The emotional negativity here towards popular Yoga centers

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I see an interesting psychological trend here at TTB - which is a mild hatred of popular Yoga centers.


Every time I see popular yoga mentioned, it is viewed as a negative trend. Even the "sifus" participate in this thrashing of "calisthenics". So, here is one random example, chosen simply because I just saw it:


Yoga here in the US used to be at a much higher level primarily because it was so pure and newly introduced, now it is primarily fitness exercise "yoga" which is not yoga at all. When I started with yoga it was and for me still is primarily meditation and breathing with postures as more of an adjunct.


This is milder than most of the sneering I see on TTB. I myself have done a lot of what is being called "higher level" Yoga, oriented around meditation.


There are several things going on here:


#1 is a big semantic problem. Words are used in many ways. Yoga still means a spiritual path, and there are still plenty of ashrams doing it. It also means "Yoga asanas", which is what you see at the centers. You see the same thing with the word "football", where in England it means soccer, in the USA, it means NFL gridiron, and in Australia, it means Aussie Rules football.


The idea that we have to protect the purity of words is pretty silly IMHO.


#2 is the irrational assessment that this is a negative trend. The thought in the quote above is that any particular 25 year old woman who is taking a Yoga postures class in 2013, would instead be meditating at an ashram, if these pop fad centers didn't exist.


Simple statistics show that this is equally silly. Far more people are doing Yoga postures today than could possibly be interested in a real spiritual practice.


The reality is that the pop, watered down, "calisthenics", yoga postures at your local Yoga center are one of the few positive trends of the past 10 years. The real alternative is sitting on the couch, watching an entire season of a TV show on Netflix, while eating potato chips, interspersed with texting friends about what that evil ex-boyfriend said about one's BFF.


Instead, you find people doing a practice specifically designed to clear Qi blockages and improve health. Many class teachers do include a short meditation session. For many people, it is their first positive exposure to Asian culture. And, for a small minority, it makes them want to explore the practice in enough depth that they encounter the full Yoga spiritual practice.


Whenever anything becomes popular, it attracts commercial interests and Marketing, that's irrespective of the content, and just "comes with the territory". And whenever anything becomes popular, it attracts people who just want to do whatever is popular.


In this case, I think the latter is a good thing, and people are being exposed to fitness, health, better qi flow, and Asian culture - even if it is in small doses, but that is better than nothing at all.


So, I don't understand the sneering.


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