January 14, 2012

The Market vs. Yoga. ~ B. Xavier Puvinel

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].

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