Sunday, June 21, 2015


Today is International Yoga day.

As an Indian in the U.S., it's sometimes amusing (and i am not sneering here, just an observation) to see what goes on in the name of Yoga. There are roughly three (overlapping) groups of practioners:

a) Those sincere about practice - whether towards improving body, mind or spiritual condition - and also have no qualms about accepting a practice which originates from outside their culture; and saying so openly. This group is also realistic about the time is takes to perfect AsanA-s. A lot of it is about finding a teacher who is enthusiastic and is invested in the student. The teacher may charge for classes (as will definitely happen in the U.S.) but is teaching more out of joy.

b) Those sincere but also awfully gullible. Pay big $ to fly-by-night instructors who may have spent a fortnight in Mysore, India and talk nonsense like "1 week heart-chakra opening workshop". i suspect many in this practicing group also have unrealistic expectations from the practice and drop-out soon disillusioned.

This is a hilarious related piece.

i am sometimes saddened by the commercialization of Yoga here. I understand cost-of-living arguments and that the U.S. is a very different society (everything has a price) but often there doesn't seem to be any emotional commitment from the teacher towards the student. Everything is just a business. Dry.

c) Wants to practice but is loath to say the practice is anything to do with Vedic civilization/ Hinduism/India. So, replace padmAsana with criss-cross apple sauce! I can't for the life of me understand this behavior. Is it wrong to accept something that is good for you from someone else? But thankfully for this group we have glorious 'reputed' experts like Wendy Doniger who, having their own political ends to meet, will supply fancy 'out-of-India' theories for the origin of Yoga.

On International Yoga Day, here's hoping that the proportion in a) increases!

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