Steadfast journalist and regular HuffPo yoga columnist, Stewart J. Lawrence takes an interesting perspective on the current state of yoga post Anusarapocalypse and William J. Broadgate, in which he pleads for everyone to chill out and ponder the question of whether or not it may be in yoga’s longterm interest to play by the rules, and grow up.
Broad suggests that this defensive posture is a dead-end for yoga. Defending an esoteric sub-culture prevents yoga from fully embracing the American mainstream, and sets the interests of the yoga studios and their teachers against the needs of their students and the broader public. In his Epilogue, Broad envisions a time when yoga has moved beyond its traditional know-nothing attitude toward science while the mainstream health and medical establishment has also become increasingly open to “non-traditional” medicine. Government authorities would agree to fund large-scale clinical trials to more thoroughly document yoga’s manifold contributions to “disease prevention and treatment”. And yoga, with the help of professional accreditation, and a more sober and mature attitude toward its own corporate and social responsibility, could become more accepted as a modern, time-tested “wellness” practice, accessible to the broad masses, not just to a relatively privileged few.
A convergence of science and spirituality? That sounds like a powerful “yoking of opposites,” the very essence of yogic philosophy. But that convergence won’t happen, Broad suggests, as long as the industry clings to its worst eccentricities, and refuses to subject itself to public scrutiny and oversight. If yoga really wants to grow — and to “serve,” one of its cherished ambitions — it can’t, like a rebellious infant, stay in “Child’s Pose” forever. It needs to embrace the world like a trusted friend, rather than indulging its penchant for hollow consumerism and seduction. Only then, he suggests, can yoga truly “soar.”
Certainly some points to ponder. Does yoga need to grow up? Does it need saving?
We found this comment in response worth a view as well.
Naren K writes:
“Grow Up”? That’s quite a Eurocentric statement, considering that Yoga is over 5,000 years old. Americans need to grow up; scandal-ridden politics (including Secret Service) need to grow up; millions of American’s who sit on their fannies living out their suppressed dreams through a talent show on TV–they need to grow up. The corruption in the so-called yoga industry is nothing near as bad as the corruption in the medical, insurance and pharma industries. Let’s define “healing” before we invoke the word “science”. In ancient India, science and religion were not in conflict. True yogis know the scientific aspects of their practices. In this Age of Insecurity, Americans take yoga and twist it to meet their needs–be it for a better looking body or for a new category to fit into. But let us not throw out the baby with the bath water. True and authentic Yoga cannot be tainted by these trends. And I will applaud any scientists from America who go to INDIA for research. They would surely find enough scientific proof to send Christian fundamentalists and the Health Care Empire into a panic, and hopefully into growing up.
It’s exciting that yoga’s growing and more people are catching onto the many benefits, but does it come at a cost? We don’t expect this discussion to die down any time soon.
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