls: give love, be free, be open, be truthful, be brave. Life thrives in mud, not in diamonds. Nourish yourself at the source of impurity. Stop thinking that the problem lies in the people who surround you. The problem is that you are not manifesting yourself fully, honestly, bravely. As you are permanently busy concealing what you truly feel or want, you have to create a perfect public image, an ideal standard, and a whole set of rules and restrictions to achieve it. And to make up for the endless frustration you feel in the attempt to ‘get there’, you’ll end up hassling everyone around you with unrequested advice on what they should eat and how they should hang around.

A century or so ago, the Indian psychological science met the Western psychological science, and a great potential for growth of human knowledge and fulfilment arose. But also, Hindu puritanism met Christian puritanism, and a whole new form of moralism was born. These two faces of the yogic coin go hand in hand, often cunningly disguised, as in the picture of a perfect pose.

Be aware of this as you crawl your way through the yoga jungle.

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