Yogis (of any school of thought) often shout the benefits of their practice from the rooftops. We say that yoga is for everyone. Everyone should try it. Everyone should meditate. It’s yoga dogma – black and white.
We should know better than that. The world – and yoga – is never so clear cut. In this piece by Tomas Rocha, published by the Atlantic, we hear from a group of people who are in treatment after having severe, adverse reactions to meditation. For these individuals, meditation is curse rather than cure.
Yoga and meditation isn’t for everyone. Nothing ever is. And if your experience with yoga or meditation is negative and it doesn’t feel right, you should be able to stop without triggering a judgment within the yoga community. As Dr. Willoughby Britton, who is studying these meditation-induced afflictions, says at the end of the article:
“I understand the resistance,” says Britton, in response to critics who have attempted to silence or dismiss her work. “There are parts of me that just want meditation to be all good. I find myself in denial sometimes, where I just want to forget all that I’ve learned and go back to being happy about mindfulness and promoting it, but then I get another phone call and meet someone who’s in distress, and I see the devastation in their eyes, and I can’t deny that this is happening. As much as I want to investigate and promote contemplative practices and contribute to the well-being of humanity through that, I feel a deeper commitment to what’s actually true.”