when i first read this article, slate's "the hostile new age takeover of yoga," i was nodding my head in agreement. yes, yoga has been commercialized, dumbed down and misinterpreted via its entrance into american gym culture. yes, yoga's eastern principles of meditation and breathing have been diluted, with the help of magazines, to include the very western concepts of power and immediacy.
yes, many yoga-addicted americans are more interested in the workout aspects of their practice than the breathing and focus that our yoga teachers are constantly telling us are of primary importance.
yes, yes, yes. ok. we're so american. this is not news, and certainly not the first article of its kind.
but the more i thought about the article, especially on the walk back from my yoga class yesterday, the more i have come to think: so what? so american culture tends to commodify eastern philosophy. so american women admit to appreciating yoga's physical benefits. so there are stupid magazines at supermarket checkout lines that speak to the lowest common denominator.
but does this really consist of a hostile takeover? i mean, i practice ashtanga yoga twice a week, and while i work very hard on the mental aspects of it, the truth is that i'm there for the exercise. should i feel bad about this? isn't it better that i drag my american ass to the class at all? am i somehow involved in a coup?
and what is more trite actually, the way yoga has been appropriated by american culture or the complaining about said appropriation? i find it hard to believe that there isn't a thoughtful yoga magazine out there, or a yoga studio that doesn't include a power yoga class. if the author is really so offended by his yoga options, perhaps he should move to india.