Goat Yoga. Beer Yoga…………..can you add a few more? I’m sure you can.
And therein lies the tragedy – it’s one thing to celebrate that Yoga is today as mainstream as it can get – which is brilliant; but who’s going to bell the cat? And say, ‘Well, this doesn’t really deserve to be called Yoga?’
The challenge is that nobody owns Yoga – since over 4,000 years it’s always been practised and taught by different Gurus all over the Himalayas with slight variations. But the essence has remained the same – a self-enquiry and journey towards Enlightenment. The methods and practices may have varied, but the aim remained the same. Obviously, we can’t say that today. And yet it seems everyone is scared to say that this isn’t really yoga.
Without sounding prudish – we’re talking about an ancient tradition here. Yoga is arguably the world’s oldest, ongoing research into the human condition and methods for self-improvement. The word ‘Yogi’ was reverred all over the Indian sub-continent for millennnia. It’s a title to be earned through lots of practice, and transformation of Body. Mind and Spirit. It isn’t a term you can conveniently appropriate. Right? You get the drift? Let’s not belittle the journey of a Yogi and convert a PhD study into a kindergarten subject.
Instagram has fuelled an image of a Yogi as a posture-crazy, often minimally clad poser. Yes, Asana is an integral part of Yoga, and if Insta inspires one and all to take up Asanas – that’s fantastic. I do understand that you have to be an incredibly gifted storyteller, to teach the intangible via Instagram or even through a blog. But we do also have a responsibility to introduce more of yoga than just what meets the eye. At least I think that way.
CHAMPAGNE: You can’t call it Champagne unless it grows there!
Here’s an interesting analogy. When the people of Chanmpagne realised that their provence’s name was being misappropriated; they worked together to ensure that the word Champagne only refers to wines from that provence. Of course, you could still produce sparkling wines anywhere in the world – only, you don’t call it Champagne! You simply call it sparkling wine. I think the same is now appicable for Darjeeling tea and many more products.
Can we do the same with Yoga? The word Yoga is super-attractive and gets people to try out the class – but wouldn’t it be better to call it something else? Try Beer Balance challenge? Or Goat & Me workshop? Or even Asanas on Trapeze for Aerial yoga ….the list could go on. As creators of new formats and interesting workshops – it’s our responsibility to remember the great lumiraries – Yogis who’ve dedicated their lifetime fine-tuning practices that would lead them to Enlightenment; and then Teaching them to us through history. Let’s think about Gautam Buddha, Patanjali and many more legendary yogis, before we think of trivialising the word ‘Yoga!’
by MANISH POLE >>
Yoga & Meditation Teacher, Wellness Speaker & Blogger, co-Founder of Total Yoga.
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