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Blog item: Yoga Protests: Mind, Body And Political Dissidence!

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12 comments, last: Jul-6-2011   Add a comment   Author:  GreenCupboards (Jun-23-2011)
Categories: Philosophical & Quality of Life, Sustainable Living

By James

Yogic Meditation

For the ascetic in each of us, you might consider yoga to be one of the many viable outlets through which wholeness and contemplative unity with the self and universe are brought into peaceful union. After all, isn't tranquility the general aim for such transcendent practices? While inner balance may be one of the focuses yoga promotes, yogis around the world are causing public stir and occasional uproar with this ancient meditative practice. Yoga and civil disobedience would appear to polar opposites since they seem to maintain vastly different forms of expression. On one hand, you have angry police ridden sit-ins, oppositely matched with Frog or Pigeon pose, making for a distanced couple in my mind. However, students atCambridge, educators in Wisconsin and politically savvy yogis in India have struck a synergy between both forms of expression, resulting in a global trend of passive, yet flexible resistance.

Let's begin with the basics. Just what is yoga, and why do so many people seem to go ga-ga over stretches, bends, binds and mats ? According to the American Yoga Association (AYA), the practice of yoga encompasses physical exercise which incorporates elements of deep meditation and focus on the breath. This mind-body-spirit triple threat (in a non-violent yogi sort of way) has been attributed to relaxation, physiological improvement and enlightenment for approximately 5,000 years, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).  Yoga is linked to honing the conscious mind through often rigorous physical exercise in the form of different yogic poses like Up Dog, the Yogi Squat or Crescent pose. So, if yoga's about relaxation and opening the mind, then what's the deal with yoga and socially deviant protests?

As an effective means of creating unity (the word "yoga" derives from Sanskrti yuj, meaning "yoke or union") between the mind, body and surrounding, yoga's repercussions in the public circles have become evident, following a recent wave in anti-war and anti-corruption protests. As a form of active yet peaceful protestation, yoga practiced in large gatherings, such as the mass yogic gathering and hunger strike led by India's Swami Ramdev, seem to act as an outlet for emphasizing the role of peaceful unity and cooperation on a national and global scale. That being said, this holistic mindset espoused by, or at least supported through, the practice of yoga in the public/ political sphere is apropos. As protest yoga occurs in whatever public or political venue, participants make an active (whether intended or not) call to strike a compromise between the serenity yoga brings and the imbalance or corruption that melds itself to political bodies.

Whether or not the implication of these yoga protests result in civil unrest, as we have seen with London's nudist yogi, the intention of the protest acts as a conscious call to political unity, furthering yoga as mind-body-spirit AND political practice. By shedding light on public disapproval of policy, this form of complaint might strike the general public as uncannily bold, but does well to bring attention to issues of contention. Hopefully, the peace-love-dope stereotypes that often accompany yoga are being altered to reveal a more inclusive, even politically vocal, view of this ancient mental-spiritual-physical practice. If you yourself should feel the need to be flexibly inconvenient for the sake of saving whales or stopping war, then by all means, hop on a mat to discover the elastic activist within!

Sources: 

http://www.americanyogaassociation.org/general.html

http://nccam.nih.gov/health/yoga/introduction.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/05/13/health/20080513_WELLGUIDE.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/05/world/asia/05yoga.html

http://www.yogadork.com/news/naked-yoga-anti-war-protest-probably-nsfw/

http://observers.france24.com/content/20101201-student-protest-cambridge-tea-yoga-knitting-tuition-fees-uk-conservatives-libdems

http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/preamble.shtml

Images:

http://www.aisquared.com/blog/2010/11/blind-yoga/

http://desapriyan.blogspot.com/2011/04/yoga.html

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/worldbiz/archives/2003/03/28/199795

Source: http://community.greencupboards.com/2011/06/08/yoga-protests-mind-body-and-political-dissidence/  
 *** No related readings were found for tag "yoga" *** 
  
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Comment by: Connor Simpson (Jul-6-2011)   Web site
Awesome.

Namaste'
  
Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Jul-6-2011)   Web site

In case the earlier comment was not clear enough, I was pointing out that an appearance of outward peacefulness, such as engaging in yoga practice, does not mean that all of life needs to be calm, quiet, and serene in appearance. Thus, FDR, being outspoken but not hot-tempered, was effective in making this country a better place for millions of Americans. The expression of energy and determination as being in harmony with peacefulness, is the same understanding as the article promotes.
  
Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Jul-6-2011)   Web site

OK, I am glad we are on the same page. I have a little difficulty understanding some of the phrases you used, such as having "Barack to just lead his yogi's in poses of enlightenment". But I gather you do support more enlightenment in leadership, so yes, we are on the same page!
  
Comment by: Connor Simpson (Jul-6-2011)   Web site

I am completely on the same page, even when I am not in the studio I am always meditating in my mind to carry the ch'i. I am not sure which part of my comment was "humorous" I was inquiring about the connection between Obama, FDR, and yoga... I had never heard of either of them practicing yoga or even meditating (which is a shame). I am quiet serious in supporting Obama's "yogi campaign" if it came to it... Which would not be Barrack simply leading in yoga poses but just to have him get out of his suit and become one with the people he is leading. I also think that FDR was an effective leader, and that Lucy had an influential "divine" role in his presidency. I will continue to create my own positive energy using my body as a warehouse.
  
Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Jul-6-2011)   Web site

Hello, Connor. I am not sure which part of your comments are meant seriously, and which are a form of humor... In all seriousness, there is no division between yoga, meditation, and everyday life. Every action expresses who we are. I felt that FDR was an effective leader, after reviewing some of the videos that are available and knowing some of the history of his time in office. I feel that Obama compromises too much, though I find him to be better than his predecessor (George Bush, not FDR) in overall policies. The failure to implement a massive program for renewable energy production which would also provide hundreds of thousands of jobs, is a major missed opportunity. FDR would not have missed that moment of economic need and long-term investment in the country.

So, wisdom takes the form of the vessel it is in... when governing, govern well. When doing yoga, do yoga well. It is rather simple to understand.

  
Comment by: Connor Simpson (Jul-6-2011)   Web site

*How do you think that Yoga techniques effect presidents government policies?
  
Comment by: Connor Simpson (Jul-6-2011)   Web site

So do Barack Obama and Franklin Roosevelt do Yoga? How do you think that that Yoga techniques are effect their government policy? Perhaps it would be more beneficial for Barack to just lead his yogi's in poses of enlightenment instead of giving speeches (we all know the poor lil fella has trouble with the teleprompter) for the upcoming election. Guru Barack could lead this county through both physical and spiritual dimensions alike! I also herd a rumor that Lucy Mercer was really FDR's spiritual Buddha guide through the cosmos! C'mon guys lets twist ourselves into positive energy for eternity and melt the worlds problems away!
  
Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Jul-6-2011)   Web site

Thank you for the thoughts. Now, to stir things up a little... check my fairly recent short article on PlanetThoughts.org comparing Barack Obama with Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The latter was far more confrontational and direct... and yet I believe FDR's approach was far more effective in developing a peaceful and caring society. Check the video of the FDR speech... what a good speaker! Here is the link: http://www.planetthoughts.org?pg=pt/Whole&qid=3271
  
Comment by: davidg (David Greene) (Jul-6-2011)   

As the warmth of the oneness heart of compassion becomes more and more infused in the process of government ...

the problems plaguing our sacred home, the Earth, will definitely, little by little, melt away.

Namaste' ... David
  
Comment by: davidg (David Greene) (Jul-4-2011)   

I agree, David. Yoga, meditation and spiritual life in general are definitely fully interwoven with the politics of governing our planet.

As the warmth of the oneness heart of compassion becomes more and more infused in the process of government, the problems plaguing our sacred home, the Earth, will definitely, little by little, melt away.

Wonderful site. Your understanding of how to utilize computer skills for the development of this highly advanced blog is really quite fascinating.

Perhaps some time I will contact you to employ your skills to assist me with creating together some programs. In the future I am interested in developing communication tools to aid me in further sharing helpful, positive ideas about the pursuit of peace of mind with those who may be interested to hear.

Namaste' ... David Greene

Facebook web page- Walking in Spirit

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Walking-in-Spirit/170373573005839
  
Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Jun-24-2011)   Web site

This is a good article that discusses the dynamic balance that always exists between internal development and external expression. One without the other is ineffective.
  
Comment by: Brian Fenske (Brian Fenske) (Jun-24-2011)   

Thanks for the enlightenment. I was harboring a few of the stereotypes mentioned in the piece.

Cheers.

  
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