Commercialization Is Corrupting Yoga in the West
Yoga originated in India thousands and thousands of years ago. It balances the soul and the body, controls the senses and ultimately the mind. It was a way of life, a path to reach oneness with God but in recent times yoga has been metamorphosed and become a commercial product. Different forms and variations have been added to the traditional yoga to make it popular across the world. Daily near about 20 million Americans do yoga making it a huge $27 billion industry. In the UK there are approximately three million practitioners of yoga.
People across the world practice yoga to relieve day-to-day stress, to shed their work overload and to cure a number of diseases. It is regarded as an exercise. But this does not stand true for yoga. Traditional yoga has one aim – enlightenment of the mind and the body to experience one’s true inner self and to achieve liberation (moksha). Yoga that was originally created to awaken the soul has now become a big business and symbol of premium lifestyle. Swanky yoga centres, yoga costumes, yoga studios, slim and trim yoga gurus etc are added for its modern look and feel. But what led to this change? Is yoga becoming another product or service and losing its original meaning?
What led to yoga’s corruption?
Probably the demand for an easier but effective stress buster led to this change. Society evolves and so do its associated paraphernalia. We create or alter a variety of things as per our needs and available time. More and more sedentary jobs, related diseases and lack of time created the need for a complete, less time-consuming and fast exercise. Yoga had the answer to all these.
But this product in its raw form was not accepted by all. Hence just like thousands of commercial products and services, variations have been incorporated in yoga for its wider acceptance. Yoga is now packed in a very flashy bag and sold in different forms like power yoga, rave yoga, paddle-board yoga, naked yoga and so on. More than 150 yoga brands exist all across the world.
In the beginning yoga was practiced at a serene and isolated place for peace which has now been replaced by mirrored room with modernized interior. Popular modern yoga trainers have a long list of celebrities and industrialists. It has become a way to earn money. Slim and beautiful models have replaced yoga gurus and their yoga CDs are sold across the world to boost marketing and business.
Types of yogas
As per the sacred Bhagavad Gita, dating back to 6th-3rd Century BCE, Lord Krishna had talked about four kinds of yogas
- Bbhakti or devotion yoga
- Jnana or knowledge yoga
- Karma or action yoga
- Dhyana or concentration yoga
Dhyana is the most popular form that has numerous variations these days.
Commercialization harming yoga
As per yoga gurus, yoga has lost its original meaning and function. The extensive changes to yoga effected for commercialization matching modern lifestyle is definitely doing harm to the system. Though yoga is not a brand, it has become one with the corrupt practices.
Yoga is a way of righteous living that trains your mind and keeps all senses under control.
These days most of the ‘asanas’ or yoga postures are practiced without the requisite faith and understanding, converting it into just a physical exercise. True yoga needs deep faith and it aims at spiritual attainment.
It is rather unfortunate to see the degeneration of such an ancient spiritual system that was India’s invaluable gift to the world to make life on the earth more meaningful and functional, synchronising the body and the mind.