Yoga Talk Podcast 9: Yoga Guilt

with Yoga International

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Sometimes yoga—or at least yoga culture and our ideas and expectations about yoga—can be the cause of our guilt: guilt about not practicing long enough or hard enough, guilt about taking time out to practice, or guilt about not buying/wearing/eating/doing what we think a “good yogi” should be buying/wearing/eating/doing. When is guilt useful and when is it not? And how can we be nicer to ourselves? 

Talking points include:

Guilt specifically related to yoga

  • We're not talking about ignoring one’s conscience, but being kind to ourselves, examining the “shoulds,” and questioning where our expectations for ourselves and for other practitioners come from.

Guilt related to practice

Guilt related to yoga culture

Kat's list of things she's felt “yoga guilt” about:

  • Not spending money on an expensive weekend workshop
  • Spending too much money on an expensive weekend workshop
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Hitting my snooze button repeatedly and sleeping too much (because “yogis don’t need much sleep, really”)
  • Not doing a juice cleanse
  • Not wanting to do a juice cleanse
  • Not going to yoga class even when I’ve already practiced at home
  • Eating a fruit and yogurt parfait/eating fruit for dessert (ayurvedic perspective) 
  • Whiskey and diet soda (but only the diet soda part)
  • Drinking coffee
  • Drinking coffee at Starbucks
  • Enjoying the coffee at Starbucks
  • Not wearing Lululemon pants
  • Wearing Lululemon pants
  • Feeling angry
  • Feeling sad
  • Feeling anxious
  • Feeling anything
  • Being too stoic and unfeeling (the only one not to cry at that expensive weekend workshop)
  • Enjoying asana more than meditation
  • Eating processed sugar
  • Eating gluten
  • Not eating gluten
  • Wanting to go to Berlin more than I want to go to India
  • Disliking drum circles
  • Only listening to yoga music in yoga class (and listening to Liz Phair and Nirvana when I practice alone)
  • Genuinely liking “mainstream” commercial things like amusement parks. Even Disney World. Especially Disney World.
  • Cheeseburgers
  • Wearing high heels
  • Not really caring about pedicures
  • Internet cat videos
  • Not really enjoying that $9 yoga smoothie and being hungry enough after to walk across the street for a giant brownie
  • Not shopping at Whole Foods
  • Shopping at Whole Foods
  • Skipping shavasana
  • Making lists about yoga guilt instead of meditating

How yoga can help us process guilt


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Download mp3 (right click, select “Save link as”) 
Our intro and outro is “Namaste Nation” by The Householders. Listen to the whole thing on their Soundcloud page:

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Related Topics

Yoga International

Yoga International

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