Guilty as charged
Updated: Mar 5
I want to get this situation correct in confessing that I have culturally appropriated yoga into my blog and website. I am guilty as charged in calling myself a yogi when I do not practice the totality of yoga as a lifestyle as well as misusing the term "namaste." As part of my penance, I will not profess to be a yogi and will no longer write or say "yogi" for our Westernized brand of the asana practice. I cannot honestly declare that I have retreated from societal ties or have given away all my possessions. I am very cautious now about speaking the term "namaste" until I know the origins of the word and the best use of this term.
If you are interested in educating yourself about the cultural appropriation of yoga by persons and companies, then you can consult this article in Yoga International. I happened to see this article posted by Megan Donnelly Gray on Facebook Yogafit -- Official Group Page. I am humbled by the austere lifestyle that true yogis live, and I am ashamed that we Westerners do not hire more Indian and South Asian yoga teachers. Now, I strive to fulfill the ways that author Arundhati Baitmangalhar list in her article: being open about my journey as I learn to do better, educating myself about cultural appropriation, and learning what is truly okay and what is not.
So, this post is about my attempt to be humble about my journey and learn to do better in all aspects of yoga. Education and self-reflection are parts of becoming more genuine in our approach to yoga and to life in general. We are all in the process of learning and learning well what is appropriate and what needs to be corrected. I know for one that I have much to learn about yoga, and I will still be learning when I am 80 or 90 and doing what asanas I still can manage. I have acquired a new mindset on yoga that honors the origins of the lifestyle as well as the practice of yoga. I am glad that I opened myself to these corrections as much as I open myself to the physical adjustments of teachers I follow.
Mahatma Gandhi states: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." This statement is so simple but so profound. Not far from my work location is Thomas Jefferson Park. At this park is a Memorial to Mohanmdasa Karamchand Gandhi with a bronze statue of this Indian lawyer, politician, social activist, and writer along with marble tablets containing his quotes. I stand in awe and reverence of the wisdom and humanity of his words.
I am now on a life mission to honor and credit the knowledge of what I learn to the persons and the origins that they came from.
I conclude by saying that I wish you the light that comes from true knowledge at its most genuine source.
Peace and joy to you.