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Yoga-tta be kidding…

‘Swing Yoga has reached the shores of UAE’ but here’s why some of us are swimming the other way.

July 11, 2012 2:33 by

My most lasting memory of yoga is that of being grumpily dragged to class every morning at 5:45 am and attempting to catch a wink or two while pretending to meditate. As that teenager, ten years ago, I firmly believed yoga was the single most effective form of torture known to mankind and that it could be institutionalized as standard procedure for criminal interrogation.  No amount of ingenious flexibility or the promise of possible nirvana could change my mind. Besides, if anyone in college found out I went to ‘Yoga class’ with my mom, it would be a strong case for social hara kiri of sorts.

A decade later, this yoga class drop-out finds herself gravitating towards the new and improved, exotic appeal of the fantastical power of pop yoga! Pop Yoga, as popularized by Madonna and the like, includes power Yoga, shadow yoga, swing yoga, hot yoga, water yoga and what have you. It also comes with a price range staring from $15 to $100 per class, depending on the social status of your Yoga trainer.

“It’s so expensive, it must be awesome!”  I thought. I guess that’s probably what Tom Cruise must have thought about Scientology at first.

Everything from Scarlett Johansson’s supple figure in ‘He’s not that into you’ to Paris Hilton’s ‘powress’ in the famous video clip is being attributed to the wonders of yoga- err pop yoga, I mean. Socialites and C-listers are quite literally bending over backwards to claim ‘Yoga changed my life’, hoping to appear in the ‘related stories’ segment of A List celeb magazine features.

Ofcourse it’s more than just the soul cleansing, that’s luring practitioners and teachers to big bad business of Yoga. Nobody is denying that Yoga is a healthy way of life but the kind of money churned out by this Yoga industry has attracted a baffling number of posers (pun unintended) and self proclaimed gurus. There’s a new off-shoot of Yoga everyday! Cashing in on the Yin-Yan-Yoga mumbo jumbo has made millionaires out of some, considering Americans alone spent over $5.7 billion a year on yoga classes and products, including equipment, clothing, yoga vacations and media in 2011.

Ofcourse, the rest of the world has been close behind the US- the land of fad diets and wealthy shrinks. “We’ll have what they’re having” is probably what the other half of the planet is saying, which explains the global stampede for yoga mats and Bollywood star DVDs (Wait, does she even practice yoga or was she paid just to look pretty in the Yoga poses?)

As for me, as tempted as I might be, to enroll myself into another exotic, glamorous avatar of Yoga, I’m pretty sure I’ll be pulled up for sleeping in class again. The fruits of inner peace and tranquility are not for me. I’d much rather breathe into a paperbag and binge on cheesy burgers for salvation; and that too, for a fraction of the amount I’d pay for Yoga class. Namaste!

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  1. asim on July 11, 2012 2:48 pm

    very well written, interesting piece. Yoga has been bastardized no doubt about that

  2. siddhu on July 12, 2012 9:47 am

    These things are inevitable, and should be looked at as positive, ‘bastardization’ notwithstanding. The more people get hooked to yoga, the more the industry grows, and maybe Pop yoga is a good thing for people who have NO clue about what the real thing is. Just like the spa industry that has bloomed over the last 2 decades, hospitality industry can have this new avenues to expand and venture into. Good article

  3. mandarin on July 12, 2012 11:09 am

    Agree with the writer, yoga which was an exercise for anyone looking to remain agile and healthy has metamorphsed into a million dollar fitness fad, with every so-called guru adding his or her version of exotica… The true practitioners though rare still practice it with simplicity and great benefits…and though controtions are difficult to master there was nothing like catching a few winks during the savasana or corpse pose


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