A couple of weeks ago, I got an interesting email in my inbox: “to be part of a new yoga movement and community”; the offer was to try their product, a new yoga wear.
As any fellow blogger will relate, we do get emails for promotions. While some bloggers do it for spreading information, and building a network, a lot of bloggers have made this into a successful business venture. I haven’t really ventured into this avenue, but I do think it is a great business model for both bloggers and the companies trying to launch new products or grow their consumer base.
For me this model doesn’t work, so I usually decline it politely. The company’s PR person was courteous and offered me a sample without any obligation, but I still declined. Well, when you are trying to purge your accumulated karma, you really don’t want to pile on more 🙂
But the offer to be a part of a new yoga movement made me think: from fancy studios, to yoga parties to a whole new nomenclature around yoga, to expensive specialized yoga wear, how far are we going to push this practice away from its natural essence? As I already argued in one of my earlier posts on cultural appropriation of yoga, the West has unashamedly transformed Yoga into an exercise routine, which has its own inherent dangers.
One, it is ethically incorrect and two, if you don’t know what you are doing, yoga asanas (postures) can actually mess up your system – inside-out. For the asanas are not your usual exercise postures. They are supposed to work with your energy centres and if done incorrectly and without the holistic yoga approach, they can mess up with your energy, rightfully making many to examine How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body.
Technically speaking, the postures need to be practiced in an un-stitched garment like a dhoti or a saree, made of natural fabric, tied a certain way, as it corresponds to the flow of energy in the body. The hardcore Indian yogi would stick to a kaupinam or a langot, a form of an undergarment, which is a strip of un-stitched cloth.
Traditionally, in India, all fabrics were natural and people wore dhoti and saree as an everyday garment. But daily attire preferences have changed in India, and in the West, dhoti and saree are exotic garments. Traditionally people have done yoga in athletic wear, but over the last few years, companies have marketed specialized yoga wear in such a convincing manner that it has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry.
So where does that leave you? Do you buy a dhoti and learn how to tie it? I would say if you understand how your energy flows with the postures, go for it. For the rest, anything made of natural fabric, loose fitting and something you feel comfortable in should work. Also, it doesn’t need to cost a fortune which can dislocate the mind-body sync.
Have a safe practice!