November 27, 2012

Yoga’s Western Evolution. ~ Eric Eccles


What’s really going on here is that we, as a “see it, touch it to believe it, what’s in it for me, society” have been divinely duped!

I think it’s fair to say that yoga is evolving in westernized cultures wouldn’t you?

To date, yoga is the fastest growing exercise class and not to mention, one of the most rapidly expanding businesses in the country. The industry gurus (whoever the hell they are) are stating that in the next few years there will be over 30,000 yoga facilities in the U.S. and an estimated 131,000 yoga teachers on top of that. And if you wanna talk dollar figures, how about 8.3 billion bucks predicted to be the annual profits for this industry within the next four years?

Holy Moses, Buddha and baby Jesus all rolled into one, that’s a lot of cheddar!

So here’s a ‘spoon bending’ question for you: if all of this is going on under our noses, then why aren’t we seeing those eye catching gimmicks like ‘yoga buns of steel’ or ‘three minute yoga abs’ and all of the marketing crap (and I do mean ego-driven, wasteful shit) that goes with such a bustling market? Why is it that 99.5 percent of the yoga studios are privately owned? And how often do you still hear the proverbial, “Dude—I mean, I thought doing a yoga class was cool and would like teach you how to twist yourself into a pretzel and then hum zenful Oms along the way,” right?

For anyone out there still believing the pretzel/Om thing, I will respectfully say, wrong!

Yoga, in the physical, is one of the only exercise regimens that improves your flexibility, cardiovascular system, muscular strength and endurance all while controlling your breath and learning to quiet your mind. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?! But wait, there’s more! Yoga, when consistently practiced starts to change us from the inside out as well. Most people that develop a steady practice of yoga begin to lean toward a more holistic lifestyle involving self-inquiry on eating healthier. For example, eating organic. Or how about another growing interest towards self-sustainability and preserving or connecting with nature? And believe it or not, I’ve seen yoga change people’s political points of view as well.

Now, all this is great and I’m sure many of you can see this pattern but let me give you the juicy part of this evolutionary paradigm shift.

The word yoga literally means ‘to yoke’ or connect in a divine union. The true definition of yoga is, union with the divine. Whether you see this as unity with god, or the universe, or yourself—it’s all good. What’s really going on here is that we, as a ‘see it, touch it to believe it, what’s in it for me, society’ have been divinely duped—all while we are all continuing our yoga classes in the west with our hip, organic cotton, spandex, wearing yoga apparel and eco-friendly mats. As we hold or transition into our warrior poses and two legged itching downward dogs (ask me later), a sinister plot has taken place.

Yoga instructors are beginning to understand the true meaning of our westernized yoga and what’s been missing for many of them all along. The fact is, that the practice of physical yoga is only one small part of the picture.

The asana’s (poses) in yoga which were developed thousands of years ago are physical and mental preparation for the true purpose of yoga, which is meditation. More and more yoga instructors are teaching their students the importance and evolving power of all forms of meditation. The days of lying on your back in savasana for a few minutes and racing out the door are over. Now, instructors are remolding their classes to include a solid meditation practice, while also encouraging their students to develop a daily practice outside of class. It’s this daily practice of fifteen to thirty minutes, or more, that is beginning to make a huge impact in many people’s lives and in all westernized societies around the globe.

Controlled studies are now finding scientific proof of the physical and mental benefits of meditation.

Some examples are improved mental clarity, reduced blood pressure, stress, less need for medication, and even pain reduction in terminally ill cancer patients—not to mention those testimonials of reversing illness all together. Most importantly, many of us westernized folks are beginning to see the big picture and the incredible impact that our individual examples can have when connecting with this source that intrigues and inspires us to find meaningful purpose in every moment of our everyday lives.

So there it is, the writing on the wall, the truth, my truth and nothing but the truth, Grasshopper. Now, “Don’t just do something, sit there!”

P.S. And if your yoga instructor wants to rush out the door—say, ‘Ah, Ah, Ah—meditation please!’


Eric Eccles a.k.a. C.A. Human is the author of “A Lifestyle Worth Living…”, Founder of GenerationAwareness.org, The E2mpower Yoga Project and Inventor, patent holder of the Namaste Bench Kit at NamasteBench.com. Eric is a 23 year veteran of the wellness industry, a certified Holsitic Fitness Practitioner, Yoga Instructor RYT, Meditation Coach, Master P.T. and moon lights as a professional Fire Fighter/E.M.T every third day for 24 hours in his free time.


Ed. Evan Livesay


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Source: weheartit.com via Jennifer on Pinterest


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