Is Pure Yoga Really Pure?

Bryan Kest teaching a yoga class with three students

“Pure Yoga” can mean many things to many people.

Like many studio names, class names, and style names, so many people are looking to differentiate themselves and their classes, styles and studios with cool, interesting names that attract people and work well in branding. For example, “Pure Hot Yoga” sounds pretty catchy. Yet, there is no Indian yoga lineage with this name. Sometimes the name of a studio, class, or style can be descriptive, pertaining to the contents and emphasis of the studio, style, and/or class. Yet, I’m not sure how that would describe anything besides the fact that you are getting yoga. 

These days, in order to stay profitable and viable, so many yoga studios are adding different types of fitness classes like pilates, weights, and spinning. Many studios are taking traditional yoga poses and combining them with other fitness modalities, for example, some studios and classes are adding ankle and wrist weights and small dumbbells to the poses creating a class that’s more focused on building strength over other things. Then, of course, you have 90% of yoga classes adding music especially in the form of a playlist to the classes. So, basically us westerners and Americans, specifically, are getting very creative and merging yoga with fitness and creating a lot of cool content. Many of these classes are using or borrowing yoga poses but it’s a long way away from traditional yoga in the sense that traditional yoga’s goal was not fitness it was wellness. So, the benefits of classes such as “pure power yoga” really depend on the particular class as that name could mean different things.

Wellness is not interested in cultivating anything aesthetic, you could say wellness is about feeling good not looking good. One reason for this is simply because looking good can feed one’s ego and build attachments which ultimately lead to suffering because the underlying law of our universe is “Change.” So, the more attached you are to anything the more you will suffer (yogic science.) Yet, there is another reason which is important to acknowledge when the goal is wellness and that is the damage one ultimately does to oneself trying to force one’s body to fit some shape or image it was never meant to look like in order to appease one’s ego or vanity. This is the image we all have been spoon-fed since the time we opened our eyes by our media and our culture. There is a psychological law that says “the more one sees something, the more one believes it.” We have all grown up being spoon-fed these images of what beautiful looks like. If we and everyone else don’t fit this image we do not see ourselves as beautiful. So, then many embark towards activities that force this particular image of beauty onto themselves, and may lean towards classes with the name “Pure Yoga and Fitness.” Unfortunately, this process not only strengthens this idea that one is not beautiful but ultimately wreaks havoc on our bodies as the transformation from how one naturally looks to how one is supposed to look is physically destructive. It may not appear so initially, yet ultimately the body breaks down from the abuse laid onto it. After all, the universal law states “the harder you are on anything the faster you destroy it.”

Maybe Pure Yoga is simply the name of a studio, style, or class that has added nothing to the yoga practice. No weights, spinning, pilates, or music. In this case, Power Yoga offers live pure yoga classes through its pre-recorded and daily LIVE streaming classes. Any tone or shapeliness acquired from taking a Bryan Kest Power Yoga class is a by-product, as the goal is wellness not beauty. Yet, somehow these classes are the ultimate well-rounded fitness experience. Don’t believe me? Then give it a try for free, then you will agree, and if you still don’t, I’d love to know why!

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