Friday, February 19, 2010

Yoga Drama

The New York Times recently ran a feature story on what was described as the ‘’hottest of all hot-button issues in Yoga.” Just what was the white hot issue in the rarified self righteous world of Yoga? It turns out that food, and more specifically, whether it was necessary for the purity of the practice for Yogis to consume a vegetarian diet. It appears as if the current crop of celebrity Yogis have gotten their digestive juices churning over this debate.

The saga has all the elements of an Entertainment Tonight drama. There have been tearful confessions and a whole host of other adolescent behavior that has disturbed the serenity of this six billion dollar business.

My personal Yoga Guru, the venerable Yogi Berra, has made many classical utterances. The one that most represents the present situation is ‘’you observe a lot by watching.’'

I’ve been observing the Yoga community since the early eighties. What started out as a spiritual and physical exploration for many of its earlier practitioners has unfortunately morphed into a mega capitalistic endeavor. When I see how many students are often packed onto the floor, I am reminded of my childhood beach experiences, where we were often lying on our blankets, literally butt to butt guarding our precious space.

These days, walking around with a rolled up yoga mat is as ubiquitous as seeing people clutching a paper coffee cup trying to look cool. For some segment of the population it has become the prop du jour along with a Lululemon Yoga outfit. As with so many other worthwhile endeavors, success all too often leads to an environment that is conducive to producing a hyperactive greed chakra. The Yoga community has become a victim of its success by emulating the morally bankrupt fee for service health care model.

Their mantra has become, pack them in and ship them out. This philosophy is more troubling to me than whether they are authentic vegetarians or closeted omnivores.

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