I have to explain why I am doing this post. For my writing course, I had to write an article for a fictitious yoga studio. The purpose of the assessment task was to show an understanding of different aspects of writing web content. The title of the article had to be ‘Boost Your Mental Power with Yoga’. Personally, I have tried yoga in the past but after going to a prayer healing night I decided that I needed to give yoga up.
Researching and writing this article have caused some personal tensions. On the one hand I want to do well with my writing and demonstrate that I can follow a writing brief. On the other hand I want to remain true to myself and my values. Should this have been a real life situation, I possibly would have needed to tell the client to choose another copywriter. For now, I have written a counter post to my article. My article you can find by clicking on my portfolio page.
I recognise that not everyone shares the same views as me. Should you wish to disagree with me in the comments section please do so. Just be gentle.
Why I choose not to do yoga
Reason 1: I wanted to show God that He is first in my life
‘You must not have any other god but me’ is a commandment that I want to follow. Not out of fear, but out of love and respect, I wanted to show God that He is first in my life. When yoga has its origins in Hinduism, there is the potential for competition between the gods of the Hindu religion and the God of the Bible. My God needs to be first for me.
Reason 2: Our bodies say things even when our mouths do not
Sun salutations may be a form of sun worship, which again does not make sense when it is a created thing and not the creator. It could be argued that sun salutations are not true, but metaphoric. However metaphors often point to deeper things. There are many different poses in yoga and many of them are not explained within a yoga class. Without that explanation or understanding, what things might we be saying without realising?
Reason 3: Yoga has been marketed to middle-aged Western women
I can say this, as I fit this market.
Yoga has been marketed to fit the west. Kamna Muddagouni in her article ‘Why white people need to stop saying ‘namaste’’ writes:
Yoga, a spiritual practice with Hindu roots, has since been distorted into something more palatable for white audiences – a way to exercise and connect with one’s spirituality.
She goes on to say:
It’s about considering whether you can practise yoga without spiritually harvesting a culture and religion that is not yours when you have no deeper understanding, or desire to understand, the historical and social roots of the culture yoga comes from.
So in the West, yoga can be seen as the ‘in thing’, a commodity and a lifestyle choice. You can spend a lot of money on this trendy lifestyle choice and many people don’t know and don’t care about its origins.
Reason 4: Not knowing the deeper things behind yoga
If I wanted to I could find out the deeper things behind yoga, but I don’t really want to nor have the time to do so.
In the article
‘8 Signs Your Yoga Practice Is Culturally Appropriated – And Why It Matters’
(May 25, 2016 by Maisha Z. Johnson and nisha ahuja)
the authors write:
But lots of people include sacred objects in their yoga practice without realizing the significance of what they’re using.
Many people are ignorant not only of the origins of yoga, but also of the sacred objects and their meanings and that can include some yoga teachers!
Ignorance about yoga or other faiths is not uncommon but should we be doing things we don’t understand? In my classroom at school, I try not to the let the students say “Oh my god!” or even “omg!” or sit in different yoga poses for the reason that most of them don’t understand what these things mean.
Reason 5: Creek from ‘The Trolls’
Creek from the movie ‘The Trolls’ didn’t leave a great impression for the things yoga and Eastern mysticism stand for. In some ways, he is actually taking the micky out of this life style. Creek reflects the Western way of doing the Zen way of life – it’s romanticised and diluted. And whilst anyone can turn on their friends, the fact that Creek sells Poppy and the other trolls out in order not to be eaten certainly doesn’t help his image. One could say that it is karma that he gets eaten along with Chef at the end of the movie by a forest flower!
(Picture sourced from Dreamworks Wiki)