The practice of yoga is gaining popularity in the western world.
More and more people are learning about the mind and body benefits that yoga offers.
On one hand, this is a wonderful thing! More people are are striving to live a healthier lifestyle, learning ways to relieve stress and tension, as well as being introduced to the concept of mindfulness.
However, the downside is that the ancient practice of yoga is also becoming bastardized in the process.
For some people, yoga is just a workout, and they have no understanding of the concept—living one’s yoga off the mat.
The word “yoga” literally means “to yoke” or to unite, and ultimately yoga seeks to balance the total person. We peel away layers, and unearth ourselves as we move on the mat. We feel gratitude, our hearts open and we take this understanding out into the world, seeking to spread the light.
Yoga is more than simply asana, but as yoga becomes more commercialized, the focus has shifted from finding that balance within ourselves, into something that associates yoga with juice fasts and $99 yoga pants from Lululemon.
As absurd as this may be—and disturbing to those who value a traditional yoga practice —I think perhaps even BKS Iyengar himself would chuckle, if he’d had the opportunity to see the video below.
This tongue-in-cheek video pokes a bit of fun at the commercialization of yoga, by envisioning what it might look like if Mahatma Gandhi stepped into a western yoga class.