Kari Kwinn sits in a yin yoga pose using a chair and ponders the goal of yoga

The Goal of Yoga

I believe that “the goal” of a yoga teacher is not to offer transformation, acceptance, or a transcendent experience. The goal of YOGA TEACHERS as a collective, is to bring people back to the mat. To meet them where they are and provide a space where they can meet, acknowledge, love, slay (or whatever) their own darlings and demons. There is NOTHING WRONG with crossfit-meets-yoga. Maybe it isn’t your yoga today, but to someone else, it is letting in a sliver of light – it is providing a space on a mat for someone who needs that kind of yoga right now, today. If the teacher is popular, great. She is meeting students where they are. And if they later choose a different class because her class no longer serves them, than better for all of us to have open arms and say YES. WELCOME to my class. Here is what I have to offer you today. I’m glad you have returned to the mat.

Right now, a particular quote – a particular teaching – resonates with you. Perhaps in the crossfit class, someone else had a transcendent realization. 

Who is to say which yoga is right? 

It is an important lesson for us as teachers to embrace ALL teachers, styles, formats so that we as a collective can support one another and shine and share our light (and our shadow and darkness, as needed). 

I often joke that I received two invitations on the same day – one to a beautiful prenatal yoga teacher training, with hands on bellies and peaceful music, and one for Booty Yoga – which was basically strip dancing on yoga mats in some poses that I could almost recognize as yoga poses. I don’t think that’s safe – at all! I’m personally concerned about their poor bodies the same way I’m personally concerned about other peoples’ questionable moles – but neither has anything to do with me. I used to make fun of this style of yoga, until I met a few students who told me that was how they found yoga – someone told them it would make their butts look better. Maybe it did? But they also got injured, learned lessons, wrangled demons, and found a different style of yoga.

I’m trying – gently – to offer you something that I have seen in myself – a judgement of someone else calling themselves a yoga teacher doing something I’m categorically opposed to. Someone whose ego is showing, who is maybe a bit rajasic. Someone who highlights in me my own questions of worth – am I a worthy yoga teacher? 

What I am saying is yes – I am a worthy yoga teacher. And so are you. And so is she. Even if you don’t like it. Even if I don’t like it.

When someone says to me, “That’s not yoga!” I think of my dad shouting, “That’s not music!”

Because it isn’t, to you.

But it is to someone.

Want to read more? Check out my tips on How to Ensure Your Yoga Students Never Return

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