Within the greater than decade-long historical past of this weblog, I’ve by no means skilled extra blocks in my writing follow 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 may 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 an important fork within the street 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 surroundings, 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 by which we dwell and embody the practices which can be 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 search out methods of mitigating the financial realities and obstacles to creating a residing via 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’ll half with it for? Maybe it’s an object that carries no specific financial worth however represents or signifies one thing so significant and necessary to you that no sum of money 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 eat. 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. Actually, to a level, the money-making potential of yoga is probably going tied to its secularization. For many who discovered yoga earlier than it grew to become fashionable, self-empowered spirituality was a welcome reduction from experiences of organized faith in our youth. Nevertheless, in more moderen years, what has impressed many to follow yoga was rooted in a coercive exploitation of rampant physique dysmorphia greater than any unfolding of religious goal or path.
Regardless of business disregard for the spirituality of yoga, its historic practices typically have an unexplainable means 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 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 can be unexplainable by scientific or quantitative means. For these not totally entrenched in a materialist mindset, the magic of life, and due to this fact yoga, just isn’t some superstition however a matter of observable truth.
We devalue spirit at our personal peril.
Instructing individuals the right way to 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 develop our concepts of what’s doable. By participating yoga within the context of scientific materialism that guidelines modernity, quite than within the animism that our ancestors inhabited, we’ve undermined the invaluable items that yoga presents 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 out to be disenchanted with the flexibility of written phrases to maneuver individuals. For one, studying now not appears to command the eye required to speak nuance. Trustworthy and honest sentiments turn out to be 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 now not depend upon establishments which have devolved into forces of oppression greater than empowerment. If we actually consider that yoga has a task to play then our greatest probability for therapeutic and alter is to acknowledge it as a method of understanding consciousness and spirit quite than simply one other try to govern the fabric world.