Frustration with Pop Yoga--Thinking Ahimsa and Satya after Mike Brown and Eric Garner
This post has a different flavor than previous posts and reflects my struggle with how people in my communities respond (or fail to respond) to recent news events. As an academic and a yogi, my social media world is sometimes populated by strange, competing notions of the proper way to see and respond to the world .
In the wake of the deaths of Eric Garner and Mike Brown, the failure to indict those responsible for their killing (even when video evidence is available), and criticisms of protestors as “destructive” or “not helping,” I find myself frustrated with both communities.
On the one hand, I find myself rankling at what seems to be a contest among academics to appear the most properly outraged. A wiser (and quieter) friend has suggested putting money where one’s mouth is and making donations to the NAACP (link below).
What I find more troubling, however, is the relative silence on the part of the popular yoga news feeds (yoganonymous, etc.) that fill my stream. Instead, popular yoga remains resolutely focused on the self—bringing peace to one’s own mind (certainly of value), strengthening the body (again, of value), and what yoga outfits to purchase (of more questionable value). What I don’t see, however, is the moving of these insights outward to larger society. And this is where I feel a disconnect—what does it mean to “live yoga” when one is only living for the self?
The first two Yamas of yoga are Ahimsa (nonviolence) and Satya (truth telling). It seems impossible now to avoid seeing that we are living in a state of violence that should demand response from the yoga community. To only focus on our own private and privatized practices of self-improvement and to somehow think this counts as changing the world seems like the gravest failure of Satya, the responsibility to be truthful….both for ourselves and for this world we inhabit.
DONATE to NAACP:
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