Who Owns Yoga?
There were rumours some time ago of Hindu's creating a campaign to reclaim Yoga. They said it belonged to their tradition and to their country and because it has been so badly abused by the western yoga community they wanted to preserve it's integrity. Not all Hindu's say that Yoga is Hindu, but most would agree it is deeply rooted in Hindu culture.
The main reason for the reclaim yoga campaign was because of what yoga in the west has become. You can now do Pub yoga. You can visit a pub in London and for £10 you can do a class, hire a mat and have a pint. This may seem outrageous to many but really what is the difference between this and the many other gimmick based yoga classes?
Above: Full on Rave Yoga.
Why can't we just teach a "regular" yoga/asana class without a gimmick? Is this what our customers want? Are consumers really that bored of "regular" yoga that we have to create new versions to keep their custom? Ironically is the whole purpose of yoga not to strip back and simplify? To still the modifications of the mind, cease it's desires and it's constant craving for stimulation?
Someone asked me lately what type of yoga I teach. I replied "I teach Hatha Yoga". She said; "what like slow and easy?". I said; "Sure. Why not" (I didn't want to get into a debate with her). She said she only did flow and rocket yoga. I will be honest I don't even know what Rocket Yoga is. I said I have nothing against any other type of Yoga, I just teach what feels authentic to me. She looked at me like I was was behind the times and she wished me a farewell. I mentioned other teachers we have at the studio do teach more flow type classes and suddenly she showed interest.
Not that I agree with gimmick Yoga but I can certainly see why these gimmicks have become fashionable. "Regular" Yoga just seems boring and slow to a lot of people. If a teacher or studio is to keep their business afloat should they not just give into gimmicks?
Maybe I need to catch up with modern times? 😏
Nah. I am happy teaching what I teach 😎
Regular readers of my blog know that Akram loves a quote. So here is one I heard sometime ago. "Design must be functional, and functionality must be translated into visual aesthetics without any reliance on gimmicks that have to be explained."- Ferdinand Porsche. The quote is about a Car but the same principle applies :)
Anyway, Who Owns Yoga is a documentary below. It makes for fascinating viewing.
Oh, I didn't answer. So who does own Yoga? Yoga is the Asian Subcontinents's greatest gift to mankind (next to Cricket and Amitabh Bachchan). It was a gift for the world to explore. It's deeply rooted in Hindu culture. So no one owns Yoga but let's at least respect the tradition from which it was born. Or the Hindu's may just come and take it away. If they do, we really only have ourselves to blame.