Uh oh, did we lose yoga? Did it wander off in the supermarket like a wayward child, to be found later in the cereal aisle, digging through a box of Fruit Loops for the promise of a shiny prize? Do we need to grab yoga by its ear and take it back?
Yes! According to several high ranking yoginis. From Thursday’s Boston Globe, a story on commercialism and a mission to reclaim YOGA from the grubby hands of opportunists and obsessive cell phone texters (amongst other modern distractions). Yogini chieftesses Barbara Benagh, Patricia Walden, Natasha Rizopoulos, Justine Wiltshire Cohen, and Peentz Dubble have joined forces to bring it all back to Om.
Each of these women will teach at Justine Wiltshire Cohen’s new studio Down Under Yoga in Newtonville, MA , which is to be the headquarters for this taking back of yoga, and return to spiritual enlightenment. This will also be the site of an all hands on deck summit this Sunday called, “Balancing Acts: Poses, Products, and the Future of Yoga in America.’’ So…what could’ve gone so wrong? Everyone’s gone mad!
…humility, they say, is becoming less and less the point these days. “My worry is that . . . what we do in the yoga room is becoming the same as what we do outside the yoga room,’’ said Rizopoulos, a former ballet dancer who studied yoga in India. “Which is behaving like lunatics.’’
We imagine several matters have spurred this urgency to reign in the crazies, not the least being the incredible profitability of yoga and it’s yogi-related enterprises, products, pricey garb, celebriyog-endorsements. Stefanie Syman’s book The Subtle Body, on the story of Yoga in America and consequent commoditization, seems to be consistently referenced in these discussions of how yoga turned from a modest vehicle to a pimped out Cadillac with velveteen seats and Snooki at the wheel. But instead of worrying about the latest ‘replacing Christianity’ debate, these ladies are worried, essentially, that Western society is taking over yoga.
They’re dead set on changing all that. Via the Down Under Yoga website, their mission:
We believe that yoga studios should act in ways that are consistent with the teachings of yoga. We will never sell plastic water bottles that go into landfill (because ahimsa means “do no harm”). We will never sell $150 yoga pants (because aparigraha means “identifying greed”). We will never accept offers from companies to promote their gear in exchange for free publicity or products (because satya means “truthfulness”). We will never brand, trademark, or pretend we’ve made up a new style of yoga because humility is the whole point.
Do you agree yoga needs to lassoed back to its roots? What’s missing? Is it spirituality? Dare we ask, is this generational?