What would you say if someone guaranteed you a more fulfilling life that required no cutting out of gluten, no traveling to the opposite side of the world, no breaking the bank on the newest healing modality or all-natural plant-based organic product, no sweating it out in front of the latest exercise stream from LA, no need to own a vitamix, no need to follow GP’s diet or beauty routine? Would you be interested? I would.
The wellness industry has hit an all time high of $3.7 trillion and according to the 2018 Global Wellness Summit this number is only going to increase due to rising industry trends like magic mushrooms and feminist wellness. The wellness industry is three times the size of the pharmaceutical industry in this country.
Personally, it’s mind blowing when I think back to when I would throw on my coveted ripped serenity tights (you Patagonia die hards know exactly which ones I mean!) and drive half an hour to practice Ashtanga in the upstairs of a church in Bristol Vermont. I remember traveling in the airport with my yoga mat slung across my back: “What is that?” people asked me again and again. “It’s a yoga mat,” I explained. “A what?”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled the wellness industry is booming. I’m a yoga teacher. I have two graduate degrees in mental health. I believe whole heartedly in wellness, mindfulness, and wholeness. I’m a HUGE wellness consumer on the intellectual and commodity side.
But when the pendulum swings, it must go from one extreme to the other before settling into a place of neutrality. And I’m afraid the wellness industry is far from landing a balanced identity in our culture, despite its exponential growth.
Where I once found peace, humility and authenticity, I now find more egoism and elitism. Where I once went to empower myself from the inside out, I now find it easier to doubt myself from the outside in. In today’s world of wellness, there’s a new dress code (albeit a softer one says the wellness platform Well + Good). There’s a lot of waiting lists. There’s opportunity after opportunity to spend spend spend on persons places and things that will purportedly heal us. I mean we all need that cushion to sit on, that crystal to hold, that incense to burn, that candle to light, that app to listen to, that scarf to wear, that oil to smell when we meditate- right? This is what I mean, the pendulum is almost full circle back to where it started on the other side! Are you following me? The Patagonia tights (even though their maker is suing the President) have been replaced with Lululemon leggings (even though their maker has been sued numerous times for discriminating against women, false advertising, and poor product quality).
I want the wellness industry to make money. I want all of my fellow yoga teachers and healers and counselors and therapists and bodyworkers and acupuncturists and entrepreneurs to make it BIG. I want to make it BIG. But I want us to do it by practicing what we preach. We have some work to do. The wellness industry needs to be democratized. Our focus needs to be brought back IN. We need to remind ourselves as well as our students that there is NOTHING we can buy “out there” that is going to heal us “in here”. Getting on your mat will heal. Getting active will heal. Being supportive will heal. Finding support will heal. Connecting will heal. Being of service will heal. Meditating will heal. Practicing what we preach will heal.
So it’s time for me to get out of my basement where I’ve been practicing (and let’s be honest here: streaming) for the past 6 months (where, among other things, I’ve discovered yoga clothes really are overrated) and get Blue Light Yoga back out there. I need all of you to help me practice what I preach, to be able to give what I’ve got to give. So starting March 5, I’ll be teaching every Monday 915-1030 AM at the lovely Tree Top Yoga Studio in Gloucester. I’ll be taking over my dear friend Erin Carney’s class. If you haven’t had a chance to practice with her, do it before she leaves for Bali at the end of the month. You won’t regret it. She’s a find.
In addition, I’ll be teaching a workshop for teachers on assisting their students on March 24 from 2-4pm at Treetop. You can register here.
Finally, if you like reading my Blue Light thoughts, stay tuned for The Blue Mantle: a blog on my pursuit to practice what I preach; and the Blue Light Collective: a collaboration with my husband Roo and all things and people we love.