Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Yoga-nomics: Where are we headed?

Yoga is about seeking truth... about stilling the illusive aspects of mind to see clearly what is. In this video, Meredith Whitney describes what is going on in the economy and let's us see a picture of the next 6-12 months. From all I have been reading, this is an accurate appraisal. Municipal and State governments are cutting back and housing prices continue to be under significant downward pressure.

Additionally, the effects of the Financial Regulations now being put together in Congress will slow the velocity of money, slow down the mania that led to the financial crisis, and be a short term negative for the poor and middle-class. Again, those who can ill-afford it will be making large sacrifices to put the financial system back into shape.
With this pessimistic outlook I have re-shaped all of my finances. It's time.

Specifically for the Yoga teachers and businesses, be ready to mark down your fees, hope your resources will hold out and be ready to re-negotiate rent and lease agreements. It's time.

Of course, nothing of long term value is at stake here. It is our spiritual practice that will sustain us all. I am studying Vivekachudamani and the Bhagavad Gita this summer. Really looking forward to a new teacher and some time in silence.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Yoga-nomics: Ayn Rand and our Market Meltdown

 How much did na├»ve sentiments color Greenspan's decisions as Fed chairman? (for the full story)
I figured out the problems with the Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand in my early 20's and am really stunned that our country was taken off course by this inconsistently logical dogma. Argh!
I subscribed to the Objectivist newsletter. I voted for Nixon based on Rand's endorsement. I thought about it all and came to the conclusion that there was too big a divide between the Ideology and the day to day living reality of what is. There, now I've said it...
A main thread running through this insane split in our country is over this issue. Do we trust the people running our Corporations, and to what degree. It's evident from the Tea Party gatherings that people are pissed about any regulations. Liberals, on the other hand, can't understand why good, orderly supervision is denied so vociferously.
Read Ayn Rand's novels to understand what is dividing our country these days. In spite of a mountain of evidence to the contrary, many are sticking to the rugged individualism espoused by Ayn. Come to your own conclusions about her philosophy and talk to others. This is a very serious time in our country, make no mistake.
We all have this idealism to deal with and it is a good thing. Integrity comes from this source. However, when it is misplaced and dogmatic it can only lead to the kinds of excess that we have seen in the past 3 years. 
Each and every one of us should be able to discuss our views on the role of government in our lives from a deep understanding of the underlying issues. It seems that Ayn Rand is a good starting place to delve into the reasons why so many citizens are today talking about exercising "Second Amendment Remedies."
Take this seriously. This debate and the actions that ensue are part of our history. And history, as we say, will repeat itself until it is understood.
"Greenspan's Fed looked the other way while essentially unregulated mortgage brokers churned out bad loans to dreamers, deadbeats, and suckers during the housing boom.
This is the problem in huge proportions. Greenspan's ideology led him to say this:

"...you and I will never agree about fraud," she remembered him saying. "You probably will always believe there should be laws against fraud, and I don't think there is any need for a law against fraud."
Greenspan... believed the market would take care of itself.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Yoga-nomics: Who owns what?

Years ago I began integrating 'Core Strength' into my yoga practice and teaching. However, I have always acknowledged the influences outside of Yoga that gave rise to the changed elements. Satya, i suppose.

This is a tricky issue in Yoga: what are the influences that give rise to 'adjective yoga.' Should they be acknowledged? Whether the influences come from 'inside' yoga tradition or from 'outside,' does this integration allow branding as a 'new' yoga? This is a broad question, not only asked of you, but of all integrators of new elements to Yoga practice.

Well, now the Indian government is taking it seriously. (read the full article)

Dr Vinod Kumar Gupta, who heads the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library, a Delhi-based government organisation set up jointly by the ministries of health and science, told the Guardian: "Simple text isn't adequate. People are claiming they are doing something different from the original yoga when they are not."

"Yoga originated in India. People cannot claim to invent a new yoga when they have not."

From the information at hand, I am in agreement. The problem isn't one of having access to practicing Yoga, rather the issue is individuals laying claim to the right to own some parts of Yogasana practice and name it as their own. The phenomenon of 'adjective yoga.'

"There is no intention to stop people practising yoga but nobody should misappropriate yoga and start charging franchise money," said Gupta, who, like many Delhi residents, practises the ancient art in a park near his home. "As for hot yoga, power yoga, or whatever I have no views to comment. Our job is to provide the evidence and let others decide."
The campaign to preserve yoga as Indian has its roots in a bid several years ago by Bikram Choudhury, the self-proclaimed Hollywood "yoga teacher to the stars", to get his Bikram yoga style patented in the US.
"They are creating brands," said Guru Singh, who has himself invented what he calls "Urban Yoga".

In our culture, Pilates has really brought the whole issue of 'Core' into popular consciousness. Joe Pilates used these principals, which he acknowledged were influenced by gymnastics, yoga, etc., as foundational. In turn, yoga teachers have begun to emphasize the core in recent years. Many teachers are strong, like Dharma Mitra, but the whole core emphasis is of a different kind. 

Today it seems yoga teachers are straining credulity. They do this by finding the slightest connection with bandhas and/or mudras to bring in innovations of other modalities or by selecting one aspect of the broad teaching of Yoga and creating what they call a new style of yoga.

Satya, Yogi's and Yogini's.

Sate hitam satyam. Which translates to "The path to ultimate truth or Sat  is satya (i.e. the real truth).

Download a partial listing of the various Styles of Yoga in the USA... all 'adjective' Yoga's.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Yoga-nomics: Is Yoga a business or a practice?

If you come to Yoga through a local studio or yoga class where you do the physical practice, welcome! You've begun to follow a tradition that is very old, revered and spiritual.

There is the anecdote about a group of people in a dark room trying to identify an elephant by each one feeling different parts. That's kind of like what this question is about: practice or business. When you come into Yoga through the business of teachers, classes and studios, which are business oriented, it might be evident that is what Yoga is. Not really. That's just the current and popular face of Yoga.

Yoga is vast. It has survived for thousands of years by integrating practices and philosophies and, as has been talked about here before, has no "college of yogi's" directing it. One of the key elements of all of this has been to encourage newcomers to enter in and do Yoga. It seems to have worked well over the years.

Right now, in America and the western world, Yoga is synonymous with asana; that is the physical practice, one of the eight limbs of Yoga practice. Asana lends itself very well to being commoditized and sold in classes. This is the business of Yoga today. Selling of the meditation limbs has been done before, as in the popularity of Transcendental Meditation many years ago. But the real money-maker is in asana. Oh, and the clothes and stuff you need to do it!

If you are attracted to Yoga, any part or 'limb', simply do it. I've learned over the years that Yoga has a power to attract and illumine people. All by itself. So however you enter, however you practice, Yoga will invite you to more, and perhaps deeper practices.

The nature of those deeper practices is not so mysterious. Many old, sacred texts lay them out so that they can be explored. If that interests you, start by asking your present asana teacher. If they don't know, ask who they can refer you to that can answer your questions.

So, to answer the question directly, in my opinion and experience Yoga is not a business. In fact, the business gets in the way. Yoga teachers that own studios find that they have less time for practice because the business demands attention. It is inevitable. There are business people doing Yoga and I trust the Power of Yoga will transform them. To some degree. In time.

To see some other takes on question this visit: Yoganomics™