This is the problem with 2018. The amount of animosity and vitriol, over yoga. We have emulated and propagated a culture of destruction in the pursuit of constructive ideas. An effort to address gentrification and appropriation, a debate emerged that ultimately, well, read below. Over yoga.
There are never winners in this, no matter the best of intentions. Romel is absolutely right, in any exchange we engage in, in person, online, whatever, it must be additive. Our contributions have to serve the purpose of moving things forward, even when we disagree. ESPECIALLY when we disagree.
I stayed out of this one because I have an overall criticism of how the Western world interprets and practices yoga, regardless of ethnicity or culture. American appropriation has drained the mental and spiritual practice of its Eastern roots, and subsequently, drained of its mental and spiritual value. The observation that so many people had such an antagonistic reaction to the debate either way, is proof enough that people are missing the whole point of yoga in the first place.
Namaste is a very powerfully kind word. Don’t just say with sarcasm or snarkiness, say it with sincerity. Learn what it means, not just what it translates to. And practice that as the foundation for your space in the universe. I believe that Romel does just that.
Yoga is more popular than ever before, but I don’t think it’s as beneficial in its current incarnations. Like karate, or even sushi, the more popular it becomes, the less truth it conveys. Appropriation of any cultural practice tends to misinterpret its central premise. Yoga in the eastern world is practiced as a form of guided meditation, with a clear goal of what’s to be accomplished on the journey, and what’s expected by the destination. And I hear people in America say that too, but yet I feel like we walk away with different results.
I am hoping that this latest social development will make more people curious about yoga, and drive them to learn more about the practice. Please, don’t overlook the philosophy, or the spirituality. Namaste isn’t just a greeting, it’s a mindset. Understand that before you invest in a yoga mat. And even if you never set foot in a studio or watch a Youtube video, think about this n-word, and practice sharing that feeling. There are no shortcuts in self-development.
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