Updated: Jun 23, 2021
I have spent the morning working on research for one of my college courses (and later for my book) on the intersection of yoga, colonialism, and capitalism. In drawing resources, I found a imbalance in writing. Most authors with Indian names clearly spoke about the issue of colonialism in yoga. Most authors with Anglo-Saxon names seemed to find ways to bend this notion.
One that stood out the most was an article written on Beer Yoga. I thought the conclusion of the article would wrap up with his conclusion that the two don't mix. However, Justin Stanley's final quote in his article "Yoga + Beer" was "If yoga teaches us about how the body feels and observes, how we breathe and perceive, of the attachments we feel and need to let go of, perhaps beer yoga illuminates the idea that being in good physical and mental shape doesn't have to mean starving out things that bring us pleasure."
Below is a picture of a simple boat I sat on in 2019, the same year this article was written. That boat was taking Matthew and I from a shore in Prayaj Raj to the confluence of the Yamuna, Ganga, and Saraswati where around 150 million people converged over the course of a month. I think about how I entered the home of yoga, India, and honored their culture as best as I could with how I spoke, dressed, and acted. And when I come home, I do my best to speak about it with reverence. When I attend Kumbh, I am a guest. When I come home and speak of Kumbh, I am speaking as someone who was a guest.
इदं न मम
Idam na mama This is not mine
So, why do we try to own it, manipulate it, and then justify it? Why can we not honor it, love it, and do our best (knowing our ignorance) is shining a light onto what it is?