Join 3,520 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Tags:

the ownership of Yoga
November 28, 2010 8:57 AM   Subscribe

Take Back Yoga : A group of Indian-Americans have ignited a surprisingly fierce debate in the gentle world of yoga by mounting a campaign to acquaint Westerners with the faith that it says underlies every single yoga style followed in gyms, ashrams and spas: Hinduism. The campaign, labeled “Take Back Yoga,” does not ask yoga devotees to become Hindu, or instructors to teach more about Hinduism ... but only that people become more aware of yoga’s debt to the faith’s ancient traditions.
posted by dhruva (66 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
You'd have to be incredibly ignorant to not be aware that yoga is an ancient Hindu tradition.

These concerned people are tilting at windmills. They should take a deep breath & relax a bit.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:12 AM on November 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


You'd have to be incredibly ignorant to not be aware that yoga is an ancient Hindu tradition.


I thought this guy invented it.
posted by jonmc at 9:15 AM on November 28, 2010


That was a pretty good demonstration of footinmouthasana.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:22 AM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


strange to find myself agreeing with Deepak Chopra.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 9:28 AM on November 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I hope the Jews never try to Take Back Chicken Soup.
posted by Curious Artificer at 9:32 AM on November 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


...does not ask yoga devotees to become Hindu, or instructors to teach more about Hinduism ... but only that people become more aware of yoga’s debt to the faith’s ancient traditions.

As long as they aren't demanding that we put a copy of the Rigveda in front of yoga centers.
posted by DU at 9:34 AM on November 28, 2010


As long as we are taking stuff back. I'm taking.......

Fuck I got nothing.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:38 AM on November 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


You'd have to be incredibly ignorant to not be aware that yoga is an ancient Hindu tradition.

Nobody ever went broke underestimating the ignorance of the American public.

Yoga is almost exclusively marketed in the United States as exercise. The various poses of hatha yoga have been simplified and stripped of their original function -- as a way of purifying the body in advance of meditation, which has likewise been extracted from yoga. In fact, almost all purification elements of tradition yoga have been stripped from American yoga. If you look at the complete practice of hatha, I would estimate that roughly 90 percent of it -- all corresponding to the spiritual aspects -- are not regularly taught when yoga is taught at gyms and whatnot.

And how is yoga as exercise? It seems to be all right, for something that wasn't really designed as exercise, at least at the early levels. It increases flexibility and circulation. It's seems to be a pretty good way to warm up for exercises. Better than, say, just stretching and limbering up? I've never seen any evidence of that. There is some hand-waving about it helping to balance the body and the spirit, which amount to stripping down the original spiritual purpose of the poses to undefined, indemonstrable new age phraseology. There are a lot of aspects of exercise that yoga doesn't cover, and at the level most people do it, it's very low impact, so there's little cardiovascular value and it barely burns any calories.

Of course, as it gets more advanced, you get exercises that do provide these benefits. But, also, at the more advanced levels, the failings of yoga as an exercise become more pronounced. We're starting to see a lot of yaga-related injuries, including carotid artery tears, bulging intervertebral discs, rotator cuff injuries, ganglion cysts, compression of the spine, and hyperextension of the neck. If we are to approach yoga as an exercise, we need to seriously consider how effective ancient religious purification rituals are as exercise. They really weren't meant for that, they may be much worse at it than a lot of more mainstream exercises, and there are real risks of injury as a result.

I say this as someone who has done yoga, on and off, since I was 16 -- 28 years. It's got a lot going for it, and I don't mean to minimize that. But it is a religious practice, and only secondarily an exercise, and I think there are real risks to it becoming a fad, as it has. One of these risks is that people might not get the benefits from it that they would get from something designed as exercise -- like, say, pilates. The other is that an ancient spiritual practice might be commodified to the point that its spiritual element is gone, despite the fact that this was its primary intention, and in place we will have a less than ideal exercise that has become unaccountably attractive to millions of Americans who leap into it without knowing the first thing about it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:42 AM on November 28, 2010 [61 favorites]


I hope the Jews never try to Take Back Chicken Soup.

I always give thanks to Jehovah as I take my first sips of a proper chicken soup (ie: not out of a can or any other form of package). Props where they are due.

And as a Canadian, I was thinking of taking back Bryan Adams, Celine Dion and that Bieber brat. But you know what? Y'all can keep them.
posted by philip-random at 9:54 AM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


If we are to approach yoga as an exercise, we need to seriously consider how effective ancient religious purification rituals are as exercise. They really weren't meant for that, they may be much worse at it than a lot of more mainstream exercises, and there are real risks of injury as a result.

Brings to mind a recent moment I had with a physio-therapist.

ME: "What's your take on Yoga?"
SHE: "It's great for my business."
posted by philip-random at 10:01 AM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I read the article and I'm still not sure why it would it matter if something non-Hindu people do to improve flexibility, stretch, and relax has it's roots in Hinduism. Do we need to identify the roots of everything that might be traced back to a religious ceremonies or practices? Like should Christians and Jews trying to "Take Back The Weekend" or something?
posted by Hoopo at 10:03 AM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yoga is as explicitly connected with Hinduism as Christmas is with Christianity, and Christians are pretty excited about the secularization of Christmas.
posted by ChuraChura at 10:05 AM on November 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


And as a Canadian, I was thinking of taking back Bryan Adams, Celine Dion and that Bieber brat.

Oh, but we do Philip...everytime I've been abroad with other Canadians, I've noticed that a Canadian celebrity cannot be named in conversation without one of us pointing out--just in case someone might not know--that they are in fact a Canadian celebrity.
posted by Hoopo at 10:07 AM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


First they took Unix. Then, gifs. Then java. And now, yoga!
posted by Obscure Reference at 10:08 AM on November 28, 2010


I'm surprised that the NY Times article didn't mention Mark Singleton's recent book, which argues that most of the physical postures of hatha yoga, as it is practiced in the west, originated in 19th-century Scandinavia, not ancient India.
posted by brianogilvie at 10:12 AM on November 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


an ancient spiritual practice might be commodified to the point that its spiritual element is gone

Recently I've been thinking about Buddhism without beliefs, non-theistic and non faith-based spiritual practice as Eastern traditions of different kinds, like Buddhism, meditation or yoga, come West. With Westerners' tendency towards cults of personality, I don't think the Eastern guru tradition has or will find healthy roots in the West but has tended towards ugly cultic enmeshment with all its nasty consequences, like being financially, socially, sexually ripped off.

I've met many spiritually awake but emotionally/socially crippled people. In particular, teachers (Hindu or Buddhist) who sexually abused their disciples (either male or female), were alcoholic or who were part of nasty messes. When a person considers him or herself spiritual or is considered spiritual by others, in my experience, it is no guarantee that that person is ethical or a person of integrity.

In both the Hindu and Buddhist traditions there are stories of spiritually powerful people whose intentions were not benevolent.

With that in mind, I think it is possible to practice non religion or non faith based meditation and/or yoga. What the practitioner does with the benefits is up to them, whether that is a spiritual or non-spiritual or their life.

I say viva non religion based yoga and meditation.
posted by nickyskye at 10:13 AM on November 28, 2010 [11 favorites]


The Hindu "religion" was invented by the British.
From another article:
"Around the turn of the 19th century, officials of the British colonial state and Christian missionaries helped cement the idea that regional and sectarian traditions in India possessed a sufficient coherence to be construed as a single, systematic religion. This encounter was deeply shaded by the articulation and development of the concept of “religion”, and it produced the now common idea that Hinduism is a unified religion."

And from another article: "As Amartya Sen has argued in his recent work The Argumentative Indian, Hinduism is simply too diverse to speak of in one single breath. Therefore, the prevalent definition of Hinduism (as in the stereotype used in the public domain today) may well have been invented during the high noon of colonialism. "
posted by Faze at 10:15 AM on November 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


Christians are pretty excited about the secularization of Christmas.

Yes, and many of us laugh and dismiss their concerns as crazy and/or baseless. That non-Christians may celebrate Christmas does not take away from Christian belief. In Japan they eat KFC on Christmas because Col. Sanders looks like Santa. Christianity rolls on.

With the weekend analogy, weekends (like yoga) are something that despite religious roots can be seen as a good idea with benefits anyone can enjoy whether they observe the religious element or not. Knowledge of the origin shouldn't be a necessary precondition of participating.
posted by Hoopo at 10:19 AM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


People get fighty with me at the gym when they try to drag me to a class and I tell them I don't do yoga-they act as if I am trying to insult them (I'm not, they can do it if they want, I don't want to)-and here Hindu practitioners are, if not precisely agreeing with me, at least making the same points I do when it comes up.

It IS disrespectful to commandeer a religious practice for secular exercise. And it is NOT wrong for me as a Christian believer to decline to do yoga. (If you wanna lead me in a stretch, and CALL it a stretch, and let me breath how the heck I want during the stretch, I will stretch. But don't make me do yoga!)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:21 AM on November 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


It IS disrespectful to commandeer a religious practice for secular exercise.

What? Why? It's awesome. Take the bit of awesome from the wealth of ridiculous and enjoy what it brings to your life. Score!
posted by xmutex at 10:25 AM on November 28, 2010 [13 favorites]


*whether that is a spiritual or non-spiritual part of their life
posted by nickyskye at 10:28 AM on November 28, 2010


Clearly, the whole discussion has now gone down to what 'Hinduism' is; I'm one of those people who prefers to identify as an Advaitist, always felt that term explains my belief system better than somehow associating it with the Persian corruption of 'Sindhu', a river that, while appearing in the pantheon of punya nadhi's ('holy rivers'), really doesn't mean much to me or the philosophical heritage my ancestors have bequeathed me.

However, Dr Chopra's argument is mystifying; he somehow seems to be making a distinction between Vedic-era knowledge and later (the epics? Bhakti movement?) without saying why it is significant. It clearly is; Vedic-era prayers, beliefs, theology etc are quite different from the later Shaivaite-Vaishnavaite schism. But why is it significant in the context of belief or yoga? And more importantly, why isn't Vedanta Hinduism? Dr Chopra is quite silent on this, preferring to reply with a frustrating and, frankly, ridiculous, everyone-knows-this summary.

While I agree more with Dr Shukla's position - it is indeed ludicrous to suggest that yoga predates the belief system it is associated with - I'm quite uncomfortable in saying this somehow 'disenfranchises' Hindus, and that he bases his otherwise valid points on some unstated notion of respect.

He'd have a better point to make had he talked about how even secular thought takes on a belief-based avatar in Indian (not Hindu) life, so much so that, in addition to regular worship, there's also a metaphorical, po-mo-isque "worship" that's clearly is at play here. Examples abound: The soldiers at the Sikkim border believe that they are protected from the harsh elements in an undemarcated border by the soul of a soldier who went missing in the 60's. The (otherwise secular) army honors their belief by promoting this soldier regularly, sending his bags home every six months and otherwise pretending he was alive. The secular government of Andhra Pradesh venerates the Telugu language as Telugu Talli - Mother Telugu, complete with a statue outside the Secretariat.

Such forms of "worship", are of course an age-old tradition. For instance, I've recently been reading the works of the 15th century ruler Sri Krishnadevaraya, an epic poem called Amuktamaalyada, a surprisingly complex verse with a lot of nuance and a historical context, a tale of how a girl falls in 'love' with the lord Vishnu and how Vishnu later marries her. One amazing aspect was that the verse started with an invocation to not Sri Maha Vishnu, but to Srimad Andhra Maha Vishnu, the Telugu language personified as lord Vishnu. That would make the poem not a religious hymn, but a (secular) hymn to the Telugu language, with (regular, religious) belief as a metaphor of sorts.

Why is yoga "worship" then? Because the asanaas aren't central to worship; nobody does yoga as part of a religious ritual. They are, however, "worship" in that they take on religious metaphors for physiological and psychological stretching, as it were, Dr Shukla's examples of Gomukhasana being a perfect case-in-point.

As for his worries about yoga being somehow seen detached from its "worship" roots, well, has he seen Incredible India ads lately?
posted by the cydonian at 10:28 AM on November 28, 2010 [19 favorites]


That's America guys, and it's beautiful. People will remix and appropriate exactly what they see as useful and good, and not a bit more than that. The culture may be yours, but once people start doing their own thing with it then you don't "own" it any more. Sorry.
posted by 1adam12 at 10:38 AM on November 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Geez, they're all using the Avatar font already, what more do you want?
posted by Artw at 10:46 AM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


My ears were burning.
posted by yoga at 10:47 AM on November 28, 2010 [13 favorites]


Yoga originated from Hinduism just like aqueducts originated from the Muslim world. But guess what? Everybody owns them now.
posted by dobie at 10:52 AM on November 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


But wait...do i have to become jewish, or can i just pick and choose kaballah stuff as i see fit? Im loving the string on britney's wrist.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:54 AM on November 28, 2010


Take back ancient Egyptian religion.
posted by binturong at 10:55 AM on November 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


The culture may be yours, but once people start doing their own thing with it then you don't "own" it any more. Sorry.

Fuck yeah, America. In fact, we won't just appropriate your culture, we'll try to legally own it!

Indian officials announced yesterday that they would lodge official complaints with US authorities over hundreds of yoga-related patents, copyrights and trademarks that have been issued in recent years.

“How can you patent yoga – something that has been in the public domain for thousands of years?” said Verghese Samuel, joint secretary of the Ministry of Health department for yoga and other traditional practices. “It’s a ridiculous decision,” he told The Times. “We’ll have to challenge it. We’ve already started the process.”
posted by naju at 10:59 AM on November 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oops, proper link
posted by naju at 11:01 AM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Damn, I was hoping we were talking about American yoga instructors patenting centuries old techniques and what India is doing to try to counter this.

I'm a big fan of American "remix" culture, but not when you then try to lock it down so no one else can enjoy it.
posted by BeReasonable at 11:01 AM on November 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Like Dr. Chopra and some religious historians, Ms. Desmond believes that yoga originated in the Vedic culture of Indo-Europeans who settled in India in the third millennium B.C., long before the tradition now called Hinduism emerged. (From the NYT article)

Studying the origins of "Hinduism" in grad school, there seemed to be a lot of theo-archeological interest about how and when sun worship transformed into fire-worship, or spiritual ceremonies which involved fire, anyway. Present day Vedic ceremonies often involve burning cow dung.

A lot of people think it is silly to assert that there is a religion called "Hinduism," as has been suggested already in this thread. Acknowlegment of the wisdom of the Vedas is pretty much universal among those in India - and elsewhere - who practice some variety of "Hinduism." As it is practiced in India, the "religion" is sadly and inextricably bound up in the caste system. There are many temples in India where we Westerners would not be welcomed, whether or not we were wearing the sacred red thread (like Mormon underwear, but simpler) of the Brahmin caste. In any case "Hinduism" takes a lot of forms, from the more esoteric Advaita non-dualistic philosophies/practices to the pouring of milk on the sacred lingam, and worshiping in the Ganesha temple on the way to work.

Sure this group has a point, but the intent of the person practicing Yoga is what matters. Obviously Yoga has a more specific point of origin than does the more widely practiced discipline of meditation (claim that one!), but the Indians, as nationalistic as the Japanese or Chinese (I'd include America, but we've not had long enough to develop it as intensively), do have a natural inclination to remind Americans that they are practicing something developed in India. But, as someone said above, in so many words, no duh.
posted by kozad at 11:01 AM on November 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Astro Zombie: "There is some hand-waving about it helping to balance the body and the spirit, which amount to stripping down the original spiritual purpose of the poses to undefined, indemonstrable new age phraseology...

The other is that an ancient spiritual practice might be commodified to the point that its spiritual element is gone
"

In the 21st Century USA? Ya don't say!
posted by symbioid at 11:03 AM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's always interesting how the first thing that Americans do when they encounter a practice or spiritual belief system is remove the people who originated it as authorities in the matter or even public figureheads, especially once they start charging money for it.
posted by yeloson at 11:11 AM on November 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


That's America guys, and it's beautiful.

Fuck yeah, America

I'm a big fan of American "remix" culture


Guys I think you should know America doesn't own cultural appropriation and you should try to be respectful of its origins, OK?
posted by Hoopo at 11:15 AM on November 28, 2010 [18 favorites]


Hoopo, that's why I said "American" remix culture, so as to distinguish it from other, lesser, remix cultures that may have technically come first, but simply aren't as good at it as we are.
posted by BeReasonable at 11:35 AM on November 28, 2010



Guys I think you should know America doesn't own cultural appropriation and you should try to be respectful of its origins, OK?


Screw you, buddy. We stole it fair and square. Finders keepers, nyaa nyaa!
posted by Forktine at 11:57 AM on November 28, 2010


So, this is only happening in America, right? Anywhere else in the world with a population of yoga practitioners... those places are respectfully integrating the historical and religious aspects of yoga while not commercializing the practice at all. Perhaps we should show the same reverence for yoga as we do for martial arts in this country.
posted by palacewalls at 12:02 PM on November 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Effective practice of yoga will have an impact on one's emotional, mental, and spiritual state, regardless of yoga's historic context. The value is intrinsic in the practice, not in the tradition.
posted by and for no one at 12:08 PM on November 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


and spiritual state

Can I ask for you to elaborate on this? Because the people who invented it sure didn't think so. According to them, the physical aspects were really a prelude to the spiritual practices, and you could not have one be effective without the other.

But, even if we were to disregard what the founders thought, what spiritual state are you talking about, specifically, and how is it impacted?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:15 PM on November 28, 2010


Yoga makes space & silence in your head. I suppose it's up to you what to do with it.
posted by and for no one at 12:17 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yoga makes space & silence in your head.

I still don't know what this means.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:17 PM on November 28, 2010


what spiritual state are you talking about, specifically, and how is it impacted?

Is that really something that will fit inside the comment box?
posted by palacewalls at 12:21 PM on November 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Yoga that can be expressed
is not the Everlasting Yoga.
The Name that can be named
is not the Everlasting Name.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:23 PM on November 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


From above

1. The Brits invented Hinduism in the 19th century (Faze) so what ancient Hindu tradition can there be?
2. Most of the modern asanas come from Scandinavia (brianogilvie) so what does this supposed Hindu tradition bring to the mix apart from a few seated positions and playing dead?

If the above is correct, then it seems like the Take Back Yoga group end up achieving the opposite of what they intend.
posted by w.fugawe at 12:26 PM on November 28, 2010


You can't control this stuff and it is silly to try. People are going to adapt those parts of a culture that they like and find useful and discard the rest.

For a while my son was doing yoga at a studio in southwest Missouri that had Bible verses on the walls. The woman explained that she almost had to have them to head off accusations of satanism from the locals.
posted by LarryC at 12:31 PM on November 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I still don't know what this means.

A difficult thing to communicate about. "Spiritual" is a loaded term,
no doubt it doesn't mean to me what it means to you. How would
you define "spiritual practice"?

You could try yoga and see if it produces something that resonates for
you. Or not. Perhaps you have tried it and it hasn't produced the result
you were looking for. It does require work, time, and patience. It's not
for everyone, and it's not magic.

To continue down this tangent: to me a fundamental responsibility as a
human being is simply to pay attention. Anything that improves your
ability to do this is a spiritual practice. The corollary is that it's
important what (and whom) you choose to pay attention to.

"The mind makes a good servant but a poor master". If you let your mind
run unsupervised, it will simply dig a trench where your current mental
loop is. I'm a big worrier, and I live, work and play, much of my life,
in my head; yoga helps me to remember to step back far enough to watch
what my head is doing, and to remember that what's currently running
through my head isn't "me".
posted by and for no one at 12:38 PM on November 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


2. Most of the modern asanas come from Scandinavia (brianogilvie) so what does this supposed Hindu tradition bring to the mix apart from a few seated positions and playing dead?

brianogilvie isn't representing Singleton's book accurately. Firstly, Singleton explicitly addresses hatha yoga -- there are many systems of yoga, and hatha just happens to be the popular one. Secondly, Singleton credits Indian nationalism with the development of hatha yoga as much as he does Scandinavian physical culture enthusiasts.

Now, I should say that I'm not here to argue that the people of India should have some unique ownership of yoga, or a unique say in how is should be practiced. As Amartya Sen is quoted earlier as saying, it's in the public domain. Additionally, India has long been one of the centers of the world, and has borrowed and much as it has been borrowed from (Hinduism is an amazingly diverse amalgam of hundreds of previously independent religions). And yoga has repeatedly headed out and turned into something new -- there are Buddhist and Janist versions that have radically different practices and radically different intentions than their predecessors, in the same way the Indian shadow boxing turned into kung fu.

But I do think it's worth knowing the history of yoga is it's to be adopted as an exercise. Because if Singleton is right and modern hatha yoga owes a debt stuff like India's obsession with bodybuilder Eugene Sandow -- well, the guy died of a stroke when he was in his 50s due to overextending himself, and we should be aware that the development of exercise is rarely a scientific undertaking, but instead a sort of long-term social construction that can be about as superstitious and full of magical thinking -- with potentially deadly results -- as anything else we humans undertake.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:46 PM on November 28, 2010


A few years ago I visited a bonsai nursery and chatted with the owner, who told me that he had been a US soldier in Japan during WWII and had wanted to learn martial arts. His teachers taught him, but taught him other things that they felt were necessary for self-defense, which included patience and an appreciation for beauty. So they taught him bonsai. Now he is an old man and can't do martial arts, but he still does bonsai. It never hurts to learn the culture around a skill you pick up.

But thank you, Brianogilvie, I had heard that what people in the US called yoga had little to do with the historical beliefs of Hinduism or Buddhism, but my googling failed me. I have this argument with my yoga-practicing friends all the time (it's neither religion nor exercise- it's you paying a fee to stretch while flute music plays) and the benefit I get out of the argument is learning more about actual Hindu belief. This post is wonderful.
posted by acrasis at 12:51 PM on November 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


India has long been one of the centers of the world, and has borrowed and much as it has been borrowed from

Sometimes misattributed to the Arabs (who introduced it to the west) the zero was an Indian invention.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:39 PM on November 28, 2010


Yoga originated from Hinduism just like aqueducts originated from the Muslim world.

I have no idea what you mean by this statement. Yoga did originate in one of the South Asian spiritual traditions later bracketed together as "Hinduism"; aqueducts have been around since the 8th century BCE, so they obviously didn't originate in "the Muslim world." (If you mean "in Assyria" then that's a different thing entirely.)

Unless what you're saying is "it's exactly as silly to call the spiritual traditions of which yoga is an outgrowth 'Hinduism' as it is to call 8th-century BCE Assyria 'the Muslim world'"? That's a well-formed argument, but I'm not sure I buy it.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:17 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, anything that ends up with fewer middle-class suburban white Americans saying 'Namaste' to me is something I am going to get on board with. Because namaste my ass.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:19 PM on November 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'd like to learn more about this ancient Vedic culture. Can anyone recommend me a book?
posted by word_virus at 3:21 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


If they wanna take back Yoga, the first person they should go after is this asshole.
posted by koeselitz at 3:58 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Christ, what an asana.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:04 PM on November 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sidhedevil, if you want to be asinine knock yourself out; I was using two disparate examples of things that two different cultures have given the world that people around the world have adopted and made their own.
posted by dobie at 9:57 PM on November 28, 2010


If they wanna take back Yoga, the first person they should go after is this asshole.

As long as they remember he has balls like atom bombs, 100 megatons each.
posted by The Mouthchew at 12:21 AM on November 29, 2010


There is an issue here which I did not get out of my reading of the article. The very sad fact is that hatha yoga and asanas have been adopted by an affluent and narcissistic public in the United States. Popularity and buzz and bullshit.

A much better article which gives a sense of this in the New York Times magazine from July 2010 is here. I find hatha yoga beneficial and I do it weekly, but I almost never admit this in public. It is a guilty pleasure, like playing Led Zeppelin on my stereo, and I only do it alone. I will never attend a yoga class with a bunch of white people.
posted by bukvich at 5:01 AM on November 29, 2010


I once found a blog of a young woman who was training to become a teacher of... wait for it...

CHRISTIAN YOGA.

My brain fell right out of my head reading that. I had to lie in child's pose for a few moments to regroup. (As a Buddhist who has been practicing yoga on and off for over a decade, I just... I've got nothing to say but: WHUT.)
posted by sonika at 6:19 AM on November 29, 2010


accusations of satanism

Not surprised, Pat Robertson thinks its really spooky and, Albert Mohler mentioned in the main article argues Christians shouldn't be doing it because of its roots in Hinduism; that the poses can't be separated from the chants.

I don't think I'm the only one who does it solely for benefit of the gravity defying power of the downward facing dog with nary a thought to its history. Does it matter? Honestly? /rhetorical
posted by squeak at 7:03 AM on November 29, 2010


I was using two disparate examples of things that two different cultures have given the world that people around the world have adopted and made their own.

Muslims didnt give the world aqueducts. The Romans had aqueducts, ffs.
posted by the cuban at 9:32 AM on November 29, 2010


And where are they now? In your fonts directory.
posted by Artw at 5:40 PM on November 29, 2010


CHRISTIAN YOGA.

I was going to link to exactly that. So if some people need to be called out for their xenophobic appropriations, I'm okay with that. Also: CHRISTIAN KARATE.

FFS.
posted by Amanojaku at 8:24 PM on November 29, 2010


It's always interesting how the first thing that Americans do when they encounter a practice or spiritual belief system is remove the people who originated it as authorities in the matter or even public figureheads, especially once they start charging money for it.

Yeah, I know, yeloson, totally. But be careful that facts don't get in the way of your anti-American rant.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:05 PM on November 29, 2010


It's shameful, with all this talk of aqueducts, that nobody has acknowledged that the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation in the present-day Punjab had them.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:19 PM on November 29, 2010


Yoga makes space & silence in your head.
So does a bullet.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 9:14 PM on December 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


« Older Harry Potter and the Incredibly Conservative Arist...  |  Talking Cats Play Pattycake. B... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments