Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Liberating the consciousness with yoga

A Finnish couple living in Vancouver used to write a blog named Dragon/Kolibri. Dragon was the male. He wrote rarely but well, mainly about weightlifting. The blog is now offline.

The woman was an active yoga practicioner. She took steps towards becoming a yoga teacher. She also had a mild psychiatric condition and medication for it. The final entries of the blog were about a pang of anorexia nervosa which was decimating her appetite - apparently quite seriously, since her mother flew to Vancouver and the couple stopped blogging. I haven't heard anything about them since.

Yoga has a reputation for attracting superstitious people for some of whom it becomes "religion lite". This emphasis on spirituality and healing is visible also on the web pages of various yoga schools in Tampere.

Tampereen Astangajoogakoulu has a list of moon days in which energy levels are low and practise should be lighter. In other respects they have the best pages. They even list specific asanas for the courses. The elementary groups are guided, while in the last "mysore group" each practicioner trains his own asanas and teachers introduce new ones when the old ones go well.

Om Yoga presents yoga as just another group exercise. I can already exercise in groups at my gym, so thanks but no thanks. They have lots of mild spirituality/energy/healing references dispersed around the pages. Somehow, I find this more scary than Astangajoogakoulu's honest division, where some pages have spiritual tint while others treat yoga as a physical sport.

I'm not freaked by spirituality in itself, but by people who can't identify and reflect their own spirituality enough to turn it off when talking to non-spiritual people. Clear division to between spiritual and physical content sends a message "We are stating these spiritual facts because we believe in them. You are free to follow the advice and traditions taught by our yoga masters, or to follow the Western tradition of ignoring them as superstitious."

Tampereen työväenopisto offers the best prices, and good enough courses for all but the most active enthusiasts.

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