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There are laments about the yoga community. I have read ample examples of ill winded posturing and spoken about them, too. Lately the topic is what are we wearing and who we are buying it from. How we  are  further defined by sex and politics and certifications and styles is ever present.  There is much to rail against and thankfully there are those who take up the mantle. Apathy is mine too often.  I love to be pleasantly surprised by something.   I look to the torch carriers to hold the light that can’t go out. We are too many in the dark.

But I wonder if the vast landscape of humanity is not telling enough. Why are we surprised? Aren’t people who do yoga just people doing yoga? That is not the same thing as a yogi who holds a job and buys a house and has kids. And who says a yogi is pure, anyway?

If yoga becomes a discipline for the masses why wouldn’t we expect it to come with a pair of pants and a matching tank top! But isn’t it better that watered down yoga washes over us than to not know it at all?  Yoga used to be the domain of the wanderers. All things come with a price. But there are ways around it. There are choices.

Don’t be surprised by the choices people make. We do not want control as much as we want convenience. If a factory that makes yoga props or clothing employs children we will say, but how do I know who is employed by the other factories? How do I know that this is any better? If a yoga studio is suspicious but it is in my neighborhood, it is the lesser evil to stay close to home anyway. And if there is a coffee shop nearby, even better. It’s so easy. It’s so convenient. I’m so busy.

And we are so expansive. How can we condone anything evil when there is also so much that is positive? We must take into account the good things and forgive the bad.  God forbid we take a stand! That is rigid. We are flexible.

Who has the strength to go against the tide? See what we want: Order. Look at the outlaws and rebel Occupiers making up language and laws and code. Watch the enforcement, the first step, order.  Yoga for the masses meant codes too. Read the basic code of restraints and observances. We have always been the same. Restrain us. We run rampant with desire.

But if all yoga classes were a forum of discussion for the codes and ethics there would still be disagreements. All would interpret in isolation of self. This is a self serving society. This yoga is not exempt but part of it. Don’t you see? It’s been integrated, conditioned and reclaimed.

If we believe we need to be beautiful to be lovable why does it stop at yoga’s door? If we believe we need to be successful, why would it stop at yoga’s door?  If we believe we have to be sexy why would it stop at yoga’s door, if we believe we can get away with something anywhere, why would that thinking stop at yoga’s door.

I was naive once. I thought it stopped at yoga’s door because yoga was pristine and therefore those who handled it were accountable to be worthy.  And they are; if it’s convenient. There are choices but they are harder and harder to make.

Yogis are not drop outs. Yogis are goal oriented like everyone else. Yogis want to be admired like everyone else. Yogis want to make money. Yoga does not exist in a bubble. Look at the environment and look at your yoga. Isn’t there commonality?

This country’s leaders have made it easy to be self serving by example. You do what you want and fall upon your knees at the public viewings claiming your human weaknesses before God, repenting, telling how God forgives all. And if God forgives, we must follow his lead.  Now we may regularly lie, steal, whore, whatever because we know we are just mortal and that God and our fellow mortals in his image love us anyway.

Light bearers and bards, keep talking.  There are people who hear you. They may or may not be yogis. But that does not matter. We are all the same.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “No Comment

  1. drbinder

    There’s not a damn thing that separates yogi’s from anyone else (opinion). I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, or if I believe in either of those concepts anyway. I think my statement agrees with your post, or maybe not. I am just full of indecisiveness tonight. I don’t know which way is up, dog. Did you hear about how the OWS camp had managed to segregate itself into 2 distinct camps? I guess it’s just natural. Kidney cells and heart cells. Yogi’s and drunks. We all come together in the end. Unity, union, yoked up yogis.

    • Pure poetry in answer, thank you for that. My lashing was a response to diving under the blogosphere to come up choking on debris. So much query on why yoga this and who yoga that and I think back on all the yogis I know to KNOW that yoga is a tool but to be a yogi may be something else. I know people with more and less consciousness. I know people with good and bad intentions. I know people I might call smart or stupid but I also know the lines in all this are blurred and if you want to wonder about human nature, look at the big picture and you will find your smaller picture is part of the tapestry but not isolated. Kidney cells and heart cells indeed.

  2. I see the little young things who “go to yoga” with conspicuous matching accessories in my travels in my gentrifying neighborhood (as elsewhere in my travels) … as someone who primarily doesn’t “go to yoga” outside my apartment, I have started to take just ephemeral note of their socially sanctioned consumerism.

    Thank you, bitchin … I think I read about your fusion style somewhere. Taking a non-defensive approach (cf. http://brookshall.blogspot.com/2011/12/way-beyond-women-in-yoga.html for an example of this defensiveness) to all this does not put the anti-consumer down. [Although, for the most part, I am an anti-consumer involuntarily.]

    Because, to paraphrase drbinder, it’s time to #occupy my brain with more important things …

    No such thing as “trouble in paradise” in a life that has too few elements of paradise ….

    • Ah, nice last line there! I glanced at Brook’s post and I suspect she has a point of view that comes from an experience different than mine. I’m a bit old school. Open the door and carry my packages but don’t think for a minute that you own me. I suspect that Mae West was a notable feminist. Off the point perhaps, but you brought it up, a student of mine who is an anthropology professor commented today that yoga was post-feminist. I’m looking forward to discussing her thoughts on that next time!

      Another friend of mine commented that in her Buddhist dharma teachings she was recently reminded that you can meditate all you want but you might just be increasing the power of personality or behavior traits you don’t like if you are not aware. Lots to think about.

      But one more thing… all women are consumers and it is as socially sanctioned for one as it is for another. To think that yogis are above the desire to be attractive, above ego, above mainstream Western sensibility is erroneous. That was largely my point. I think we need to look deeper than how one group behaves to understand how the whole system behaves.

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