Thursday, March 08, 2012

Free-Range Yoga *cluck, cluck*

I've kept my mouth shut (fingers still?) on all the latest scandals, slanders, and fuss--partially because I don't have anything new to say and partially because a lot of it seems to be about generating hype.  I don't want to contribute to any more ill-deserved page hits.  

However, with each new revelation, I'm struck by how much Big Yoga is starting to resemble Big Ag.  You would think people so concerned with health and what they do to their bodies would embrace local, sustainable models for their yoga like, I assume, they do with their veggies.

Instead, there seems to be a drive to incorporate, brand, and standardize the practice in order to deliver a sleek, well-muscled, high-fructose Yoga ready for market in nine short weeks.  Fast, cheap, mass-produced spirituality available at your nearest yoga franchise.

Where's the farmers' market version of yoga--lovingly grass-fed, allowed to graze and develop naturally in a small herd, led by an independent farmer?  A bit more expensive, maybe, a bit more variation in quality--but, all in all, healthier, safer, and, as I said before, more sustainable.

The food poisoning outbreaks of the last few years in the yoga world seem closely tied to production practices: powerful executives, unquestioning producers, self-directed quality control, and a fixation on the bottom line.  We should be community-based and student-centered.  We should celebrate our local studios and support individual teachers.  We should encourage a yoga that meets the need of many students, not just the urban and the leisured.  

And while I love the energy of (some of) the internet community, this is ultimately a practice of human interaction and personal contact.  Let's stay in touch with our own neck of the woods, even as we inform our practice with connections around the world.  A teacher needs to know and see her students--no microphone necessary.  A student needs to receive personal attention and have an interactive relationship with her teacher and  class--no numbered mats in a giant conference hall.

If anything is learned from this winter's shenanigans, it is that yoga needs to get small again.  Not to withdraw or detach from the larger community, but to bring the focus back to the personal level.  To cool it with the corporate crap and the fast buck.  Let's stop admiring superficial beauty and return to the essential and internal (sorry, not Olympic event material).

I want my yoga like I want my, but with access to a tidy coop with protection from foxes.  Eggs with big orange yolks. 

(that last bit of that metaphor is open for interpretation--but it's what I like!) 

The girls at Grass is Greener Gardens--making my eggs for this week...