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  1. 8 likes
    Great topic. I know of one teacher who turns his nose up at any creative workshop or yoga activity (in his city the new thing is yoga in breweries), says there's no need to have retreats, says we don't need special yoga mats or special yoga clothes, nor music. He says if you don't chant before your practice that you're not really doing yoga. He goes to India regularly and he believes very firmly in maintaining the tradition. And to that I think - man, when you spew negativity even though you're coming from what I think is a good intention (trying to maintain the tradition and heritage of yoga), it doesn't negate the fact that you're going against the true meaning of yoga - union and togetherness - by intending to discredit teachers who lead retreats or come up with various workshops. How do we know that these teachers aren't leading their classes with a deep respect to the tradition yet presenting it in a way that appeals to people in the west? I personally don't drink beer so teaching yoga in a brewery is not for me, but really, who is that yoga instructor hurting? If anything, is he or she not bringing something wonderful to people who might otherwise not be inclined to practice? Sure, maybe the practice for most of the participants is mostly physical, but in my experience that's usually the first step toward moving in a more spiritual direction. And if someone doesn't take that step, then they'll surely just stay with the asana and benefit physically from the movement. What is so wrong with that, provided the instructor really is leading a yoga class rather than a fitness class? We can go around and around with it and if we look at other aspects of our lives, it's like where do we draw the line between appropriation and cultural exchange? Sushi with chopsticks? Chipotle? Dreadlocks? Yoga?
  2. 8 likes
    Man, I have really thought about this a lot in the past. I've found it is good for me to be quiet and stop questioning when I can directly deduce that I'm not hurting anyone. But in the interest of exploring the topic... Personally, I do not ever feel as though I am appropriating a culture because my practice is my full body prayer. My best practice is private. I don't mind saying that it's the only 'prayer' that I have ever executed with entirely good intentions and regular attention. I remain devoted because it served me when I had nothing to give and basically felt like my life was a long catastrophe that I was waiting out. I am humble on my mat, and can now sit with all of the blackness that drove me there. I am never going to India (they don't need me there) and I am not throwing myself completely into something dogmatic because that is against my nature and feeds into the falseness of new-wave American yoga culture that is, yes, driven by money. The number one way to be disrespectful is to be INSINCERE and wear, preach, market something that will fade out of your life as soon as you find Jesus, or Crossfit. Intention matters. In the end, I am so grateful to the good teachers I have known who have traveled and studied (history, anatomy, tradition, language) so as to pass on what they've learned in a respectful way. That- doing things thoroughly, so as to benefit others- is very valuable to humanity. It will never nullify abuse and oppression, but it doesn't feed it.
  3. 5 likes
    I know this is an on-going complex discussion and sometimes quite an uncomfortable one, as always when you have to check your privileges. I guess with most cultural phenomenons it is difficult to avoid cultural appropriation and bastardization and imho I think it is important to self-reflect and try to listen to the members of the group whose cultural expression you are using. As being part of a privileged group with a history and tradition (or well it is still very much happening) of abusing and oppress minority groups I can of course not be the one to determine what is cultural appropriation when it comes to yoga and what is not. But my personal feeling is that most yoga instructors do try to respect the tradition and in general I have, with my quite limited experience, felt that the classes I've taken have been marked by a certain respect of the practice. But sometimes I feel that some teachers take it too far, like they pretend to be in India and I get the feeling they play a role. And I always feel guilty when I have these thoughts because who am I to judge? But it does give me a kind of an itch sometimes. I am very conflicted about this and would greatly appreciate your thoughts.
  4. 3 likes
    I like making overnight oats and add chia seeds to them for proteines and all the other good stuff, they contain. You can use nut milk instead of dairy. The next day add your favourite fruits, nuts, berries or whatever and you have a delicious and healthy breakfast. I use pinterest to find inspiration for new ways to serve this.
  5. 1 like
    Thank you so much! This is very helpful. It's strange that as my practice grows, I find myself repeatedly coming back to the basics. My last obsession was chaturanga. Sorry for the babble. Thanks again!