In an important ruling the Supreme Court India adjudged that Hinduism is a Dharma or a way of life, not a Religion.
This blog by a western practionar of yoga and fond lover of Mother India (Jack Blaylock) who aims to bring to light the vast difference between the debauched, heretic, and disrespectful Western “yoga” and real genuine Indian yoga.
The very aims of these two schools are completely in opposite directions. One celebrates the sensual, the other teaches ways to cease identifying with Maya. Many self-proclaimed yogis today post articles comparing Western Yoga to India Yoga and in most cases, these articles do more harm than good to understanding real yoga, because it gives the impression that the similarities are much more than they really are. That should not be surprising, many Indians under 30 nowadays don’t even believe in reincarnation, and are ignorant about their own great spiritual traditions. The author of this should read the Gita, “Autobiography of a Yogi”, “Raja Yoga” by Vivekananda, and of course Patanjali yoga sutras, etc, etc.
Let’s talk about the celebrated BKS Iyengar. He was a very successful businessman who gave his Western customers what they expected to find: stretching exercises mostly, with a little pranayama thrown in. Iyengar’s teacher, Krishnamacharya, seems very much to have been a liar (yes! Jack went there, TOUCHE) who fabricated a story about rediscovering an ancient document chock full of unknown postures. No one has ever seen that document, which they called the “Yoga Korunta”. On top of that, Patabi Joise (Krishnamacharya’s other famous disciple) intimated to some of his closest disciples this document never actually existed. There is some interesting evidence though, that Krishnamacarya’s so-called “ancient, lost asanas” were actually inspired by a textbook of British gymnastics that is still in the library of the palace of Mysore.
Try reading the great Yoga Texts: The Hatha Yoga Pradipika,
The Gerhana Samhita, and others. There are almost no postures in them. Stretching exercises were never a crucial part of Yoga and still are not, for the vast majority of Yogis of India even today. Most of them can’t even touch their toes, never could, and don’t particularly care to. 150 years ago, just like today, the vast majority of Yogis in India did not do many asanas (postures) at all, and many of them do absolutely none. Be brave, read the great Yogis of India’s works, teachings, commentaries, and see right through these two “yogi” businessmen of Iyengar and Joise and help the West stop capitalizing on the tradition of another culture by misrepresenting it. Krishnamacharya, Joise, and Iyengar made up the claim that mastering all those other asanas were necessary in order to sit in padmasana well for long periods of time. Clever marketing that. It made them millions. I have no problem with making big money teaching stretching exercises. But you cannot find their claims supported in ANY of the great Yoga texts.
If you wander around India and meet the Yogis who are not trying to make money off the Western spiritual seeker, you’ll find that they generally agree with all that has been written. If you don’t know where to start, I’ll post again, and suggest some places. I’ve spent many many months in India, on many different trips, doing exactly that.
Parting advice for the yoga practitioners across the globe, go and meet members of Shankara’s Order of Swamis. You know, the organization of Swamis with its 10 branches, with countless lineages, that has been around for many hundreds of years now. These monks are the real torch bearers of Yoga in India today. They’ll tell you if hearing all this from a Westerner doesn’t do it for you. I have yet to meet a Western Yoga teacher who even knows this organization exists…
Hari Om Tat Sat
Om Namah Shivay
Yoga is definitely not what you want it to be, there is a specific prescribed path with rules and observances and various other guidelines. Yoga is a big part of Sanatan Dharm (what the west and modern people call the Hindu religion). There is a whole branch of dedicating oneself to God, called bhakti and it’s an integral part of yoga without which yoga just cant be yoga. Another 2nd important branch of yoga which is called karma yoga is based upon the morals and guidelines laid down in manu Shastra (read it). Then it’s Gyan/jnan yoga which is based upon all the holy books like Ved – Upanishad – Ramayan – Mahabharat – Holy Shrimad Bhagavad Gita.
Asans just make you healthy so that you can pursue the other higher goals of yoga- which is to connect to Bhagavan Vishnu Narayan Ji or Bhagavan Shiv Ji. Just by changing the perception about Yoga and view in its true essence, that Bhagavan Shiv Ji is considered as the giver of yoga to this world and later Bhagavan Krishna summarised the knowledge of yoga in the holy Shrimad Bhagavad Gita should end all disputes regarding this. But time and time again someone comes and tries to take this validation more like a factual statement out, take religion out of yoga and you’re left with an exercise regiment which is closer to gymnastics.
Most yogis become yogis to connect with Bhagavan Shiv Ji or Bhagavan Vishnu Narayan Ji (not the western and modern Instagram self-proclaimed yogis) Everything you do in yoga has the purpose to connect the human to the soul and then connect the soul to shiv consciousness, and the end goal is to liberate yourself and become free from the cycle of birth and rebirth.
Again we emphasize that the whole knowledge of yoga has been given to the world first by Bhavan Shiv Ji and then later summarized by Bhagavan Krishan Ji should end any doubt, this is why a yogi is given initiation by a guru and has to complete a mentorship program of 12 years which starts at Mauni Amavasya at Mahakumbh and not some 200 or 300 or 500-hour teacher training program. Yoga itself is a much larger term that can only be formulated with a combination of various elements and branches, asanas or Pranayam itself is not yoga, and yoga is not just asanas and Pranayam only. When you want to talk about your commercial interests what you should do, is mention asanas only because that would not come under religious or other guidelines.
“Cultural appropriation is a term that defines the adoption of a minority’s culture by the dominant culture. The dominant culture takes the minority’s culture, or a part of it, and makes it seem menial, without any of the significance that it was supposed to have.
Even though many people think that adopting aspects of another culture can be thought of as “sharing,” that doesn’t justify not respecting what that object means in the actual culture it was stolen from. And the reason it is so frustrating is that the dominant culture does not have to suffer any racism because of it. The argument that people are just “honoring” them is ridiculous because, at one time in history, the natives were considered filth and slaves as the hero of England douchelord Winston Churchill said.
Trying to adopt the Indian culture while not understanding the significance of that culture is wrong. It is important to think twice before wearing garments and practicing traditions of another culture; it is necessary to understand that these items can really mean something to the people of that culture and this must be respected and followed.” – Fatima Farha
When Swami Vivekananda, the man credited with bringing yoga to the West, said that all the mud on the bottom of the Indian Ocean could not balance the filth that had been thrown at India, it was not an exaggeration. In order to justify their colonization of India, the British employed racist and orientalist narratives that created a social, cultural, political, and religious hierarchy with European Christians on top, and Indian ‘heathens’ at the bottom. Years of political, cultural, and religious humiliation, and yet, what a day we live in, defending myself from a colonial hangover and clutches is called arrogance and judgment and ego…
Please spread the right and complete knowledge
OM NAMAH SHIVAY