Yoga news: TV show to ‘demystify’ practice, folks worry about yogafication of meditation

A trio of stories to start your week in the know.

First up, the Discovery Channel, tied to the International Day of Yoga, is going to air a program that seeks to demystify yoga and its spread across the world. From the Economic Times:

The hour-long-special programme titled ‘The story of Yoga’ aims to celebrate the first International Day of Yoga and takes viewers through a journey to rediscover the age old practice. The show would be telecast in five languages including Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu and Bangla and explores the evolution, mysticism, spiritualism and cultural ethos of yoga.

“‘The Story of Yoga’ is one of the most comprehensive narratives that provide an in-depth view on the evolution of yoga from an ancient practice to a lifestyle choice that’s making tremendous impact on people lives around the world,” says Rahul Johri, EVP and GM – South Asia, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific.

No mention of Ashtanga and Pattabhi Jois, but there is mention of Iyengar and Sivananda. Watch for it.

Secondly, still tied to June 21 (International Yoga Day) is news of how it’ll affect the railroads in India:

Indian Railways has issued orders to its over 13 lakh employees across the country to turn up at office at 9 a.m. on the International Yoga Day on June 21 and perform Yoga as all railway offices will remain open on forenoon on the day despite being a Sunday.

In a letter to all 16 zonal heads, PSUs and others, R R Prasad, executive director (Training & Manpower Planning) Railway Board has said that since it would be the first occasion for the celebration, it has been decided that lndian Railways may celebrate June 21, 2014 as the lnternational Yoga in a big way befitting the occasion and to spread awareness.

To observe the day, the railway has ordered that all offices will open on June 21 in the forenoon and officials may be directed to report at 9 a.m. and even there will be prize distribution to best practitioners of yoga.

And finally, folks are worried that as meditation spreads (in part, I suspect, under the whole mindfulness trend), it will lose its religious roots — like yoga has (according to them, at least). From the Washington Post:

Yet in gyms, businesses and public schools in every direction from the museum — which sits on busy Georgia Avenue — meditation is often presented as something akin to mental weight-lifting: a secular practice that keeps your brain and emotions in shape. Gyms list it alongside Zumba classes, and public schools say it can help students chill out before tests by calming the mind and training it to look upon disruptive thoughts from a non-judgmental distance.

This rough juxtaposition between the religious and secular versions of meditation epitomizes a key debate about the ancient practice as it explodes in the United States: What is the purpose of meditation? And who decides?

To Mahraj and her community, called the Brahma Kumaris, promoting the religious component is part of the purpose of the Silver Spring center, which is more about spiritual advocacy than a museum in the classic sense.

It does sound familiar.

Posted by Steve

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theconfluencecountdown

Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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