Like Joey, I’ve been digging into my copy of the most recent edition of Namarupa (which given the demand for it, I’m considering flogging on ebay – heh heh just kidding). The interviews with ‘The Next Generation’ are particularly interesting and I’m especially taken with Prashant Iyengar’s take on things yogic. He mostly restrains himself throughout the article but every so often he lets down his diplomatic guard and fires off something strident. Here’s an example that hit the right note for me and the way I’m thinking lately about the ‘Journal’ masses these days…
We cannot expect that millions are practicing real yoga just because millions of people claim to be doing yoga all over the globe. What has spread all over the world is not yoga. It is not even non-yoga; it is Un-yoga.
There you go. What’s going on in the guise of Yoga is not just the ‘absence of yoga’ but rather worse than even that…the opposite of Yoga. I remember wandering around the floor at the International Yoga show just over a year ago and thinking it was all just too much. We all need to wear something at practice, we all need a mat…but do we need to have those clothes and those mats – or a different outfit and mat for each day. And yoga socks? Why on earth would I need yoga socks?
I’m not for that. I practice in shorts I bought five years ago for something like $12.00 – Darby and Lino have both adjusted me and they didn’t have anything to say about those shorts. They’re not even real shorts (let alone yoga shorts) – I actually think they might be for swimming. Having said that, I did come to yoga for its physical benefits – the exercise of asanas and the diet and lifestyle implied by yama. And it was because I didn’t see the physical benefits coming fast enough that I switched to the rigour of the SKPJ style. The rest I only opened my eyes to later. Indeed, I’ve only been delving into the Gita and the Yoga Sutras for just over a year.
So maybe there’s hope. The optimist in me thinks that Yoga isn’t in fact being trivialised by Western vanity and commercialism, but rather that the asanas and the paraphenalia it requires are the metaphorical Trojan horse’ – the seductive tool that opens the door for the other more ‘subversive’ elements that assault the ego and subdue its materialist mindset.