The Yoga Bully

by Ro Chapa

After almost twenty years of practicing yoga - not just the physical movement but the seven limbs that are helpful guides to bliss - I am still blown away to see how ego can deconstruct and change a person. I have coined the phrase “Yoga Bully” to describe it; these are people who wear the right yoga clothes, jewelry, are tattooed in the right places, talk like yogis, go to India to “pray”, but they just ain’t right!

I recently had a weird universal turn of events where my trust for someone else was tested. I sense a Yoga Bully, don’t you? After a while I found out that the slow and methodical way in which this person was being manipulated was by ego, fed regularly, with light sprinkles of gifts and heaping praise from those who sought refuge in the practice. (I’ll spare you the details as they are as old as time and just as boring.) Viola! My trust was obliterated, but oddly enough, as I heard this information, I was gripped by the sense of inner silence, almost a euphoric sense that all was right in the world. Yes, I know I should have been yelling in the middle of JFK airport when I got the news, but I stood in silence while the sound of late arrival and flight information spewed around me. I was at peace.

The question in my mind during this partnership was: What is my intention with this? I knew that my intention all along was (and still is) to teach others to be better versions of themselves, to be brave enough to be afraid, to take chances and seek the advice of others with more experience, not to look for bliss as something you get when you die, but something to experience in every moment of every day you live. That’s my yoga.

Immediately after the news/cosmic turn of events, I was bombarded with enough supportive notes, cards, letters and emails to choke a tofu horse! I guess that’s the good thing about doing something for the right reasons - you get universal blasts of love to sustain you during the transition, when platitudes just won’t do.

I find myself talking like an odd guest on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart who pokes fun of himself and needs a teleprompter because his publicist (my fellow yogis) are horrified by his candor! I can’t help it. Yoga teaches us to be our true selves, not to hurt others and to live in our truth. Some truths are a bit harder to take, so buckle up if the Travel Lady lets this one through the gate! Who knows what the future holds?

Stay True, Be Cool and Do No Harm,

Ro Chapa has been a professional educator and yoga instructor for nearly twenty years; teaching both in the U.S. and abroad.