You hear mixed reviews about yoga in India. I think expectations are very high because it is the 'home' of yoga, and you want it to mean something more than just popping down to your local studio, and get a bit disappointed when you've travelled half way around the plant to be taught by another Westerner who, just like you, is trying to 'find themselves', or something like that!
Now, having had the chance to be taught by a true Indian yoga guru I will admit that I am still definitively in the 'Western Style Yoga' camp (as our teacher Mr. Gupta called it). I like moving about a lot, I like sweating, and I need big distractions to quieten my mind.
Having said that, learning about traditional yoga from Mr. Gupta was profound.
"Yoga is a lifestyle" is a phase I hear bandied around a lot by instructors, on social media and from my own mouth (!) but when you meet someone who is truly committed to that way of life, you know it and that suddenly that phase actually means something.
Yoga was not always about handstands and expensive pants. It was about making sure you can get up and down off the floor with ease, that you can go to the loo 3 times per day (!), that you treat yourself, others, and world around you with respect.
I will probably go on buying yoga pants I can't afford, and will continue to desperately try and handstand like the Southern Yogi, and I probably won't sit and meditate as much as tradition prescribes, or try to forcefully make myself fart in public in the name of following a yogic lifestyle!
But when I am back to the grind of real life, and my thoughts and actions start to drift further than I'd like from the yogic ideals, I know I will think of Mr. Gupta and it will bring me closer to those traditions he is fiercely upholding. Thank you for sharing your time, energy and knowledge with Simon and I.