The Market vs. Yoga. ~ B. Xavier Puvinel

Via elephant journal
on Jan 14, 2012
get elephant's newsletter

A recipe for change.


Cooking died in France a long time ago. So did Yoga in India!

Does it sound like an exaggeration? Or perhaps, not relevant enough?

Well, if you don’t believe me, go to India or France; I am not talking about just visiting tourist attractions but about experiencing the local lifestyle.

French people don’t cook anymore, but buy precooked meals. Indian people don’t practice asana and pranayama anymore but model their body at the gym.


Because of endorsed globalization and modernity. You know these so-called “progress” and “liberal market” concepts, giving you a one and only choice… One education: business! One value: money!

The economic dogma being, the brain is everything. People with brain power control and dominate the entire world. The body is just a nice vehicle and food is its gasoline. Our body and our food are commodities. The brain is the leader. The brain is trained and shaped to serve as its master.

We, Westerners have been used to the “master & servant” concept for at least a century or two. We accelerated this motto after World War II. And today, people believe it so strongly that they talk about it night and day, from breakfast to dinner, with colleagues and friends.

They use different names for it: competition, productivity, growth, efficiency profit, etc. There’s one name though, that can account for all the rest: the Market. But Who is the Market?

Have you ever met Mr. & Mrs. Market? Do you know them personally? Of course the answer is No but people are giving everything to the Market.

Last April 2011, I asked people I met in India (40 year old adults on average) about their yoga practice. They all answered the same thing: they used to practice yoga with their parents when they were 8-10 years old, but have long since stopped. And now they go to the gym and work out their body with iron and steel.

They pointed out that the yoga flow was magical and forever imprinted in their mind. But they all gave the same reason to justify the change from yoga to gym. They must comply with the modern economic motto and trends: improve your productivity, grow your business and accelerate your career. The body is now a tool, dedicated to business values. It is no longer a sacred temple.

People in France don’t really cook their food nowadays but prefer to get it at fast-food restaurants or microwave it at home. When I challenge their food habits and background, most of them remember their grandparents cultivating home gardens, cooking and sharing simple meals and turning them into a time for celebration.

Today all these traditions have turned into sweet nostalgia. They answer they don’t have enough time due to their business, job or kids. They even say that cooking is a waste of time, a chore. Ready-to-go meals clear up their schedule and allow them to go to… the gym!

They stress the fact that every member of the family can now do what they want and whenever they want. Everyone is ‘free’ to follow their own agenda. This individual approach is key because it allows you to develop your potential. By this they mean economic success in the “rich and healthy” northern hemisphere; the number one value by which to measure your level of happiness.

So here we are… from India to France, from the East to the West, the indicators for economic performance – Globalization and Standardization – have replaced holistic religions.

One Customer, One Market, One Leader!

Could Yoga and Food be problem solvers, ingredients for transformation? I think the answer is Yes.

Our world is dying from the consumption of industrialized and standardized food, clothes, education programs, etc. Now is the time to rediscover our environment; time to explore our sensations, our emotions and our feelings; time to be fearless.

It is time to reconnect our body and soul. It’s time to slow down our modern, crazy and hurried lifestyles. It’s time to undo; time to take the time.

As yoginis and yoga teachers, we are aware of the connection between our body and soul. We practice and live it out the best we can. We have a fantastic opportunity and responsibility here, helping our friends, our people. We can really be the change.


Update: Can you guess what happened after these thought-provoking questions and open discussions with my Indian and French fellows? Most of them wished to reconnect with their yoga practice and experience cooking and garden activities again. 


[All photos: Wikimedia Commons]




I live in the West suburban area of Paris, with my wife and 4 kids. I was born in France and spent a lot of time in Europe and America. As a skier, punk, kenshi, musician (piano and bass), yogini (Ashtanga & Prana Flow) and until recently international businessman, I like to share my enthusiasm for alternative trends and subcultures. I believe each one of us can change the world, through our day-to-day decisions and actions. And yoga is a great and fantastic opportunity to do so by being available to everyone and able to reconnect people with their body and soul. Where modern society has split men and women from their identities; yoga is a way to unite them. One of my favorite quotes is ”Don’t think you are, know you are” (Morpheus to Neo, in The Matrix). You can email me at: [email protected]


About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive.


7 Responses to “The Market vs. Yoga. ~ B. Xavier Puvinel”

  1. ARCreated says:

    so true. I know that this is what yoga has done for me as an individual. I am more connected to my food we are planning our garden I enjoy cooking like I never did before as I see it as nourishing myself and my family. I see my body as a tool but in a different way a tool to commune with nature, a tool to laugh with friends, an instrument for meditation. My life get's more and more simple…my time at home increases and my need for other stuff decreases. I strive to bring a bit of that peacefulness to my students and believe that one day one student one breath at a time we will see the value in slowing down and stepping back but still moving forward I see it melding together. sometimes we have to lose ourselves to appreciate finding us again 🙂

  2. Roger Wolsey says:

    Lovely blog! I wrote about this last year… but I think your take is a more hopeful one. Thanks! Namaste.

  3. Lucy says:

    It's true! I lived in Delhi for a couple of months and found out that Indian people don't do yoga. I went to yoga classes with very few Indians, mostly westerners. Indian people love kick boxing class, muay thai, and all those kick ass exercise, which surprised me…

  4. BXavier says:

    @ARC I am totally in synch with your feedback and happy to read such positive vibes
    @RogerWolsey thanks for the comment and yes I am positive but your post was not so negative 🙂 I enjoyed reading it ; @Lucy I know it is true and very surprising when you start discovering India and think everyone is doing his Yoga practice as Chinese doing TaiChi in China.

    India is no doubt ahead China regarding ''Westernization'' and we know what it means : coke, mc do, starbuck, obesity, depression, etc.

  5. Abc says:

    Well,excuse me! Are you judging Indians by your limited perception of asana as yoga!? Maybe because you western minds cannot fathom the higher integration of yoga as a lifestyle! And yes,if you want s chiseled body GO DO SOME SPORT don't use asana as a medium and give Yoga a mediocre reputation.

  6. BXavier says:

    @abc I am not judging anyone. I know very well that Yoga is not limited to Asana or Prana. Sorry if you did not get my point in this post.

  7. KTS says:

    Leeni now be nice:)