Writings

The international day of


Today is the international day of yoga. When I first heard that the UN decided to acknowledge yoga this way I was happy. I felt that it was nice, a noble gesture of sorts. But I have been thinking about it, and today after seeing the various online posts about how it is being represented, I have to admit that I am hesitant to call it a good thing.
Like all phenomena, institutionalized and recognized on a broader international level I am afraid yoga will be diluted and downsized in scope by it becoming another household name. Kind of like Christmas becoming the commercial reference point it has become, which I really don't mind it being simply because that is what it has always been for me. But the same way I would be bothered, was I a devout Christian celebrating what I believe is the birthday of my savior, by what Christmas has become, I feel apprehensive about the creation of an international yoga day.

Yoga relates to stepping out of that insanity of commercializing truth. And even though I know that the countless yoga flash mobs that will in all likelihood occur around the world today, are done with a feeling of honoring yoga, what it does is I think quite the opposite.

Institutionalizing this day portrays yoga as light, as part of society, welcoming it in to the system and us yogis as belonging to some sort of group, when yoga is everything but that. Yoga is not a light celebration, and we don't need a particular day to be reminded of it. Part of it's aim to question the old institutions and the ways of the society we're currently living in. A yogi is one who recognizes that the desperate need to belong and therefore conform to the view of a group is in fact a big part of the reason why s/he is suffering to begin with. Yoga is an individual, solitary research which perhaps at some point reveals the truth of the inter-connectedness of all life, but we're certainly not going to get to that realization without acknowledging fully the insecurity we feel about our place in it.

I know, I am a grinch that celebrates the commercial aspect of Christmas but gets all hoity toity about the preciousness of yoga. I recognize it. But I still think it true. Yoga is a rebel, a bandit and a grinch that has as a purpose to cut through myth, generalization and beautification in order to get up close and intimate with truth. Yoga is a punk rocker playing an unauthorized concert at the gates of the UN, wanting to shine a light on the hidden negotiations that happen behind closed doors...

I am blessed to have met some of these punk ass activists, monks and people dedicated to truth in my life, amazing yogis who are trying to make a difference all over the world but I somehow don't feel this yoga day is representing their deep investigation. It feels more like the world is trying to get in on it, to somehow profit from the huge popularity in status it's seeing. The whole thing makes me a bit suspicious...

We started our first Jewel retreat of the summer today, and when I first saw that this now had become the international day of yoga, I happily posted that coincidence on FB, and I have to say I now feel a bit embarrassed about that. I am so looking forward to host and teach for this group of curious individuals that have decided to dedicate this coming week to the practice of yoga, and invite them to investigate what lies deeply hidden beneath the layers.

And I hope to convey to them what yoga is for me, a thing of grandiosity and not one to be revered on a particular day, but a practice where everyday is yoga day, and that that decision is theirs and theirs alone

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