Yoga traditions: Is it now just marketable and sexy?

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YOGA TRADITIONSMost of the Vinyasa girls have a pretty mat and outfit bought in a fairly expensive shop, and are probably sponsored too. I even have to agree to that! Why not? Why not enjoy and be even more happy if you have a pretty mat and outfit? It is a motivator and the outcome is most important – to get to the mat day after day and train your sedentary bodies to stay fit.

Secondly, to ‘teach’ yoga is a funny concept anyway. You can teach the proposed sequences and poses proposed, but you cannot be in the body of the other so it will always be a question of how it feels for the pupil. At the end of the day, it is us with our bodies. Of course there is a question of getting hurt you might say but then I believe it is time we got back our responsibility for our own bodies.

Thirdly, Coming back to the Insta girls, I want to share that Bhimolanandaji, my old Yoga Master in Allahabad, would have loved them! He – like many Indian gurus, or any man actually – really enjoyed the sight of a beautiful woman. He was my master when I was 24 years old finishing an MA in Anthropology on the “the social relevance of a yoga institute in modern Indian society, the case of Allahabad, UP”. He was 98 then, had been a doctor and had left his practice to take care of a small and jewel like Ashram in Allahabad. He took personal care of his rose garden, a dozen of cows, the crops and the cooking team. In the morning he’d sip a cup of tea and teach us for two hours from six to eight. Then he’d go and give instructions in the kitchen, probably eat some chocolate and light a cigarette before going to watch the news on TV.

This same man, who goes on pilgrimage to the Himalayas by foot (!) once a year, sleeping in cave with only a thin cotton cloth wrapped around his body, told me after a week of practice that I was ready to go and teach people around Europe. Why not? After all I would be a student of my own body all my life. He had given me the basis of attention, taught me what exercises he proposed in his routine. His was a mix of hatha in apnea. So for me, this says it all. Let’s not be more Catholic than the Pope as they say here in Belgium! Let’s live and let live! Allowance should be our main mantra in spiritual practice. Insta girls amuse me and challenge me to take myself to the next level. Amen.

Photo Krishna teaching Arjuna, from Bhagavata Gita, House decoration in Bishnupur, West Bengal, India by Arnab Dutta