why i blog & the state of the yoga blogosphere
Why are you here? This was the lead question in Carol Horton’s post Why Yoga Blogging Matters on elephant journal a couple of weeks ago. It generated a some interesting responses here, here and here, and of course, got me thinking about why I’ve re-entered the yoga blogosphere and what I’m doing here. In preparation for it’s all yoga, baby: the next generation (my pet name for this new phase of being) and next month’s Yogging Heads panel discussion at the Yoga Festival Toronto, here are top 5 reasons I nurture this little corner of the internets.
1) Community – This has been the most exciting thing about blogging. I’ve loved connecting with practitioners and teachers from all over North America, and from other places (such as Emmanuelle from Belgium while she was in Montreal last fall!). This little blog has been my tool for connecting to not just the yoga community, but my local community as well and I’ve ended up getting involved with the Montreal Girl Geeks and WordPress communities.
2) This is what I know – through years of practice, living in an ashram, editing a yoga magazine, being involved in online conversations, dialoguing, debating, and then more practice, I’ve managed to build a body of knowledge about yoga, and I continue to be fascinated by how it fits within North American culture. My inner cultural studies geek likes to observe and analyze, and I’ve come to see the world through a yogic framework. This is my place to comment on what I see.
3) Even when I wasn’t blogging, I was blogging – I was writing blog posts in my head, following the conversations and the direction they took, and cultivating my opinions (although I could never get myself organized to guest post or get involved). I was having real life conversations about these ideas – which in some ways may actually be more rewarding than simply blogging about them. I even ended up starting a locally-sourced community blog project, Yocomo (Yoga Communauté Montréal)
4) The excitement of changing paradigms – yoga (not only blogging about it, but the practice in North America in general) is dealing with many cultural tensions and changes. The immediacy and spontaneity of online publishing allows for bloggers to be on the edge of this paradigm, and perhaps even shape what direction it takes. I believe that the conversations that happen here can change how practitioners relate to each other, how teachers relate to their students, and even how marketers relate to the “yoga market.”
5) Practice – right now, because of a back condition, all of my practice is “off the mat” (except for the time that I spend lying on bolsters and blankets, which feels less like a disciplined practice and more like necessary nourishment). I resonate with Brenda’s observation that blogging can a practice of svadhyaya, self-reflection, and it’s so much more engaging – and life-changing and scary – to share these reflections with others instead of just my notebook. While at first, I feared that not practicing or teaching asana in a class setting gave me less authority as a blogger, I’m now excited about being a non-asana yogi voice in the blogosphere – without being “anti-asana” or holier-than-thou (I hope!). As well, I have a creative writing practice (which seems to have replaced my asana practice these days) that is very internal and introspective, and as an extrovert, I need to send my voice out to the world. And the lit blogging scene just isn’t as dynamic as the yogging scene!
6) Blogging has lead to other work – I’m going to get all practical here and say that I’ve taken what I’ve learned here about community-building, blogging and social media and put it to use in my professional life. I’ve come to see this space as a personal portfolio (and plan to do even more of it). Beyond the yoga blogosphere, I’m really interested in social media for social good, as well as new communication tools and how these can be applied in daily life. It’s cool to speak about yoga blogging at a yoga conference, but even more exciting to introduce the community to a room full of girl geeks or WordPress enthusiasts!
Most importantly… it’s fun! It gives me energy and a sense of connection. My reasons for doing this have changed since I started this blog shortly after the closure of ascent magazine, when I simply wanted a space to apply what I’d learned about yoga, develop my own voice (not the editor’s voice, but my inner burlesque-loving, critical thinking, kinda bratty yogi voice) and maintain the connections I’d built at the magazine. But that’s what it’s all about, right – change, evolution, growth? So: why are you here?