Thursday, January 28, 2010

Days of Wine and Yoga

A war has broken out in the American yoga community among the purists, the peckish, and the profit margin.

Julia Moskin writes about it in the NYTimes - "When Chocolate and Chakras Collide" - January26/10.

The traditionalists believe that the goal of yoga should be largely philosophic and spiritual, with  practice that leads to the purification of the body and mind, and hence to unity. Bacon, burgers, and Brie en croute are not on the purists list as acceptable ingredients for the good yogic life.

The peckish like their meat and their wine and argue that the traditionalists are judgemental. The peckish also, like all good interpreters of scripture, find justification for their choices in various texts from the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jainist canons.

For some, though, the profit margin is paramount, and they have seen an opportunity to offer innovative yoga with music, wine, and gourmet food - all from the convenience of one's yoga mat in a class of other like-minded yo-gourmets.

The tempest arising from these conflicting views about the proper approach and attitude to yoga seems to exist only in a tea pot, or wine glass, as the case may be.

Yoga has been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, and will likely suffer in no way from adoption by yet another group of practioners with a different perspective. Yoga has already survived, either because or in spite of, the different paths along which its adherents have taken it.

In North America, especially, yoga has a checkered history. In the seventies, anyone who practiced was suspect - flaky at least, subversive of good honest religion at worst. Religious groups were particularly vigilant in overseeing such an exotic practice from The East.

 I say, to each his own. It seems so odd to have such arguments over the choice to have cheese with the Downward Dog or not. (Would that be a cheese dog?) I guess our egos can make an argument about anything - rather counterproductive for the yogi, one would think.

The solution is easy. Purists will follow traditional practices and get what they want from that. The peckish will have their days of wine and yoga and heightened gustatory experience. The profit margin will blossom.

So everyone should take a deep Alternating Breath and just relax.


Ciss B said...

It seems to be more than a bit like the debate over the whole thing with the regular acupuncture and the non-needle kind.

It seems more a matter of semantics than a real debate.

ChrisJ said...


Good example. Surprising how heated the semantic arguments get.

One of The Guys said...

Yoga, food, raising kids, whatever the topic is there will be purists and non-purists.

You're right, let's just take a collective breath, relax and do what works for each of us individually.

Why does there have to be conflict with everything!!!

ChrisJ said...


And purists can be pure and non-purists not - it's easy.

67 Not Out (Mike Perry) said...

These differences make me smile. And to think yoga is about 'union'


ChrisJ said...


Yes, union - with a side of...


askcherlock said...

It all sounds a tad like politics to me, but I'll settle for the wine and chocolate!

ASeaRogue said...

Great Post, Great site, I will be following and have added you as a friend on BC as well.

ChrisJ said...


Wine and chocolate is good. It's been so many years since I could do any of the postures, the whole question for me is totally moot!

ChrisJ said...

Sea Rogue,

Thank you; that's great.