Within the greater than decade-long historical past of this weblog, I’ve by no means skilled extra blocks in my writing observe than I’ve within the final yr. Inspiration has been briefly provide. I query whether or not this meditation on phrases that after provoked fruitful inquiry in me and its readers has misplaced its relevance. The rationale I began this was so I might say no matter I wished about yoga with out censor and, frankly, I’m frightened by how inhibited I really feel to remain true to that.
This coincides with what appears to me a vital fork within the highway for the way forward for yoga in western tradition. Will the knowledge and instruments of our ancestors that permit us to extra readily hear the songs of nature, that harmonize our programs and atmosphere, be utterly misplaced to a reductionist materialism that repurposed them as health regimes? Or will we as soon as once more acknowledge the animistic context through which we stay and embody the practices which are our birthright?
Commercialization was only a symptom.
Many occasions I’ve lamented and decried the rampant commercialization of yoga. A multi-billion greenback business of yoga-related merchandise, constructed on the attract of each a lithe physique and enlightened thoughts, appeared like the first impediment to genuine yoga transmission. Myself and others have struggled to seek out methods of mitigating the financial realities and obstacles to creating a residing by yoga with integrity. But, underlying the appropriation of yoga for capitalistic ends is a a lot deeper wound within the collective psyche.
Is there any object in your life that’s so valuable to you that there isn’t a worth you’d half with it for? Maybe it’s an object that carries no explicit financial worth however represents or signifies one thing so significant and essential to you that no amount of cash would ever be value it? We offered yoga to the mainstream by making it about power, flexibility and stress discount. We altered the pedagogy to make it extra handy to devour. However, in doing so, we opened the door to a stage of compromise that renders the teachings void of their energy and roots.
Is Yoga sacred or not?
On a private stage, for a lot of, yoga is akin to prayer. However to not the market. In reality, to a level, the money-making potential of yoga is probably going tied to its secularization. For individuals who discovered yoga earlier than it grew to become standard, self-empowered spirituality was a welcome reduction from experiences of organized faith in our youth. Nonetheless, in newer years, what has impressed many to observe yoga was rooted in a coercive exploitation of rampant physique dysmorphia greater than any unfolding of non secular objective or path.
Regardless of business disregard for the spirituality of yoga, its historic practices typically have an unexplainable manner of working in a human system. There are occasions when even probably the most cynical of reductionists can’t deny what they really feel of their hearts after respiration and transferring or chanting in live performance with others. Generally life itself presents us with ordeals that result in profound epiphanies. Relinquishing standard modes of pondering and being typically results in experiences which are unexplainable by scientific or quantitative means. For these not solely entrenched in a materialist mindset, the magic of life, and subsequently yoga, isn’t some superstition however a matter of observable truth.
We devalue spirit at our personal peril.
Educating individuals how you can align their our bodies into positions and tailoring practices to emphasise the potential for bodily profit might have confirmed to be higher at producing wealth whereas providing some quantity of assist to individuals, however this has additionally primarily neutered the potential for yoga to broaden our concepts of what’s potential. By partaking yoga within the context of scientific materialism that guidelines modernity, moderately than within the animism that our ancestors inhabited, we have now undermined the invaluable items that yoga gives to humanity and the world.
One of many explanation why I’ve had such a tough time bringing myself to the ritual of this weblog is that I’ve develop into disenchanted with the flexibility of written phrases to maneuver individuals. For one, studying not appears to command the eye required to speak nuance. Sincere and honest sentiments develop into grossly misinterpreted or manipulated to serve preconceived agendas that not solely bely intent however are designed to disempower individuals. Something that challenges predominant narratives is instantly being demonized.
Making an attempt to speak about spirit, or something that can not be simply measured or named, feels dangerous after we are being so immediately confronted by uncertainties. However it’s now apparent that prevailing worldviews are failing us terribly and we will not rely on establishments which have devolved into forces of oppression greater than empowerment. If we really consider that yoga has a job to play then our greatest likelihood for therapeutic and alter is to acknowledge it as a way of understanding consciousness and spirit moderately than simply one other try to control the fabric world.