I have been practicing pilates for six years and yoga for one year. I evangelize both practices because they’ve completely changed my life. They’ve transformed my body and given me self-discipline and strength. My physical practice is a cornerstone of my identity.
My mother was a runner for thirty years and now she swims. She pushes swimming on me the way I talk about yoga with people. She constantly tries to get me to the pool and even once told me we were going shopping and then drove to the pool instead (even after I’d declined her offer of a swim). I have found what works for me and she has found what works for her.
Tonight, she talked to me about swimming and how it has helped her with her stiffness, discomfort, and stress. I understood that she was trying to motivate me to go to the pool. I told her that she could stop evangelizing swimming to me.
This was a humbling moment for me because I realized this also meant that I don’t have to evangelize my own practice to other people. Just because yoga and pilates work for me doesn’t mean they will work for other people or that other people are even interested in my practices. My cousin Antonia’s mother has been practicing yoga for years, but Antonia prefers running. My friend Stefanie loves lifting weights and aunt Joan would rather play squash or tennis. Everyone finds what works for them, and just because something works for me doesn’t mean I have any business pushing it on anyone else.
I realize I can still be passionate about my practice but keep it to myself (or within the appropriate context of people who also enjoy yoga). There is a time and a place for everything. This is just a new lesson in discernment and appropriateness.