Here’s A Problem I Have with the Yoga Industry

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Diluting Yoga for Business

There has been an explosion of Yoga’s popularity since popularization in the 1970s (way before my time unfortunately!), with tens of millions of practitioners worldwide. Naturally with massive expansion, there must also be an economic boom to support the growth, and in today’s billion dollar industry, it doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down!

The Problem

This in itself isn’t a problem; the problem arises when the waters’ are dirtied by the ‘snake oil’ types looking to make a quick buck off of people’s spiritual development – Something which for obvious reasons, must be dealt with in an honest and open manner. I personally feel that in particular these “Yoga Mills” (my term, no idea of their granary production capabilities) which promise the world at your feet after an intensive course, or even the basic classes which contain absolutely no philosophical or historical components for the student to absorb and meditate upon: is a waste of people’s resources.

For a start, spiritual transformation, like most transformations, cannot be rushed.

The higher self is not a book that can simply be opened with minimal effort or because you happen to have spent a month’s salary on a ‘retreat’ – If it were, we wouldn’t be in the socio-cultural situation we are now! It not only takes time to cultivate proper technique and form within the Asana component, but also time to quieten the mind, to surrender to the moment, and to truly experience a deeper stillness that comes from these enlightening practices and by continuing to attend (or maybe conduct them yourself, depending on who reads this) these classes and perpetuating the economics based dialogue, one only seeks to separate from self.

It is something that for the vast majority of the industry, a given that need not be repeated, but as a reminder from one corner of the globe to another: I completely appreciate that bills must be paid and lives must be lived – I’m a Yoga teacher myself – however I would never, and I would implore my fellow Yogis to join me in this; never put economic satisfaction over the best interests of your students. As this is a short article, I’ll summarise the often forgotten point – If you know what you are doing isn’t ethical or in flow with your best intentions, then stop it. Period.

The Flip-Side

That being said it is of course not only detrimental effects manifest as a result of Yoga’s modern status; it’s cultural and spiritual heritage has traveled the world over and hopefully will continue to do so, with committed practitioners and teachers alike increasing its progressive reach every day, so give yourselves a pat on the back as well!

It is not enough to say “I have no time” or “I can’t” anymore; the flip side of the massification of Yoga, is that resources and teachers are now a dime a dozen, and it is genuinely easier to find the right practice for you and stick with it, than at any other point in history. There are likely myriad opportunities in your local community, but also on the very website you’re reading now!

Incorporate YogaSync.tv into your daily life; combining the excellent facilities for learning the Asanas, with the community and articles as meditations & perspectives on wider aspects of Yoga. This could be extremely beneficial for you, as either a complete beginner or an old hand looking to refresh forgotten truths!

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About Jack Charles

Jack is a Yoga practitioner/teacher, writer, actor & Psychology student, who aims to bring a fresh perspective to the ancient art. Check out his work at www.ifawoodchuckcouldchuck.com & www.ghatyoga.com.

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