Within the greater than decade-long historical past of this weblog, I’ve by no means skilled extra blocks in my writing apply than I’ve within the final 12 months. Inspiration has been briefly provide. I query whether or not this meditation on phrases that when provoked fruitful inquiry in me and its readers has misplaced its relevance. The explanation I began this was so I might say no matter I needed 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 an important fork within the highway for the way forward for yoga in western tradition. Will the knowledge and instruments of our ancestors that enable us to extra readily hear the songs of nature, that harmonize our techniques and setting, be fully misplaced to a reductionist materialism that repurposed them as health regimes? Or will we as soon as once more acknowledge the animistic context during which we reside and embody the practices which might be our birthright?
Commercialization was only a symptom.
Many instances I’ve lamented and decried the rampant commercialization of yoga. A multi-billion greenback trade 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 search out methods of mitigating the financial realities and boundaries 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 treasured to you that there is no such thing as 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 necessary to you that no amount of cash would ever be value it? We offered yoga to the mainstream by making it about energy, 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 degree of compromise that renders the teachings void of their energy and roots.
Is Yoga sacred or not?
On a private degree, for a lot of, yoga is akin to prayer. However to not the market. In truth, to a level, the money-making potential of yoga is probably going tied to its secularization. For many who discovered yoga earlier than it turned widespread, self-empowered spirituality was a welcome reduction from experiences of organized faith in our youth. Nonetheless, in newer years, what has impressed many to apply yoga was rooted in a coercive exploitation of rampant physique dysmorphia greater than any unfolding of non secular goal or route.
Regardless of trade disregard for the spirituality of yoga, its historical practices usually have an unexplainable method of working in a human system. There are occasions when even essentially the most cynical of reductionists can’t deny what they really feel of their hearts after respiration and shifting or chanting in live performance with others. Typically life itself presents us with ordeals that result in profound epiphanies. Relinquishing standard modes of considering and being usually results in experiences which might be unexplainable by scientific or quantitative means. For these not completely entrenched in a materialist mindset, the magic of life, and subsequently yoga, just isn’t some superstition however a matter of observable reality.
We devalue spirit at our personal peril.
Instructing individuals 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 basically neutered the potential for yoga to increase our concepts of what’s doable. By partaking yoga within the context of scientific materialism that guidelines modernity, reasonably than within the animism that our ancestors inhabited, we have now undermined the invaluable presents that yoga gives to humanity and the world.
One of many the explanation why I’ve had such a tough time bringing myself to the ritual of this weblog is that I’ve turn into disenchanted with the power of written phrases to maneuver individuals. For one, studying not appears to command the eye required to speak nuance. Sincere and honest sentiments turn 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 quickly being demonized.
Trying 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 are able to not depend upon 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 reasonably than simply one other try to govern the fabric world.