Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Compliant Yoga Movement

Some contemporary Yoga practitioners assume that Yoga means stoppage of all thought. That would make yogins and yoginīs very dull people. There is, fortunately, no sign of this happening. A little reading in the voluminous literature of Yoga would quickly dispel such an outlandish notion, which could only have been birthed in a culture that discourages critical thinking. I won’t mention names.

There are a number of excellent books on the market that address the problem of the systematic “dumbing down” of America—oops, I let it slip. This trend, which runs right through the educational system, favors the political elite and dampens the spirit of independent inquiry. The pharmaceutical industry, aided by the government and institutional organizations, feed potential troublemakers (i.e., wonderfully boisterous young children) with soporific drugs (Ritalin etc.) to make them more amenable to authoritarian manipulation. Why is this not obvious to everyone? What happened to the hippie slogan of “questioning authority?” Am I remembering too much of the bygone days?

Has the Yoga movement, which was once an important force of the counter culture, become an instrument of the unthinking, compliant and voraciously consuming mainstream majority? Once upon a time, Yoga practitioners represented the dissident voices of society. They were not victims of cultural hypnosis. Should we silently allow millions of people to succumb to the slumber of consensus trance or make an effort to wake up again? I personally think it’s time to wake up.

Georg Feuerstein

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